Contemporary Chinese Artists Highlight the Complexities of Simple Life
Pak Sheung Chuen’s work Adult Library Series: LXB is a continuation of the Adult Library series executed during Pak’s ACC residency in New York in 2008. The artist sees the listing of the year of birth and year of death of an author in the library system as a metaphorical memorial to an author. Pak’s work thus acts as a commemorative gesture to the recently deceased Chinese social activist/poet, Liu Xiaobo, while reflecting on the definition of “banned books”, as well as the porous and indefinable border between Hong Kong and China.
Pak creates these images with the surrealist technique of automatic drawings, through which he subconsciously reacts to the general atmosphere and current events in Hong Kong. Flowing through this stream of consciousness are imageries of Christian iconography, humanoids, animals and nature, and together they convey a cryptic sense of horror, sacrifice and angst.
Performance artist Pak Sheung Chuen (白双全) alters and destabilizes everyday life in an effort to reveal the structures that gird our personal lives. Pak’s work questions the possibility of individual identity within Asian megacities and contemporary globalized society. He is particularly influenced by the United Kingdom’s transfer of Hong Kong sovereignty to China in 1997. His 2009 work Breathing into a House involved the artist collecting his breath in plastic bags while living in a small apartment. After 10 days, the air-filled bags filled the space, rendering it uninhabitable. Pak later said he felt as if the apartment had absorbed his life, as though he had become his own exhalations. Many of his works, including Breathing into a House, can be considered self-experiments, as they rarely involve an audience.
Chinese, b. 1977, Fujian, China, based in Hong Kong, China