“Underground Construction” by emerging artist Ko Sin Tung

Steady Ground - courtesy of Edouard Malingue Gallerycourtesy o Edouard Malingue Gallerycourtesy of Edouard Malingue Gallery

A new contemporary art exhibition examines Hong Kong’s way of life and domestic aesthetics as defined by the city’s high density and major public constructions.

Artist Ko Sin Tung (born 1987) creates quietly poetic images and multimedia installations using visual cues that are immediately familiar to those who have ever lived in Hong Kong.

Beams of artificial fluorescent light, pixelated images of gray-scale sunrises, assembled screens of ad hoc roadside footage … these are the visually unassuming works that we will find at her solo show at Edouard Malingue Gallery titled “Underground Construction: Failed” (October 8 – November 26, 2015).

The images have evolved from her earlier works which considered the private, domestic space, and now extends into more public quarters. Ko now looks at zones of construction in Hong Kong that are taking place undergrounds. These developments are hinted at on the surface above the earth, but are not fully revealed.

For example, Ko looks at the future of the high-speed railway connecting Hong Kong to Mainland China and explores the personal repercussions of this major development project.

A graduate from the Department of Fine Arts at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Ko Sin Tung is a highly promising, emerging Hong Kong artist. Most recently she received two prestigious grants, one Project Grant (Emerging Artists Scheme) from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (2014) and the Pure Art Foundation Grant 2013-2014 from the Pure Art Foundation, Hong Kong.

Ko is interested in Hong Kong’s inhabitants and how the density of the city and the lack of space dictates values, social relations, and ways of life.

Her series “Modern Home Collection” (2013) is a group of framed archival inkjet prints of photographed domestic objects collected from various ad hoc searched on the Internet, such as a pixelated image of a mug or a vase. The mass of blurry photos seen as a whole represent an overarching insight into the aesthetics of households.

Light is an important element that Ko Sin Tung investigates through its material and metaphorical manifestations in domestic and public spaces. Her work “Sleep Tight” (2014) is of a piece of wallpaper with starry print and each constellation is highlighted with luminescent colour. By isolating the wallpaper from its usual domestic context, the piece creates a poignant response to the effort of bringing “natural” star light into the manmade domestic space, something that is nearly impossible in Hong Kong.

In her upcoming show, the gallery space will be transformed into an installation that merges the domestic and the public spaces, jarringly juxtaposing mundane household details with the grandeur of the city’s infrastructural contraction projects.

 Ko Sin Tung solo exhibition “Underground Construction: Failed”  at Edouard Malingue Gallery October 8 – November 26, 2015

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