Hera Chan

  • Jumana Manna, S-pipe, 2021, ceramics, glass, wood, metal, 14 x 31 1/2 x 27 1/2".
    picks August 23, 2021

    Jumana Manna

    Twisting a line from Natalie Díaz’s poem “Ode to the Beloved’s Hips” for its title, Jumana Manna’s exhibition “Thirty Plumbers in the Belly” conjures agricultural and urban infrastructures using the limbs of disconnected sewage pipes, the type of mesh dust catchers that cover scaffolding, and ceramics shaped like leftover bread. For Bread Series (Sidewalk), 2020, concrete blocks line the floor around one corner of a wall. Atop the blocks, plastic bags and ceramics emulating broken bits of flatbread are laid out as a kind of public offering. Other limb-pipes are mounted on plinths and meticulously

  • Andrew Luk, Haunted, Salvaged, 2020, extruded polystyrene foam, paint thinner, expanding spray foam, cement, concrete, steel, polyurethane, sea glass, rotating motor, UV resin, aerosol paint, nylon, 12'1 5⁄8" × 28'2 5⁄8" × 16'3 1⁄4".

    Andrew Luk and Chu Teh-Chun

    The twenty-first century is made of materials that will last forever. And this promise is something we have already begun to regret. Our walls swell with expanding spray foam, held in with stainless-steel mesh and coated with paint thinner. Nonbiodegradable and chemically complex, these easily discarded products become permanent somewhere on earth. Largely petroleum-based materials give us, in Hong Kong artist Andrew Luk’s words, “a taste of an uncomfortable bile-like future,” and “art that embraces this reality is like a vaccination.” The object of “is like” is critical here, as we all continue

  • Samson Young, The Immortals, 2019, HD video, color, sound, 35 minutes. Installation view, Centre for Heritage Arts & Textile, Hong Kong, 2020.
    picks July 06, 2020

    “Unconstrained Textiles: Stitching Methods, Crossing Ideas”

    For this exhibition, curator Takahashi Mizuki brings together seven artists who challenge presuppositions about textiles. The pieces on view in this former fabric mill emphasize the human element of cloth production and, in so doing, evoke the Hong Kong textile boom of the 1920s, which would not have been possible without intense physical labor—most notably represented by Kawita Vatanajyankur’s videos, in which her body replaces parts of spinning machines.

    South Korean artist Ham Kyunga’s Are you lonely, too? BK 03-01-01, 2018–19, features its titular question, rendered in silk on cotton by a

  • Lo Lai Lai Natalie, Talking Plant, 2019, HD video, color, sound, 3 minutes 23 seconds.

    Lo Lai Lai Natalie

    “Stories usually end tragically,” according to the narrator of Lo Lai Lai Natalie’s ten-minute video Cold Fire, 2019–20. A majestic stream-of-consciousness disquisition on the subject of fermentation, the piece moves through stories about the cartoon protagonists in airplane-safety instruction manuals to shots of hands kneading sticky bread dough. We look down onto an expanse of fluffy white clouds, as if viewing them from the heavens—or from a plane window. Tranquil footage of glassware used in the fermentation process transitions to a scene of black-shirted protesters shining their cell-phone

  • Chow Chun Fai, Press I, 2020, oil on canvas, 4 x 4".
    picks March 27, 2020

    Chow Chun Fai

    In 2012, Chow Chun Fai unsuccessfully campaigned for one of seventy seats in the highest governing body in Hong Kong—the Legislative Council—under the slogan “Cultural Right.” Although he tends to separate his civic and artistic identities, this show sees Chow shift into a directly political register. Trained as a painter at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, he witnessed its siege last November during the Hong Kong unrest sparked last June in opposition to an extradition bill. A sense of fugitivity, abetted by fear of government retaliation from participating in antiestablishment demonstrations,

  • Xiao Lu, Polar–2, 2016, giclée print, 47 1⁄4 × 31 1⁄2".

    Xiao Lu

    You really thought she might get hurt. For the opening of Xiao Lu’s solo exhibition “Skew,” the artist—decked out in a chic black dress embroidered with the basic details of the performance: XIAO LU’S SKEW ON AUGUST 14, 2019 IN HONG KONG—had gallery attendants load her into a thick Plexiglas pyramid. It was transparent, with a few panels tinted red and, just at eye level, a small circular opening. Visitors were instructed to pour buckets of red water into the hole, after which it was sealed. In the cramped confines of the pyramid, Xiao couldn’t stand up straight. She began to violently throw

  • View of “Café do Brasil,” 2019.
    picks November 06, 2019

    “Café do Brasil”

    The original Café do Brasil—an intellectual hangout on the second floor of the Ocean Terminal shopping center—exists only in memory, its greatest legacy a thirty-second cameo in Mok Chiu Yu’s 1978 experimental short Letter to the Young Intellectuals of Hong Kong. In homage to the space, curator Qu Chang has organized “Café do Brasil,” a temporary two-venue platform for gathering and subsequent dispersal in seeming solidarity with the “be water” methodology of the Hong Kong protests. “Chapter 1: Coffee Shops” restages two Para Site exhibitions mounted during the gallery’s time as an artist-run