reviews

A View of Hong Kong, from 1963 to the Handover

by Stephanie Bailey , Published on artreview.com

Law Yuk Mui, Star Score, 2023, punched holes on paper, 13 pieces, 21 × 29 cm (each).

Courtesy the artist and Tomorrow Maybe, Hong Kong

In 1963 Hong Kong endured its driest year on record. Extending existing policies based on endemic shortages, tap water was rationed to four hours every fourth day at the peak of the crisis. Eventually, the colonial government struck a deal to extend an ongoing trade in water with Guangdong, but not before it considered ferrying water from Japan. This was the Cold War, after all, and Hong Kong’s dependence on China for water was – and is – an important political tool. That some Hongkongers took matters into their own hands at the time is something to which Law Yuk Mui’s most recent exhibition refers: Take me to the River, Draw me a Star is anchored to a rainmaking ritual performed on 2 June 1963 by Sheung Shui villagers on Wa Shan, next to the Ng Tung River.

Divided into three sections, Law’s show portrays elements of that ritual at one end of the gallery titled ‘1963’. There, the three-channel looped video Bugang Tadou (2023) comprises a vertical green-screen leaning against one wall emitting ambient sounds of a hike to Wa Shan, next to a reedited cut of Law’s two-channel video Rainmaking (2021). One vertical display shows a rotating 3D animation of a stone altar, while a horizontal monitor depicts a figure arranging pebbles on the floor – a reference to ‘Bu Gang Ta Dou’ or ‘Pacing the Big Dipper’, in which the seven brightest stars within Ursa Major guide the footwork of Daoist rituals. That celestial framing extends to the show’s middle section, titled ‘1963/2023’ after the fact that these are both Water Rabbit years, hence the two ink and gold-leaf on paper star-charts on view, based on the longitude and latitude of Wa Shan at 2pm on 2 June 1963 and 2023 respectively. Props for a performance are arranged in the area, with a video showing Law hammering holes into a circular black tarp that’s raised at one end so that light projects constellations onto the floor through its punctures. Star Score (2023) extends this astral cartography: holes punched into a black-card scroll laid on two music stands mimic, according to exhibition materials, formations of the eighth-century Dunhuang Star Chart.

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羅玉梅,  Take me to the River, Draw me a Star

by 萬豐 , Published on art forum.com.cn 

羅玉梅近年創作中被稱為“電影現場”( Improvised Cinema )嘅工作方法同現場。 藝術家喺展廳半計劃、半即興地進行行為表演,透過與影像、雕塑、現成物和檔案等嘅互動,完成裝置作品嘅最後形態。 在這次展覽空間正中央的,即是羅玉梅和聲音藝術家林葉合作的一次“電影現場”。 鈴鐺喺懸垂或游走中碰撞發聲,水滴入盆,波擲出而滾動,現場或規律或意外嘅聲場被合成器捕捉成不斷發展節奏。 伴隨呢種節奏,藝術家喺一塊黑布上用打孔器製造星圖,由緩入急,應聲而喐,最後把頭戴嘅光源懸於黑布之上,喺地面投一下一片流動盪漾嘅星空。 呢種徜徉電影現場徜徉嘅展縯既解釋性咁串聯起眾多作品中晦澀的意象,以身體行動激活視覺,都允許執行者喺操練中感受、回應,鼓勵製造偏差甚至錯誤,呼喚新嘅經驗。 喺罗玉梅歷來關心嘅歷史同現實嘅來回震盪之間,行為表演成為一次收攏漫長時間之流行動。 它強調咗徜徉一刻徜徉嘅唯一可把握性,從一個充滿具身能動性嘅角度撥動觀眾對歷史同未來嘅想象。

全文:https://www.artforum.com.cn/picks/14631


 

