REVIEW: Tseng Kwong Chi @ Ben Brown Fine Arts, Hong Kong

Dec 31, 2014 4:03AM

The legacy of Hong Kong-born photographer Tseng Kwong Chi (1950–90) is currently being presented in a comprehensive exhibition titled “Citizen of the World” at Ben Brown Fine Arts, Hong Kong. In collaboration with the artist’s estate, managed by his sister Muna Tseng, the exhibition offers an exemplary selection of his iconic black-and-white self-portraits from the “Expeditionary Self-Portraits Series” (also known as “East Meets West,” 1979–89), in which he is posed in front of various tourist sites dressed in a Mao suit. Tseng’s works have been exhibited worldwide, including at the 1985 Whitney Biennial and posthumously at the 2004 Shanghai Biennale.

There are several reasons this exhibition is worth the visit. For the first time in the artist’s exhibition history, several of his self-portraits are being shown in a remarkably large-scale format, finally fulfilling the wish of the late artist. During his lifetime, Tseng had desired for his self-portraits to be displayed on a monumental scale; however, technological limitations and his premature death prevented his dream from coming true.