square | 正方

11 July - 7 Sept 2019

Affinity Art is delighted to present SQUARE, a group exhibition that brings together the exploration of this geometric shape by six contemporary artists from Europe and Southeast Asia. The omnipresence of squares in everyday life renders them ordinary and often overlooked. What can this elemental geometric shape achieve in art? Artists manoeuvre the form as they seek to reinvent the recognition of the square. The diversity of the works presented span from the artists’ socio-political and cultural concerns, to journeys of abstraction and inner contemplation.

To start with, Belgian artist Johan De Wit alters the shape into palm-sized three-dimensional structures crafted from paper and hardened with a mixture of resin, marble and iron powder. The resulting puffed sculptures, each with its unique folds and dents, create a wavering equilibrium between action and inaction, movement and temporary stillness while instilling a sense of aesthetic that challenges our perception on materiality and gravity.

Referencing Western antiquities, the work "Venus" by Irfan is a realistically executed portrait of the Greco-Roman sculpture. The Indonesian artist finishes the work by painting brightly coloured square and rectangular shapes atop the figure, hence creating a stark contrast of contemporary expression against ancient art. This interplay of art form between two vastly distinct time periods engages a discourse on the relative appreciation of arts. How do we perceive art as time passes?

Le Quy Tong depicts mass protests around the world based on photojournalistic images found in the media. In the work titled “No.4”, the imposing central banner is chequered. At first indiscernible, the words "Occupy Everything” gradually become visible through the empty gaps of the pattern. Chequered squares, here, adopt a simultaneously masking and revealing role suggesting an analogy to the way information - and truth - is selectively disclosed in mass media.

Returning to square as an elemental shape, in "Fading Winter #14" by Ha Manh Thang, a perfectly square canvas is chosen as the base format for the representation of a blooming iris as found on one of his antique Vietnamese panels. The motif is sculpted out from fresh impasto layers with the resulting negative spaces revealing some gold undertones within the matt anthracite-like surface, a parallel hinting to a past of lost glory. The square format of the work suggests a cropped image where the edges no longer act like boundaries but rather lead viewers to imagine the rest of a wider, larger work.

Lam Siong Onn, uses watercolours to depict everyday landscapes from his native Malaysia; wood huts and village jetties are simplified into assemblages of shapes and juxtapositions. In "Village Jetty", Lam overlays the work with a grid of large translucent squares, the additional axes and symmetries transform the rugged scene into a striking contemporary composition. In "Abstraction", rooftops and windows are further distilled into ethereal geometries of warm pastel hues.

Finally, Thai abstract artist Somyot Hananuntasuk visualises his meditative journey, an instinct-driven expression of his inner reflection. His trail of thoughts meet and form squares unintentionally and transform into a visual experience where creation is no longer bound by perceivable subjects but by the musing and emotional process along the way.

From physical representation to personal introspection, from literal to abstract, the presence of squares in the exhibition encourages a continual dialogue between artists and viewers on the perceptual ambiguities of this ubiquitous shape and its limitless adaptations.

Affinity Art 呈獻夏季聯展《正方》,透過來自東南亞及歐洲的六位當代藝術家有關正方形的參展作品,從而探討與我們生活息息相關卻不受重視的幾何圖形在藝術上的可塑性。「正方」以不同的形式重塑觀眾對它的理解,並體現藝術家各自對社會政治和藝術文化的思考,以及他們於抽象中自我探索的旅程。

首先,來自比利時的 Johan De Wit 的雕塑作品群展示出正方形最原始及基本的體態。一個個手掌般大的雕塑是由紙張加上樹脂、大理石粉及鐵粉的製成品,充分凸顯了作品的立體感。每一個看似膨脹了的作品都擁有獨特的褶皺和凹凸,而每一道褶痕都是由他設計的,因而令作品徘徊在動態與靜止之間。這種時間的停頓表現出不可言喻的美感,同時又在挑戰人們對物質世界和地心吸力的理解。

M Irfan 借鑑西方古代藝術,寫實地繪畫出希臘神話中維納斯女神(Venus)的石像。這位印尼藝術家在人像上直接加入顏色鮮艷的正方形及長方形,產生出當代藝術與古代藝術之間強烈的對比。相隔二千年的藝術在同一個作品中出現,他引起了一場關於藝術欣賞的辯論。隨着時間的流逝、世代的轉變,我們該如何理解和詮譯藝術品?

Le Quy Tong 根據在媒體上的攝影報道,描繪世界各地的大型抗議和民運。在名為《No. 4》的作品中央,有一幅佈滿方格的橫額。「佔領一切」(Occupy Everything) 的字眼在橫額上似有還無,方格在此同時擔當起蒙蔽及展示的角色,比喻在這新聞媒體主導的時勢,資訊如何被選擇性地傳達給市民。

再次回到正方形作為基礎形狀,Ha Manh Thang 選擇在一個正方的畫布上創作《Fading Winter # 14》。取材於他其中一幅古董越南屏風,他在剛塗下的厚層顏料上,雕刻出綻放中的鳶尾花。若隱若現地透出金色基層,有如古董上已逝去的光輝。正方雖是這作品確實的界限,卻沒有限制觀眾的視野,反之擴闊了他們對於鳶尾花的延伸、方框以外的想像空間。

以水彩繪畫馬來西亞日常風景的藍祥安(Lam Siong Onn)將木寮及村橋(即沿岸村落)簡化為幾何的形態,重組成獨特的風貌。他在作品《Village Jetty》中運用水彩獨有的視覺效果,以不同顏色的透光方格及其軸線的交織,為這片置構複雜的景色披上一層現代的面紗。另一幅作品《Abstraction》中的屋頂和窗戶則被他更進一步地淨化為純樸柔和的四邊形。

最後,泰國抽象藝術家 Somyot Hananuntasuk 以隨心的表達手法把觀眾帶進他自身的思考及冥想的旅程。他的思路引領畫筆不自覺地形成正方,亦引領觀眾進入一個視覺的體驗。創作成為了一個過程,一個抒發情感的過程,更不再被物質生活的題材限制。