電影現場與總體藝術
梁展峰, 2022-7-28, 島聚daoju.art

步入昏暗展場,大小展品四散於場內,有發光的電視錄像、有反光的錄像投影,還有給光照著的由物件而構成的多件裝置作品。現場中間,有咪高峰和音響控制板,附近有水泥長磚、地球玩具等。它們也許是展覽期間表演活動的器材和道具。這些東西與展場內其他零碎展品彷彿構成「事發現場」,恰恰對應展覽簡介所言的:這個展覽/場「以『電影現場』作為演練場」……展覽於我而言,是總體藝術(Gesamtkunstwerk),一個整體的創作。作者以導演/指揮家的角色,分配不同藝術形式(影像、裝置、聲音等),並為不同觀眾提供了共同的文本——遷徙與尋覓的故事,由觀眾閱讀、聆聽和觀看的展場內不同部份,自己從觀展經驗建構出不同故事章節和意義。於是我需要糾正我對羅氏作品的期望:她不是在再現(represent)某段歷史或再現和它相關的價值,反而是以歷史為顏料,以藝術形式為筆觸,以構造得到能盛載她自己思緒的圖畫。

全文:https://www.daoju.art/posts/songoftheexile


 

Trevor Yeung and Law Yuk-mui

by Nuit Banai,
Published on  Artforum, August, 2022.

In both projects, Hong Kong’s identity appeared entangled with its singular ecological context of tropical forests and waterways. Like many other places, this environment is threatened by human negligence and opportunism and affected by techno-economic changes and shifting political tides. For Yeung, adapting to these transformations includes educating the public—books on Hong Kong’s flora were available in a reading corner—and making visible the exchanges between different systems. Law’s approach is to collect memories embedded in and triggered by the city’s habitat. Both artists recognize the mediated relationship between individuals and their geography and lead us to ask: What is the cost of perpetual construction and deconstruction?

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Law Yuk Mui  
by Caroline Ha Thuc

Published on  ARTOMITY 藝源Hong Kong’s Art Magazine, June 2, 2022.

There Is No One Singing on the River relates Law Yuk Mui’s experience and fieldwork along the Ng Tung River, located in Hong Kong’s northeastern New Territories. The river has many names, changing as it meets various branches and tributaries. It even used to be called the Indus River, thanks to South Asian surveyors during the colonial period.

Rather than trying to grasp this elusive, complex reality, Law reflects on her working methodology and proposes a very open interpretation of her journey. Based on her investigation, sound recording and mapping of the river, the exhibition includes her recording equipment, compass, artefacts and drone survey, as well as a fictional video. The artist wishes to trigger the imagination of the visitors, inviting them to extend her experience through their own memories or projections of the idea of a river.

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Law Yuk Mui , “Dialogues” series by Foundwork
by Kat Herriman

Law Yuk Mui meanders through Hong Kong. Her work does too. Meditating on the island landscape and all its implications, her practice uses everything at its disposal to create exhibition-sized mood envelopes—airtight enough to hold the emotional frequencies, views, and stories she captures during her sallies around the city. A sense of place is a central theme that is fiddled with, using its aesthetic allies, through installations in video and sound. Collaboration is also essential. In fact, the city itself is perhaps the artist’s biggest co-conspirator in the work. Law’s latest exhibition—“There is No One Singing on the River” at Oil Street Art Space—is no exception, honing in on the curiosity-piquing names of Hong Kong’s major water channels and using them as a springboard for looking at where geography and power overlap. While the contents of her work invoke serious subject matter, there is a humor to the way she researches that playfully tongues her own limits—and those of art. Recently shortlisted for the 2021 Foundwork Artist Prize, Law delves into her nomadic approach to art making and why Hong Kong is always her main character.


 

Diasporic Drifts: A Visualization of Diverse Chineseness
by Vennes Cheng Sau-wai
Published on YISHU Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art Vol.20 | Issue 102| 2021

Law Yuk Mui (b. 1982, Hong Kong) engages the themes of waves and sailing as a symbolic means to interweave the histories of Hong Kong as a refugee city and to reflect the city’s current paradoxical situation in From Whence the Waves Came. This series of artworks includes photography, video, and a kinetic installation—work that collectively channels an ambiguous agenda to examine the fluidity of one’s identity through historical and memorial investigation. 

