Damien H. Ding, Natalie Baxter, Lau Wai, Paula Wilson
  |  
Lunarian

HONG KONG
01.22.2022 - 03.05.2022

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English/中文

Denny Dimin Gallery is pleased to announce Lunarian, a group exhibition featuring four international artists at the gallery’s Hong Kong location, on view from January 22nd to March 5th, 2022.

The title, ‘Lunarian’ refers to imagery of moons and ‘mooning’ throughout the exhibition in both its visual context – the intentional display of naked bottoms as seen in Paula Wilson’s, The Light Becomes You, 2018 and Natalie Baxter’s, Housecoat VI, 2021as well as the emotional state of ‘mooning’ – a wistful longing – which is prevalent in all the works as they depict complicated relationships with memory, nostalgia and desire. The moon has always held a symbolic place in social, literary and visual discourse. In ‘Quiet Night Thought’ or ‘Jing ye si’ – one of the most famous poems written by Li Bai during the Tang Dynasty – feelings of longing and transience are prompted by the moon: 

Bright moonlight before my bed

I suppose it is frost on the ground

I raise my head to view the bright moon

Then lower it, thinking of my home village. 1

The simplicity of these words offset the challenging emotions experienced by the poem’s character. This in turn can be likened to several of the works in the exhibition. Damien H. Ding who references this poem in discussing the emotional state embodied by his subjects, looks to encapsulate their ambivalence and insecurities, where they are wrestling with their reality of what is, whilst also longing to go to a place of what could have been. We see this in his work Golf Painting, 2021, where the subject is in a state of emotion about almost achieving what he set out to do or in the embarrassment of the figure in 2007 Barclays Singapore Open, 2021, where the figure is longing to return to a previous iteration of himself before the humiliation he is currently experiencing. Lau Wai’s video work, I am invincible…on the screen/ False motion tracking, 2019-2020 also plays with a sense of nostalgia towards old Hollywood depictions of Asian characters alongside the uncomfortable realities of how they embody offensive stereotypes. She writes: ‘This work suggests a continuous paradox and an intertwined dilemma which often takes place in the constitutions of representation, and raises the question of ‘Who actually has the legitimate power of control on the bodies?’2 There is also a strong sense of nostalgia in Baxter’s Housecoat VI, which looks to the memory of Baxter’s own grandmother as well as the generic American woman of the 50s/60s who would wear such garments in her everyday routine. Reflecting on the gendered cultural reference of the garments themselves and the thematic content of the moon on the back of the piece showing the butt of a woman in a bikini, both embody a strong feminine association. 

‘Lunarian’ as a non-binary term3 also refers to the experience of inhabiting gender within several of the works. Natalie Baxter directly addresses this in her textile banner Clearly Confused VII, 2021, where she quotes a comment posted underneath an article about her work – the writer of the comment said that she was ‘clearly confused about her role as a woman’. She also confronts a specificity of gender in Ralph, 2018, a soft, textile depiction of a gun, part of her Warm Gun series. Baxter sees guns as an emblem of a crisis with masculine identity and quotes sociology professor, Jennifer Carlson, saying “As men doubt their ability to provide, their desire to protect becomes all the more important. They see carrying a gun as a masculine duty”.4 She intentionally takes this perceived masculine object and destabilizes its gendered identity by giving it a material quality that’s inherently feminine in its association – as per the term ‘Lunarian’ which removes labels of gender but still acknowledges a feminine presentation within its subject.

In Lau Wai and Paula Wilson’s work, the artists address a more non-gendered perspective – Lau performs in a tight body suit with motion tracking points – she titles this character as ‘Pre-CGI Body’ intentionally removing gender from the equation. Wilson also leaves the gender of the subject ambiguous and open. Bottoms or ‘butts’ are a recurring motif in her work. She writes, ‘they hold multiple dichotomies– they are lude and yet classical, associated with brown & black bodies and yet they are universal (everyone has an ass), and they are sexual & titliating yet they are not specifically gendered. Identity is like that for me, it isn’t fixed– it is constantly negotiated in relativistic terms.’5 The visual identity of the moon and ‘mooning’ and its association with the imagery and ideas throughout the exhibition helps to uncover thoughts, emotions and ideas yet it’s mystery remains – the darkside of the moon. ‘We all cast a shadow, and sometimes we look backwards… we look backwards sometimes and find these things that are not in the light of reason.’6

 

丹尼迪明画廊 (Denny Dimin Gallery) 荣幸的宣布我们将于2022年1月22日至3月12日在香港画廊为四位杰出的国际艺术家们举办一场名为“月球居民” (原文”Lunarian”)的展览。

展览的名称 “月球居民”, 源自于贯穿整个展览如月亮(moon)一般富有诗意的意境,和俏皮的“mooning”(可译为光屁股)。这些元素被艺术家巧妙的融合和在了他们的艺术作品中,比如艺术家Paula Wilson 在2018年创作的艺术作品《The Light Becomes You》和艺术家Natalie Baxter的作品《Housecoat VI》中有意展示出的裸臀,以及作品呈现出的那中难以言表的用月亮寄托思绪的情绪状态, 和疯狂的思念和渴望的寄托。这些元素在所有的作品中都是有迹可循的,因为此次展出的作品都在极力的勾勒着回忆、怀旧和欲望的复杂关系。与此同时,我们都知道月亮在社会、文学和视觉中一直具有一定的象征意义。在唐代诗人李白家喻户晓的那一首《静夜思》之中,就生动的表达了诗人睡梦初醒的恍惚之际,由月亮而引发的浓郁思念和种种思绪。

