Reconstruct: Reassembling Photographs through Analogues and the Digital
Why We Recommend it
Over 20 works from Alexis Ip’s ‘3D Neon Fantasies’ (further crafted from the original works of Keith Macgregor) and Stefan Irvine’s “The Last Tong Lau” (made in collaboration with digital artist Jörg Dietrich) are showcased in a unique Hong Kong-centric duo exhibition.
British photographer Stefan Irvine’s work focuses predominantly on Hong Kong’s Tong Lau, or Chinese “Shop house” buildings – a type of tenement architecture at one time popular throughout southern China for both residential and commercial use. Other works capture similarly distinctive, architectural styles, displaying influences from Hong Kong and beyond. The production process of these linear panoramas demands meticulous planning and careful attention to detail. Photographer Stefan Irvine often makes several trips to each location, painstakingly capturing the entire facade of the buildings at precise intervals and distances. In collaboration with digital artist Jörg Dietrich the images are digitally merged and manipulated into one expansive, seamless image, creating a singular visualisation of an entire city block. This stitched perspective allows the viewer to experience the life of a whole street with greater detail and more information than can be achieved in one single shot.
Works by Hong Kong artist Alexis Ip, known for his 3D ‘Fotomo’ collage—hand-cut collages of vernacular Hong Kong street scenes—bring viewers on a personal walk down memory lane to his fond childhood memories of growing up around Kowloon City. Through his collages he reorganises his photographs back to its original three dimensional state, highlighting the quirky and creative aspects to how street vendors display their products. The technique itself points at the innumerable details and layers that exist in the real life scenes by cutting each one out, one suddenly appreciates the artistic nature of the composition created by the vendors, which normally one would pass by without much thought or attention. Today we can luckily still find these ‘human-scale’ mom-and-pop shops amongst the skyscrapers but as Hong Kong sanitises its streets and rents continue rising, the survival of these kinds of traditional street vendors is at risk.
Reconstruct showcases works that put a fresh spin on the visually exciting and ever changing city. Ip’s nostalgic street vendors and scenes are juxtaposed by Irvine’s scientifically accurate panoramas of the disappearing Tong Lau. Both projects expose a kind of human organisation from small to larger scale, that is organic, almost random and yet structured and ordered in its own right.
During the exhibition, an artist talk with Irvine and a 3D ‘Fotomo’ photo collage workshop with Ip ($350 per person) are held on 17 August 2019 and 7 September 2019 respectively.
Photo: Waterloo Road, Yau Ma Tei (Hong Kong, 2017), by Stefan Irvine and Jörg Dietrich, Courtesy Blue Lotus Gallery