Florence Lam Solo Exhibition
Curated by Kobe Ko
A live durational performance installation
11 October 2020, 1-7pm
Performance installation (improvised actions, wooden furniture, video on flat screen)
Curated by Kobe Ko
11 Oct 2020 (1 day only)
Hours: Sun, 1-7pm
Hidden Space is delighted to host TRUNK by Florence Lam, the second live performance in curator Kobe Ko’s ongoing Post-human Narratives project. Kobe is bringing together a selection of women artists from Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan in exhibitions both real and virtual.
From curator Kobe Ko
In the fourth exhibition of the Post-human Narratives series, we present Florence Lam’s performance installation TRUNK. The artist connects Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker with the scandal of a well-known contemporary furniture company being revealed as associated with the Chornobyl1 nuclear disaster. The work aims to explore the boundaries of body and emotion in the face of humanitarian crises across shifting time and space. At the same time, with nationalities sharing emotions and similar experiences, humans are no longer just individuals but a mass of emotions, memories and values. Florence considers how in artistic creation, ‘magical thinking’2 may be used through association to offer connections for causal relationships even when it vaults over known physics; and in this case, borrows the magical thinking power of Stalker relating to the fall of Soviet Union as a kind of mystical hint for the fall of the "framework" we have created, which has become the monster that would devour us. The work is composed of video, a piece of wooden furniture and live improvised performative actions, constantly changing the form of the work itself.
A mainstream European furniture company was found to be buying wood illegally logged from an ancient Ukrainian forest, very close to the site of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster. Wooden furniture built by this company and sold around Europe is not only illegally sourced but potentially radioactive.
The film Stalker, by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, was released in 1979, seven years before the Chornobyl disaster in 1986. Stalker’s themes and imagery matched so eerily well with Chornobyl that some read it as Tarkovsky predicting the disaster, which in turn preceded the fall of the Soviet Union - Ukraine became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Inspired by these two entwined elements, variations in the rhythms of human emotions are explored, manifested through a juxtaposition of times: the sudden ‘stop of time’ coming from the instant shock and emptiness one experiences when reading about the scandal of the furniture company, comparing with the continuous, repetitive, rhythmical camera movement and head movements of the actors in the film, a mythical, unending, indeterminate time. This work explores the causal relationship and connection between an artistic production and reality, how it affects the rhythm of human emotions and how this might feed into a change in reality.
A video is presented in a split screen: the lower part shows the scene from Stalker where the three main characters are travelling on a trolley towards the forbidden Zone that everyone “fears like plague”. However, their goal there is a room that grants the deepest desires of anyone who enters it. On the upper half of the screen, a remake of the same scene plays, this one shot in Hong Kong, imitating the composition and head movements of the original. These scenes happen within the non-space of transition: the body is on the move through time, whereas emotions are being processed within the person’s body in a different time and space frame. The video is contained within the structure of a wooden bed frame, referencing the scandal and acting as a physical container of the metaphysical and emotional effects of such happenings, that reverberate for generations. Combining with live improvised actions, the performance installation will transform continuously throughout the duration of the exhibition.
Florence LAM (HK) is currently based between Hong Kong and Düsseldorf, Germany. Lam works with wonder and magical thinking to fuse together current moral issues with child-like world views through performance art, poetry, video and sound. She obtained her MA Fine Art from Iceland Academy of the Arts in 2017 and her BA Fine Art from Central Saint Martins in 2014.
Lam has performed around Europe and Asia, including 1a space (Hong Kong 2020); Nanhai Gallery (Taipei, Taiwan 2019); Chiba Prefectural Museum of Art (Japan 2019), MACRO Testattio Mattatoio Art Museum (Rome, Italy 2018), Kling & Bang (Reykjavík, Iceland 2018), Manifesta 11 (Zürich, Switzerland 2016). Art festivals include A! Performance Festival (Akureyri, Iceland 2019), YUP Festival (Osnabrück, Germany 2019), ZABIH Performance Festival (Lviv, Ukraine 2019), Reykjavík Arts Festival (Reykjavík, Iceland 2019), Performance Platform Lublin (Lublin, Poland 2017), Sequences Art Festival (Reykjavík, Iceland 2017), Performance Art Bergen Open (Bergen, Norway, 2017).
1 The more widely used spelling of Chernobyl reflects the Russian pronunciation and highlights the impotency of Ukrainian historical context to this place. The artist intentionally chooses to use the spelling Chornobyl instead, which respects and reinstates Ukrainian agency.
2 Magical thinking is a psychological phenomenon commonly found in children, religion, folk religion and supernatural events, where one causally links unrelated events despite the absence of any scientific proof, and presumes a causal link between one’s inner experience and the external physical world.
More about the project:
Special thanks to videographer Chan Lok Ting