HA MANH THANG X SHIU SHENG HUNG
22 SEP - 21 OCT 2016
RHETORICAL LANDSCAPE brings together works by two artists - Ha Manh Thang (Vietnam) and Shiu Sheng Hung (Taiwan) who use abstraction of landscape as a response to modernisation, temporality and memory with respect to their native environments.
Both Ha and Shiu use traditional media yet deploy unconventional artistic methods to create works that, depending on the vantage point and lighting conditions, transform visually as viewers move around them.
The exhibition explores the concept of landscapes being a rhetorical representation embodying not only the physicality but the transient spirituality of a place and as once remarked by Henri-Frédéric Amiel ‘Any landscape is a condition of the spirit…’
Ha Manh Thang’s latest series "The Lake" explores the relationship of “shui” or water as part of the philosophy of Feng-Shui in relation with traditional architectural buildings in the context of societal and cultural changes. Ha depicts the landscape in subdued tones using oil and acrylic paint, creating horizontal and vertical textured stripes with the palette knife. The lake is represented symbolically as an oval in the lower third of the canvas. Referencing archival plans, Ha etches fine drawings of traditional buildings that have particular cultural significance such as temples, pagodas or communal houses above the lake. Perceived initially as a flat painting, the viewer experiences how the indiscernible silhouette of the building seems to appear and becomes aware of its three-dimensional impact only by walking closer to the work. The delicate and transient nature of the etched structure, symbolical of culture and tradition, points to its fragility and disappearance in a rapidly modernising society.
In his "Landscape" series, Shiu Sheng Hung explores the boundaries between memory and temporality through the reconstruction of photographic images onto canvases. Turning to the landscapes in his native Taiwan, Shiu’s work is the result of an intense process of rediscovery and transformation of physical places into voids of imagination, interpretation and revelation. By selectively overlaying pearlescent paint that changes in visual appearance depending on the vantage point, the artist introduces a notion of evanescence and unpredictability to the nature of memory in the recalling of specific events and the impression of places.