Affinity for ART Gallery is pleased to present Rhetorical Landscape, a dual exhibition by Vietnamese artist Ha Manh Thang and Taiwanese artist Shiu Sheng Hung, whose works adopt the language of abstraction to suggest the experience of landscape under the context of modernization, seasonal change, temporality and memory in the context of their respective countries.
Both Ha and Shiu reference directly the past and the present through the employment of traditional media, subject matter and by deploying unconventional artistic approaches. The outcome is elegant, subtle yet quietly impactful work that metamorphoses continuously as viewers move around them.
The exhibition explores the concept of landscapes being a rhetorical representation embodying not only the physicality but the transient spirituality of a place and as once remarked by Henri-Frédéric Amiel ‘Any landscape is a condition of the spirit…’
Ha Manh Thang is known for his bold style and social-political commentary works.
In his latest series The Lake, Ha explores the relationship of “shui” or water as part of the philosophy of Feng-Shui in relation with traditional architectural buildings and the evolving society.
On top of richly textured canvases and semi-dry paint, Ha etches the lines of traditional buildings that have particular cultural significance such as temples, pagodas or communal houses. Perceived initially as a flat painting, the viewer experiences how the fine silhouette of the building seems to appear and becomes aware of its three-dimensional impact only by walking closer to the canvas. The delicate and transient nature of the etched drawings of the building, symbolical of culture and tradition, points to their fragility and disappearance in a context of a rapidly changing society.
Ha Manh Thang’s works are collected privately and publicly in institutions such as the Singapore Art Museum (2008).
Shiu Sheng Hung explores ideas of temporality and memory through the reconstruction of photographic images onto canvases. In his Landscape series (2015), Shiu focuses on the obscurity of the boundaries between memory and time by using painting as the medium. Repeatedly turning to the landscapes in his native Taiwan, his work is the result of an intense process of rediscovery and transformation of physical places into voids of imagination, interpretation and revelation. By selectively overlaying pearlescent paint that changes in visual appearance depending on the angle, position and lighting of viewing, the artist introduces a notion of evanescence to the nature of memory, the recalling of specific events and impression of places.
Shiu Sheng Hung’s works are collected by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (2009, 2014).