A subtle tone pervades the space. The essence of a past temporality, a flut- ter of the senses, a trigger of distant memory. Dulcet yet melancholic, ‘Ele- gy’, Su-Mei Tse’s first solo show in Hong Kong, sets a pensive pace, a rhythm that invites self-reflection as well as a heightened awareness of one’s surroundings. Acting as punctuations throughout the gallery, the works behold an impact that extends beyond their visual properties; it is about their lasting impression, the reflection they heighten when seen, the experience sensed. ‘Elegy’ as an exhibition is an open score, presenting a set of triggers whilst inviting each viewer’s personal interpretation and im- pression.
A trained classical cellist of Chinese and British descent, Su-Mei Tse (b. 1973, Luxembourg) weaves a practice that spans video, installation, pho- tography and sculpture to mount a meditative, visaural tale empowering the language of music as a primary voice. Investigating associations between places, geographies, cultures, traditions, Tse’s work elicits a cross-stimula- tion of the senses, where time and its flow are suspended in a gentle state of contemplation. As the exhibition title ‘Elegy’ suggests, Tse’s practice is underpinned by a strong sense of lyricism and musicality. Brought up by a violinist father and pianist mother, Tse equally grew up with music at the Luxembourg Conservatory. She maintained this duality when studying vis- ual arts at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris by accompanying her practice with musical studies.
As such, a bilingual versatility pervades Tse’s practice. ‘Elegy’ is at once a mysterious visual ballad and a delicate aesthetic encounter that one unrav- els, one step at a time. Inspired by, and developed during Tse’s recent resi- dency at the Villa Medici, the viewer encounters photographs, moving im- ages (video), objects, mirrors, references of collected memories that hark back but are not limited to her time in Rome. Each image reflects an emo- tion: the bust of Adriana - a hymn to past history, traced by the degradation of time whilst bearing delicacy of expression and detail; Gaelle – a friend and writer, a hint of her arm, remembrance of her graceful person, a refer- ence to her feminine sensitivity, a particular moment at a farewell party. Creating links between each visuals are mirrors, aligning multiple captures along a singular sequence, one which changes dependent on the viewer’s position and perception.