Hong Kong—Pearl Lam Galleries is delighted to present Structures of Recollection, a group show curated by Paul Moorhouse that features works by six leading contemporary artists: Chun Kwang Young, Leonardo Drew, Dale Frank, Hew Locke, Qiu Deshu, and Yinka Shonibare MBE. The title and theme of the exhibition refers to Marcel Proust’s monumental novel In Search of Lost Time, published between 1913 and 1927, and will take place at the Galleries’ Pedder Building space from 22 March to 28 April, 2016.
Paul Moorhouse, 20th Century Curator at the National Portrait Gallery London, takes from In Search of Lost Time the Proustian theme that the physical world, its inhabitants, and all experience are fugitive: everything that exists comes into being, endures, and then disappears from the flux of reality. Structures of Recollection focuses on the notion that the material fabric of the world and the objects within it act as triggers for memory, a concern that is shared by each of the six leading contemporary artists who feature in this exhibition.
Each artist engages with the associative and expressive qualities of their chosen media. Both Dale Frank and Qiu Deshu use paint and pigment respectively. While the employment of these traditional media connects both artists directly with the past, each artist’s practice is unconventional. Part painter and part alchemist, Frank’s paintings see paint dripped onto surfaces made from a variety of different materials. That action proceeds in unpredictable ways, embracing the full physical transformative process of his chosen medium. Steeped in the tradition of Chinese painting, Qiu uses Xuan paper in his collage-based work. Employing torn and rearranged paper, he creates fissures—compelling gaps or apertures in the work’s structure—through which glimpses of colour emerge. This invests his art with spatial complexity and ambiguous significance.
Both Leonardo Drew and Chun Kwang Young assert the physical characteristics of their materials, emphasising their texture, colour, and shape, thereby creating something that is insistently sculptural. Drew’s use of manipulated and found objects taps into the history associated with a specific fabric or artefact, while Chun’s assemblages incorporate mulberry paper, a traditional Korean medium that invokes the artist’s childhood memories of seeing medicine packages wrapped in that material.
The work of Yinka Shonibare MBE and Hew Locke demonstrate a shared sensitivity to the evocative power of manufactured materials and objects. By incorporating into his works batik fabric—a material that originated in Southeast Asia before being sold by the Dutch to their African colonies—Shonibare uses these historical associations to explore the way identity and nationality are constructed from personal memory and collective experience of the past. Collage and assemblage are also characteristic of Locke’s wide-ranging practice. He incorporates found objects, such as toys and cheap jewellery, and combines them with certificates and photographs in order to examine issues of power and identity, as well as the way that memory is connected with these constructed concepts.