J: On your pursuit of art…
C: Although my goal during secondary school was to become an outstanding designer, I applied to the Fine Arts programme at CUHK by chance. At first, my main creative medium was Western painting. But gradually, I discovered a profound interest in sculpture, attempting to create works with wood, metal and plaster.
J: How do you view sculpture and painting, and how do you integrate these two mediums?
C: When I paint, I like to construct images by adding various materials to augment the texture and depth; whereas when creating sculpture, I tend to first visualise my ideas and concepts on paper, then create based on the sketches. Therefore, sculpture and painting, as parts of the creative process, are essentially inseparable for me. When the two are displayed side by side, the paintings often play an auxiliary role and serve to illustrate the sculptures. Take Run faster, Life is short as an example, the sculpture may look abstract if shown on its own; but when showcased alongside the drawing, audience would understand that the sculpture is inspired by the motion of a running horse.
J: Who influences you the most in your artistic journey?
C: Professor Chan Yuk-keung, Kurt and Professor Ho Siu-kee from the Department of Fine Arts at CUHK, and renowned sculptor Lee Chin-fai, Danny had profound influences on me. The former duo inspired me to pick up mixed media, and to understand the world through arts and self-experiences. The latter encouraged me to explore the meaning of life and diversified themes in my works.
Paper and pins (2020)
J: What led you to explore topics such as “object and space”, “comes and goes”, and “social changes”?
C: Initially, my creations featured more figurative subjects (such as animals) – in Hong Kong Specimen (II): Mini Sub-divided Rooms, for example, I created this rabbit with “sub-divided” organs and heart, as a reflection of the living environment in Hong Kong. This series also probes into the relationship between “object and space”. Thereafter, I tried to tackle topics that are more abstract, and transform these abstract notions into physical sculptures.
The highs and lows in life have taught me to be distrustful towards the idea of “eternity”. To me, everything has an expiry date, including my works, and I have come to embrace the notion of “comes and goes” in life. Consequently, my works include themes on life and death, social changes and memories.
One of the most important things in my life is family. Gaps between Hands captures the negative space (gap) between my parents’ clasped hands, I wanted to grasp the invisible form of love and affection between them.
J: Could you tell us more about “Hollowing Out”, your upcoming exhibition at PMQ? What is your take on the relationship between appearance and inner self?
C: “Hollowing Out” is a continuation of the Hong Kong Specimen series. The exhibition reflects on hypocrisy and reality. The audience may be attracted by the appealing façade of the works, but I hope they will contemplate on the meaning behind them.
The outlook of a “rabbit” maybe cute, but underneath the adorable surface it could be torn inside. Appearance does not always reflect inner nature. Simply put, never judge a book by its cover.
In addition to the rabbit, the exhibition also features a “tiger skin”. In the name of love, hunters kill tigers and preserve their skin – how ridiculous is that! Without hearts, beings are merely sacks of flesh. No matter how long the carcass can be preserved, it would always be hollow, denying it of its true existence.
Paper and pins (2010)
Paper and pins (2010)
J: Why use cardboard for your creations? Paper sculpture is appealing because…
C: I choose to use cardboards for a number of reasons: they are environmentally friendly (upcycling), light-weight, easy to handle and flexible. Works created with cardboards also signify the state of being temporary and easily-disposable. As sculptures tend to cast off the impression of firm and durable, while papers rot and break with wear and tear, and are fragile like relationships, it makes a perfect contrast that questions “eternity” – what seems long-lasting, may be anything but.
On top of that, paper sculpture is appealing in its plasticity and possibilities. You can weave it, make papier mâché or even collage with it.
Paper and iron wire (2016)
J: Which piece or series of work(s) is the most meaningful to you?
C: My graduation work at CUHK can be regarded as one of my milestones. I built a “landscape” with wood and ready-made objects. In the process, I realise my affection and sense towards sculpture, thus, affirming sculpture as my medium of creation.
Besides, I conducted a social research during my Master’s programme, in which I discovered the Shek Pik New Village (Shek Pik Resettlement) in my neighbourhood in Tsuen Wan. The village was originally located in Shek Pik, Lantau Island. Due to the construction of Shek Pik Reservoir, the entire village had to be relocated to six tenement buildings in Tsuen Wan. Interestingly, the Hung Hau Ancient Temple (combining Hung Shing Temple and Hau Wong Temple) from the village moved with clan, and situated at a unit on the top floor of the building. This rare “rooftop temple” has become my inspiration for Gather and Scatter. Not only is it memorable and meaningful, it has also driven me to pay close attention to the community, and keep records of our society through my works.
J: Any plans for the future?
C: Looking ahead, I will continue to challenge myself with small-scale works and motion sculptures. With technological advancements, hand-drawn animations and sculptures can be replaced by motion capture and 3D printing. However, the fun in creating things with your own hands is irreplaceable. Motion sculpture is in “present continuous tense”, it spans from memories of the past to imaginations of the future, through which I wish to capture the intangible fleeting moment.