Congratulations to Tsang Kin-wah who is to represent Hong Kong at the 56th Venice Biennale next year!
The multi-media artist was selected by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and M+, Hong Kong’s yet-to-be-completed museum for visual culture, which has also appointed chief curator of M+, Doryun Chong, and Stella Fong, as the pavilion’s curators.
Tsang’s immersive installations, videos, sound works, and wallpaper often feature text that marry digital technology with the influence of 19th century Arts and Craft movement artist William Morris. Taken in from afar, the patterns call to mind Morris’ lovely repetitive floral print wallpaper, but look a little closer and they reveal a litany of profanities that would make Sid Vicious wince. Swirling patterns of sentences and words wind their way across walls, floors, and ceilings, taking over the entire space to create an atmosphere charged with tension. Exploring sex, religion, politics and the occasional dictator, this outpouring of obscenities throbs with existential angst and taps into social and cultural malaise. Tsang is, as Lars Nittve, the executive director of M+, put it in a statement, a Hong Kong artist “who has developed a mature artistic language that at once is deeply personal and has the capacity to communicate universally. His work wonderfully represents the quickly maturing contemporary art scene of Hong Kong.”
Recent shows include a solo exhibition at Hong Kong’s Pearl Lam Gallery in 2012; an installation for Hong Kong’s Mobile M+‘s second public exhibition of Hong Kong artists, Mobile M+: Yau Ma Tei, in 2012; an exhibition at Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum in 2011; and a show at the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester.
While all the Venice Biennale selections haven’t yet been announced, I’m very excited to hear that next year’s exhibition will also include Sarah Lucas, who will represent Britain; Danh Vo, for Denmark; Chiharu Shiota, who will represent Japan; Herman De Vries, for the Netherlands; and Pamela Rosenkrantz for Switzerland.
Just when I thought I’d had my fill of the Venice Biennale, it looks like I had better start booking another trip.
Check out some of Tsang’s work below: