East Contemporary

Osage Gallery “The Sun Teaches Us That History In Not Everything”

Hong Kong, 25 March – 6 May 2018, http://osagegallery.com/

A rather large exhibition, taking on an even larger task of mapping the dialogue between “Southeast Asia, South America, Central America and Mexico”, curated by Raphael Fonseca and featuring the works of 26 artists. The exhibition was a little bit in the style of Para Site’s research-based shows, but the theme was broader, in a way traditional, following in the lines of “Art from xxx”-titled exhibitions. The show felt relaxed and loosely defined. The show featured a large variety, as one could expect given the geographical scope. Many of the works, if not all, were story-objects, by which I mean that the works contained, or were a result of a certain personal or social narrative.

Each of the displayed objects included a detailed description on the nametag, which was both a curse and a blessing. Sometimes, it indeed offered additional context that helped to understand the artwork. In other cases it explained what the artwork is about, pointing towards the failure of the artwork to communicate the obvious to the viewer directly. But the presence of both cases means that there was indeed a variety.

The installation of the show was also rather laid-back. Even though obviously a great effort went into arranging everything neatly, the type of objects on display, some produced with modest budgets, some capital intensive, some on purpose low-tech or assemblage like, made imperfections to creep in or maybe to be included on purpose. This also made the objects here appeared more like something to engage with, touchable.

Because of a number of video works, the soundscape of the show was a bit overwhelming. In fact it was almost a continuation of the Kwun Tong road soundscape outside of the gallery. This was the sonic counterpart to the just mentioned visual imperfections – overlapping and echoing sounds and voices. And as with the visual presence, it made the show feel a bit restless, but also a bit more alive.

Here is a few images from works that somehow caught my attention for miscellaneous reasons:

Nguyen Trinh Thi – Everyday – 2018

FX Harsono – Testimony – 2009

Shinpei Takeda – A Blueprint for Emigration-Immigration – 2018

Daniel Lie – Semarang and Garanhuns Love Affair – 2018

Linda Lai – Ruminations-a Montage of HK’s (post)Coloniality – 2018

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