Blindspot Gallery is pleased to present Lam Tung Pang’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, “Saan Dung Gei”, curated by Abby Chen, from 26 March to 11 May 2019. Conceived as a visual reader and a long-form novel, the exhibition consists of non-linear chapters that describe the allegorical journey of an itinerant traveler, “Eye”, who searched for, discovered and lost an anonymous novel’s manuscript. The exhibition features Lam’s latest works made in 2018-2019, with which the artist challenges his own medium and creates a three-dimensional medley of paintings, installations, video sculptures, kinetic projection, and found objects. The exhibition’s opening reception will take place on 23 March, and the artist will have a public conversation with curator Abby Chen and art historian Dr. Alpesh Kantilal Patel.
On November 2, 2018, Lam took the recently inaugurated high-speed railway from Hong Kong to Beijing. During the eight-hour journey, there was a 20-minute ride through a dark tunnel in Hong Kong’s territory. On this brief ride through the black hollow, Lam’s usual optimism yielded to a magical realist vision of anxiety and social unrest that gave birth to the title of this work, which literally translates to “the mountain hole notes.”
In declaring his works “the first novel on how Eye lost and found the manuscript,” Lam accentuates the volume of time that manifests in searching and forgetting. Known for his colourful and playful assemblage of images and objects, his newest work embodies a bleak, brutal blast at the present moment that marks a departure into a personal, dusky confrontation with a haunted land.
The audience encounters familiar iconographies in an unsettling otherness. Landscape in operation (2018) shows doctors in scrubs performing an open-chest surgery on a rocky landscape. In the video Hope (2006-2019), the flame of a struck match gives out feeble illumination, only to burn out and fizzle away as the bleached fireworks of Shining Stars in Cave (2018). Lam sees his city as suffering a monumental trauma. His yearning and desire to heal comes from a hope that is steeped in a sense of otherness—he foresees, or even wishes for an overwhelming force to intrude upon this place-to-be.
The desire to return is a chronic condition abundantly symptomized in Lam’s site-specific video installations. In A day of two Suns (2019), four projectors each superimpose a looping video on a diaphanous paper screen diptych, two en verso and two en recto. The same footages were set off against each other randomly, producing an infinite permutation of a similar fate. The uncesasing recurrence recalls the OTALEO Clock (2019) whose hands always return to the same spot at the same minute, as well as the model toy trains in Saan Dung Gei Turns (2019) that runs in futile circles around a hollow wall, always going but never close to reaching.
The artist will be present at the opening reception. Interviews are welcome and can be arranged.
About Lam Tung Pang (b. 1978, Hong Kong)
Lam Tung-pang is one of the most prominent artists of his generation whose coming-of-age coincides with drastic social changes, a result of his homeland’s decolonisation from constitutional monarchy and new allegiance to China in a short span of time. Traversing between the media of painting, site-specific installation, sound and video, Lam’s playful practice arises from a curious imagination that recombines traditional iconography and vernacular materials, innovating with a myriad of found objects and images to form new practices that are often experimental in nature. Lam’s works engage the themes of collective memories and fleeting nostalgia, which articulate an ongoing negotiation of the overlapping city-state’s reality. In his allegorical landscapes, journeys and sceneries become essential passages connecting time and distance, longing and loss.
Solo exhibitions of Lam’s include “Hi! House – Lam Tung-pang x Old House at Wong Uk Village” (Wong Uk Village, Hong Kong, 2017); “The Curiosity Box” (Chinese Culture Center, San Francisco, USA, 2013). Group exhibitions in which Lam has participated include “Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture” (Shenzhen, China, 2017); “CHINA 8” (NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany, 2015); “No soul for Sale – A Festival of Independents” (Tate Modern, London, UK, 2010). Lam is the recipient of the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship (2012). Lam’s work is collected by the Burger Collection, the Deutsche Bank Collection, Hong Kong Museum of Art (Hong Kong), Kadist Art Foundation (France and USA) and M+ (Hong Kong), among others. Lam currently lives and works in Hong Kong.
About Abby Chen
Abby Chen is a culture worker based in US. Formerly the Artistic Director and Curator of Chinese Culture Center and Foundation of San Francisco. Known for her work on supporting artists’ experimental practices on diaspora, gender, and urbanism, she and her team have received numerous grants and honors, including those from National Endowment for the Arts, Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, and more. “Saan Dung Gei” is Chen’s independent curatorial project with artist Lam Tung-pang. The two have worked collaboratively on the city hacking project “Curiosity Box” since 2013.
About Dr. Alpesh Kantilal Patel
Dr. Alpesh Kantilal Patel is a visiting scholar at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University and Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami. The author of Productive failure: writing queer transnational South Asian art histories (Manchester University Press, 2017), he is a frequent contributor of exhibition reviews to artforum.com, Artforum, Art in America, frieze, and hyperallergic.com. He is currently working on the monograph “Transregional Entanglements: Sexual Artistic Geographies.”