Highlight of the Month - Eric Fok Hoi Seng
2021.10.05 - 2021.10.31
Touch Gallery is proud to present the latest solo exhibition of Macau artist Eric Fok Hoi Seng, "Oriental Hotel - Eric Fok Solo Exhibition" from 5 to 31 October. Based on his profound cultural knowledge, Eric's creation combines with tradition and modernity, East and West, and even illusion and reality. On archaised tea-dyed paper, he imitates the brushstrokes of Western nautical charts, and utilises ink and technician pen to finely outline the imaginary exotic place - "Oriental Hotel".
In the creation of the drawing series "Oriental Hotel" exhibited this time, Eric studied colonial historical documents of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as the Eastern and Western cultures. He traced back to the time of the Age of Discovery, when people were enthusiastic about the exploration of the unknown Eastern world. In his drawings, he also presents Victorian architecture and even today’s high-rise buildings with colourful neon signs, and he drew some giants and mythical figures, wandering in dense spaces, so one can reflect from an outsider’s perspective. In addition, the cultural relics that have witnessed the changes of the times, can lead us to seek the lost historical memories. With the images of interlaced time and space, the viewer can understand the process and changes of urban development under globalisation. From the accumulated cultural meanings of objects and sceneries with different eras, we can experience and participate in history.
Guided by Eric's drawings that are similar to ancient Western maps, we sincerely invite everyone to a journey of time travel, to explore the ancient and modern worlds in the fantasy space constructed under lively imagination.
"Oriental Hotel" - a nostalgic, exotic fantasy. I watched the movie 2046 directed by Wong Kar-Wai a few years ago, which tells the story of Hong Kong at the beginning of the 19th century. The story takes place in "Oriental Hotel". Although the name is often seen in hotels in various colonies, it stimulates my imagination. In addition to its geographical location, "Oriental" is also culturally defined and describes outsiders; "Hotel" is mostly inhabited by tourists, who stay here only for a short period of time, or are full of unknowns about the future. Such uncertainty is similar to the ocean exploration in the Age of Discovery hundreds of years ago, the people were excited to visit the unknown Eastern world, and start a new life in a foreign land.
The Age of Discovery facilitated the progress of globalization and constituted the current relations between states. The exchange and integration of animals and plants resulted in different species. In my drawings, I also drew animals from different continents, such as elephants in Africa, rhinos in Central Asia and Indian cattle, as if they accompanied the navigator to search for new routes and new homes centuries ago. The heritage of Tai Kwun where the exhibition is located, the former police station, prison and other judicial departments, the cases that have been handled, and the changes in building use all reflect the social conditions and international relations of different eras. I take reference from the incidents between the Vietnamese crew and Tai Kwun in my drawings, while the mango trees on the square symbolise the exchange of plants, the seeds may accompany Indian people to Hong Kong. Whether it is plants or buildings, they are silent witnesses.
History is endless, while our time is limited, we cannot experience everything, but old buildings and old objects have experiences that we do not have. At the same time, we can stay here, participate in history through ancient buildings and artworks, and explore the traces of the past journey. Macau where the I grew up has a similar historical background, especially after the modernization of the city, the streets, high-rise buildings, neon signs, and Hong Kong popular culture have become collective memories of generations of residents. From the Age of Discovery to modern popular culture, movie scenes, travel notes and so forth, have become important elements in my creation. Art critic Lucy Lippard described in The Lure of the Local:
Place can be the geographic coordinates of the one’s life map, or a symbol of time, space, identity and politics. It is a geographical component that is full of human history and memory, it involves the connection with the surroundings, constituent of the place, the past and the future.