床前明月光,

疑是地上霜,

举头望明月,

低头思故乡。 1

寥寥几句实则承载了作者浓厚的感情,如同这次展览中的那些作品。其中一位艺术家Damien H. Ding在利用具像化的艺术手法去表达其作品主题的情绪状态时就引用了这首诗,在作品中艺术家试图表达各种矛盾和不安全感,然而各种思绪在与现实搏斗的同时,都渴望着回到从前那可能会发生或者不发生一切的地方。这样的情感可以在他2021年的作品《Golf Painting》中找到。在这里,人物处于一种几乎实现了他目标的情绪状态;类似情绪也在他同年作品《2007 Barclays Singapore Open》的处于尴尬境地的人物极度的渴望回到他当时所经历的屈辱之前找到类似的感情。艺术家Lau Wai在其2019至2020年期间创作的的视频作品《I am invincible…on the screen/ False motion tracking》中利用怀旧手法描绘早期的好莱坞对亚洲人物的刻画,以及早期的好莱坞是如何表现出令人不快的刻板印象的现实。她写道: “ 这项工作实际上引出了一个持续的悖论和一个经常会发生在代表制度中的交错复杂的困境,并提出了“谁真正拥有对身体的合法控制权? 2”这么一个问题。艺术家Baxter的《Housecoat VI》也同样有着类似的怀旧情怀,因为他的这件作品让时常他怀念起他的祖母以及五、六十年代常穿这样衣服的普通大众女性。Baxter同时反思服装本身的性别文化参考,在作品背面展示比基尼女性臀部的创意都联动了先前提到月亮“moon”和“mooning”的主题内容,也都体现了强烈的女性联想。

主题“月球居民”一词作为一个非二元性别术语 3,也意指一些作品中存在性别的体验。艺术家Natalie Baxter于2021年创作的编织品艺术《Clearly Confused VII》中就直接明了的阐述了这一点。 这幅作品Baxter引用了来自于读者在她工作文章下的一段评论 – 评论的作者写到她 “显然对自己作为女性的角色感到困惑”。同时Baxter在她Warm Gun(温柔的枪)系列中的《Ralph, 2018》作品里也作出了她对于性别的表达。Baxter将枪支视为危险的男性身份的象征,并且引用了社会学教授Jennifer Carlson的话: “当男人开始怀疑自己的供养能力的时候,他们的保护欲在这个时候变得前所未有的重要,他们认为携带枪支是男性的职责” 4。Baxter在这件作品中有意地挑选了枪支这样男性化的物件作为主题,并且通过使用不同属性的材料在艺术作品中重新创作枪支,以达到赋予它一种内在的女性化,从而在人们心中动摇它的性别身份。在此也引出了我们这次展览的主题“月球居民”,即使是我们去除了它本身的性别标签,但这个词汇的主体仍然带有一定的女性色彩。

在艺术家Lau Wai和 Paula Wilson在作品中提出了一种更无性别的视角,Lau在穿着带有运动跟踪点的紧身衣表演——她将这个角色命名为“Pre-CGI body” 有意将性别从整个流程中剔除。 Wilson也让主题的性别变得模糊和开放。下装或“臀部”是她作品中反复出现的主题。她写道:“它们被分为两类——它们是粗鄙的,但又很经典,它们让人联想到棕色和黑色的身体,但又很普遍(每个人都有一屁股),同时它们很性感但又没有特定的性别。身份对我来说就是这样,它不是固定的—它是在相对的条件下不断更迭。5” 月亮 “moon” 和“mooning”的视觉特性以及它与整个展览中的图像和想法的关联,有助于揭示思想、情感和想法。同时也提醒着它的奥秘其实一直存在 —— 月亮的背面。“我们都在自己身上投下阴影,有时我们会向后看……我们有时向后看的时候会发现那些不在阳光下的事情里藏着它们的原因。6

 

1 Translation from: 300 Tang Poems, Geoffrey Waters, Michael Farman and David Lunde – translators. (White Print Press, 2011)
2 Lau Wai writing about her work ‘I am invincible…on the screen/ False motion tracking (still)’, 2019-2020
3 ‘Lunarian’ is a non binary term coined in 2016 as part of a ‘galactian’ system of classification as a response to a gendered classification of ‘male aligned’ or ‘female aligned’. Lunarian denotes a non binary person who displays characteristics and tropes traditionally associated with femininity.
4 Jennifer Carlson from ‘America’s gun problem has everything to do with America’s masculinity problem.’ By Elizabeth Winkler (Quartz, 2015)
5 Paula Wilson when discussing the inclusion of buttocks as a motif across her work and practice. 2021
6 Romare Bearden – African American artist 1911 – 1988

 

Denny Dimin Gallery – Hong Kong is located at No. 612 Remex Center. No. 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road. Hong Kong. To make an appointment, contact Katie Alice Fitz Gerald (+852 5721 2638 or katiealice@dennydimingallery.com).

 
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