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Some Tangible, Some Forgotten: Art About Borders in the Hong Kong SAR
by Professor Frank Vigneron

Visual Culture Wars at the Borders of Contemporary China 

 


 

Convergence of the practices of documentary and contemporary art in Hong Kong: Autoethnographic works of Tang Kwok Hin and Law Yuk Mui
by Hoi Shan Anson MAK
Published on Visual Ethnography Vol.8 | N.2 | 2019

Research Methods and Fieldwork
Her fieldwork practice is not merely a tool for collecting materials. Rather, bodily and emotional experience during fieldwork is also accounted for the aesthetic decisions of the artworks and the setting of the installation in the exhibition. Fieldwork is not neutral, and contemporary artists conducting research do not produce mere ethnographic data. It is their experience as the artworks themselves. For Law, the most important issue is the discovery of her physical and psychological reflections during her fieldwork experience in which bodily experience is essential.

Full text and English Version

 


 

複/腹語術:論羅玉梅的《殖物》
陳智廷博士, 香港浸會大學電影學院研究助理教授 (2019)

做為六聲道三頻道錄像裝置,羅玉梅在香港視覺藝術中心展映的《殖物》,是一件場域特定(site-specific)的作品。《殖物》重新組合拼貼嫁接影像、音樂與文本,以或發聲或無聲的腹語術儀式讓歷史還魂,解構與重構香港身份認同,創生出一株似曾相識,來歷不明,身不由己而美麗綻放的雜種主體。作品名稱饒富深意,以同音字「殖」與「植」,帶出1965年獲選為香港市花的本土植物洋紫荊(Bauhinia blakeana)實是殖民產物 ……. 這使我想到九七回歸期間策展人何慶基在香港藝術中心的半人半魚盧亭考古展覽,以虛構想像的香港人始祖,逃難而來的盧亭,作為香港邊緣、居間、混種的文化隱喻

A video installation with six audio tracks and three channels,Law Yuk Mui’s Pastiche is a site-specific work exhibited at the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre.Pastiche reassembles collages of grafted images, music and texts that restore history through both vocal and ventriloquised rituals, which in turn deconstructs and reconstructs Hong Kong’s identity. All these cultivate a déjà-vu-ques hybrid entity of unknown origin blossoming involuntary yet gorgeously. The work’s Chinese title ‘殖物’ embodies profound connotations. The homophone of ‘殖’ (‘to grow/reproduce’ and the first character of the term ‘to colonise’) is ‘植’ (‘to plant’), underlining the fact that Bauhinia blakeana, Hong Kong’s native species and the regional flower selected during the colonial period in 1965, is actually a colonial product ……. This reminds me of the half-human half-fish ‘Lo Ting’ in the archaeological exhibition curated by Oscar Ho at the Hong Kong Arts Centre during the Handover period in 1997. A fictional ancestor of Hong Kong, Lo Ting fled to Hong Kong, acting as a cultural metaphor of Hong Kong’s marginalisation, intermediary role, hybridity and resistance.

Full text and English Version

 


 

Hong Kong Soft Power. Art Practices in the Special Administrative Region 2005-2014. Hong Kong

by Professor Frank Vigneron

The Chinese University Press, 2018

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將軍澳的時間殘章: 羅玉梅的《維多利亞之東》  | The scattered temporal fragments of Tseung Kwan O: Law Yuk-mui’s Victoria East by Vivian Ting
Published on art review Hong Kong issue 3/ 藝評香港 – 第三期 (12-2017)

羅玉梅的作品確實懷緬那煙消雲散的過去,但她所揭示的並非純真的往日,而是歷史的反臉無情 — 不問緣由那份海的回憶被埋葬了、那片意識形態的旗海又被抹去、而山與水的形貌再也無人記取。耐人尋味的是,平淡無奇的影像與無從憶記的蒼白容或觸及遺忘的傷疤,但誘發的卻不是沉鬱的痛,反而是渾身灼熱又剌惱的,讓人非要撓個明明白白。遊走於現實與想像之間,藝術撩撥的騷癢既無眩人的聲色,也欠缺濃烈的情感激盪,卻著我們探索一直生活環境看不見聽不清觸不到之處,重新發現自身以什麼形式連結世界,又如何在變動中尋找自己的位置。


