WMA Exhibition: ‘Can’t Touch This!’
Mar 9 – Apr 25, 2021
12:00 – 19:00 (Closed on Monday)
WMA Space (8/F, Chun Wo Commercial Centre, 23-29 Wing Wo Street, Central, Hong Kong)
Since 2020, we have learnt to be mindful of the things we touch throughout the day… currency notes, our phones, elevator buttons. In July of the same year, Dr. Quentin J. Lee, an Alabama principal, sang a rap song about Covid to MC Hammer’s classic hit of U Can’t Touch This. The parody went viral overnight. The upcoming exhibition at WMA, ‘Can’t touch this!’ is facilitated by visual artist Angela Su. It was conceived as an extension to ‘Faces under Masks’, a book project initiated by journalist-turned urbanist Chloe Lai. The project consists of interviews with 10 Hongkongers that document divergent experiences of the pandemic, with photo documentations by field research photographer Tse Pak Chai. Three visual artists, Siu Wai Hang, Yim Sui Fong and Kenji Wong Wai Kin were invited to create visual responses to the project. During the pandemic, the request of having one’s body temperature taken before entering a restaurant, a shopping mall, or any indoor facility has become a compulsory routine in public places. Siu Wai Hang’s work Hot Shots highlights the reality of constant monitoring, as a reminder of how easy our biometric and personal data can be made available to others. In a series of portraits produced with a thermal camera, the headshots in striking shades of red, blue, yellow and green seem to be cautioning the audience against accepting the absurd ‘new normal’. With Covid restrictions, collective actions are replaced by social isolation; our past and present selves are being torn apart. Yim Sui Fong’s Avatar, is a three-channel video installation that leads the viewer into a voyage of recollection, guiding them to retrieve lost memories in a schizophrenic world, to reconnect with not only themselves, but with one another in a quest for companionship.Kenji Wong Wai Kin’s When I look at you now… also seeks to create links across time. The work is an installation designed to reference the artist’s own home, with a video projection that features letters written by young parents to their future children. As part of this participatory work, the viewer is invited to write their own letters (to their future children? lost friends? their lost selves?), and in doing so creating a space of intimate emotions. We cannot know the future, but we have the ability and determination to regenerate after destruction. This is hinted by Ash, a work of Siu Wai Hang from his 2020 photo series of scorched earth. ‘Can’t touch this!’ will be held on the occasion of the release of Chloe Lai’s book.
About the artists
Siu Wai Hang graduated from the School of Creative Media of City University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Creative Media in 2010. He obtained his Master of Fine Art from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2013. Siu was awarded the WMA Masters Award in 2014 and 2016, and Hong Kong Human Rights Art Prize of 2018. Siu participated in Jimei X Arles International Photo Festival and Pingyao International Photography Festival in 2017. His work is collected by the Legislative Council of Hong Kong and is exhibited in China, Taiwan and the USA. Siu currently lives and works in Hong Kong.
Yim Sui Fong graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA). She is the co-founder of the artist-run organisation Rooftop Institute and member of Hong Kong artist collective, L sub. Yim was awarded the WMA Masters Award in 2018. Recent exhibition and projects includes: ‘Landskrona Foto Festival’ (2020, Sweden) , Solo show ‘A Room of Resistance’ (2019, JCCAC, Hong Kong), ‘Artists’ Film International’（2018, Whitechapel Gallery, UK and Bonniers Konsthall, Sweden), ‘The man who attends to the times’, project commissioned by Oi!, Hong Kong (2018). Yim currently lives and works in Hong Kong.
Kenji Wong Wai Kin graduated with a Master’s of Cultural Studies from Lingnan University and a Bachelor of Arts from the School of Creative Media of the City University of Hong Kong. Wong has worked for the Hong Kong online media platform Stand News. He was named finalists for the WMA Open Photo Contest in 2019 and the Human Rights Art Prize 2020. His works have been exhibited in New York, Taipei and Hong Kong. Wong currently lives and works in Hong Kong.
WMA is a non-profit platform set up with the aim to foster discussion through images about topics important to Hong Kong. Each year, a theme is chosen for its programmes which includes WMA Masters, an annual photography competition; WMA Commission, an annual commission grant; WMA Student, an annual essay writing contest inspired by visual images; WMA Open, an online image archive and WMA Film.