The current exhibition at WMA ‘Can’t touch this!’
The current exhibition at WMA, ‘Can’t touch this!’ facilitated by visual artist Angela Su. The exhibition features new works created by three WMA alumni, Siu Wai Hang, Kenji Wong Wai Kin and Yim Sui Fong in response to the pandemic-driven world.
Is there anything to learn from all that had happened in the year of the pandemic? For a brief moment, we had the illusion that the world was going to change as the system was cracking apart. We learned to cope with daily uncertainties and catastrophic news; we managed to manoeuvre our way around the minefield of disinformation.
We’ve adapted to a new normal while realising that the system is still untouchable.
The exhibition ‘Can’t touch this!’ is an extension of this interview project. Three visual artists, Siu Wai Hang, Yim Sui Fong and Kenji Wong Wai Kin were invited to create visual responses to the book project ‘Faces under Masks’ initiated by Chloe Lai, a journalist-turned-urbanist.
Our body temperature is monitored systematically at the entrance of all shops and restaurants. Here, we surrender our biometric data and are constantly being reminded that our existence and well-being are monitored by others. With this in mind, Siu Wai Hang’s Hot Shots experiments on the use of thermal temperature gun to produce a series of head shots ‒ an uncanny reminder of Alphonse Bertillon’s infamous photos of anarchists from which modern mugshots of criminals were developed.
To be tracked down and contained, an infected person is the personification of the disease itself. Anyone who rejects the system also faces the same consequence. How do we cope in a schizophrenic time when mass action turned abruptly into social isolation; when our past and present selves are torn further and further apart? Perhaps hope and despair are flip sides of the same coin. Yim Sui Fong’s Avatar is a pseudo- psychotherapy to retrieve lost memories, a beacon of lost ‘avatars’.
And what will the world look like in 10 years? When I look at you right now… by Kenji Wong invites young parents to write a letter that speculates on a post-traumatic Hong Kong to their future teenage child. The letters are recited by the parents, and presented as audio recordings accompanied by the parents’ own carefree childhood photos. Wong’s work generate temporal associations that conflates past, present and future, as a way to gain perspective on an infinite scale.
We cannot know the future, but we have the ability and determination to regenerate after destruction. This is hinted by another work of Siu Wai Hang which comprises a series photos of scorched earth.
‘Can’t touch this!’ is held on the occasion of the release of Chloe Lai’s book.
Extracted from ‘Can’t touch this!’ curatorial statement by Angela Su
As part of the public health safety measures, please reserve your spot before visiting the exhibition: https://bit.ly/2ZVaPbS
About the artists