羅玉梅: 維多利亞之東 | Law Yuk-mui: Victoria East by Morgan Wong 
Published on art forum.com.cn (18-5-2017)
English Version

展覽秉承羅玉梅處理史料時一貫的冷靜態度,一層一層從歷史宏觀中發掘出不同的細微線索。串聯不同事件的主線不單只有時間,更有一種對消逝的不安。若“最後的海岸”是在掌控一條物理上的線,那麼整個展覽羅玉梅則是為時間線訂下不同的註腳 – 地緣政治的消失,殖民歷史的殘存,以及社會發展的今昔。

Succeeding her usual nonchalant attitude towards the treatment of history, Law Yuk-mui has excavated fine details from the macro-narrative of history layer by layer in this exhibition as well. The axis linking up different events isn’t only time, but also a sense of uneasiness towards what have disappeared. If The Last Coast  were governing a physical line, then Law Yuk-mui would be putting different footnotes on the timeline throughout the exhibition – the disappearance of geopolitics, the remnants of colonial history and the evolution of social development.


Law Yuk-mui by Yang YEUNG
First published in issue 118 (Jan 2016) of a.m.post, Hong Kong.
原文刊於《a.m.post》118期,2016年1月。

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“Law’s objects are Woolf’s “characters”. They neither speak nor show, but they are poemed for being “well put together”. To borrow from Bringhurst again, to poem is to make sing or resonate. Law’s solitary ecology of objects does that, too. In the making, the artist’s body must have hopped between them – those kindred spirits of hers – so that she could conceal herself, displace those after-the-fact gestures of art, show this act of concealment, and get lost in the vastness of everything else.”


Six female artists search for Hong Kong’s disappearing history and memory  by Charlotte CHANG

Published on Art Radar Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond (30-10-2015)

Law Yuk Mui’s work The Yellow Portrait (2014), a black and white photograph featuring herself in a field of snow with an umbrella, is a “footnote” to the Occupy Movement in 2014. Late last year, Law travelled to Japan with her yellow umbrella to test out photographer Eikoh Hosoe’s idea that yellow produces a higher contrast than white in a monochrome world. She found in her experiment that yellow did not come out brighter; and in an unrelated misfortune, she lost 17 photos in the series when her film broke. These broken films and lost images are presented together with the portrait in which the yellow umbrella does not stand out, as if to suggest that failed attempts at something elusive could also be powerful symbols of resistance.

On Junk Bay, King Lam Est., The Plant (1990) is a mixed-media work about Junk Bay, the former name of the artist’s home Tseung Kwan O, and the plant life that thrives there. Although Junk Bay was reclaimed, plants – some even tropical species from overseas – have taken root around the old King Lam housing estate. By presenting real plant samples and cyanotypes of different species found on the estate, Law comments poetically and in a timely way on the increasingly threatened co-existence between humans and nature in a city where century-old trees could be cut down without warning.


Law Yuk Mui: Disabled Novel  by Frank VIGNERON

First published in PAROLES Mai / Juin 2011 Nº 228
原文刊於《東西譚》2011年5-6

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「羅玉梅很明顯屬於我們通常稱為〝觀念派〞的藝術家。她的碩士論文的主題,選擇的是仔細研究當代的造型藝術家如何既以書作為創造媒材又作為表現內容,創作了同一主題的系列作品。在她的論文裡,羅玉梅沒有停留在對當代造型藝術如何以書作為媒材進行創作的精采描述,她還清楚地闡明了自己的藝術實踐,為讀者提供了在當代藝術展覽中經常缺乏的一種東西:即造型藝術家所作的思考,她既為自己作品難以理解的視覺空間作了澄清,事實上亦為作品增加了一維輔助空間。」