Old Things — New Life: Artists salute the era of “Repair”

Artspace K proudly presents “Old Things ─ New Life — Artists salute the era of “Repair” Exhibition from 6 March to 23 June 2024. In this exhibition, we have invited nine artists, On Tai (Tai Yau On), Lu Hsueh Yi, Chi Lien, Dwan An Guo, Romy Wu, Shan Luk, Chen Kuan An, Rocky Chan and Ryan Hui. They use different art forms to echo the theme of repair. We are delighted to present 86 pieces of artwork, through which artists jointly salute the era of “repair”.

Ms. K.C. Chen, Chairman of Artspace K said, in days long gone, people could not bear to part with old things which had been part of their lives ─ even when they are broken ─ choosing repair over discarding. Such nostalgia for cherishing the “old ”created the tradition of “repair “and, over time, evolved into a source of inspiration for artists. The “Old Things ─ New Life” exhibition is a trajectory of artist, life, and things. Artists infuse innovation and new life into things broken, transforming imperfections into beautiful works of art.

The curator of “Old Things ─ New Life — Artists salute the era of “Repair” Exhibition, Lee Yu Han said that the theme of exhibition “Repair” was chosen because in the past, repairing damaged or broken objects was done out of necessity for practical or emotional reasons. However, in modern times, it has become an inspiration for artists’ creations, and the technique of mending has become one of the ways they express their works. This time, we have invited nine artists to use different creative mediums, including ceramic repaired with gold, Juci, miniature art, leather sculpture, oil and watercolor paintings, to express their nostalgia for the era of repairs.

This exhibition begins with a collection of paintings which focus on the traditional repair industries in Hong Kong. Artists Chi Lien, Romy Wu and Rocky Chan showcase their artworks such as shoe repair, watch repair, umbrella repair and iron pot repair through oil and watercolor paintings. Through their works, they remind the public to cherish the disappearing traditional repair crafts.

Next, you will find the ceramic repair technique called “ceramic repaired with gold” in the exhibition, which is one of the traditional Chinese crafts of repairing pottery. The restoration process involves four steps: applying raw lacquer, black lacquer, colored lacquer and gold powder decoration. Artist Ryan Hui mainly specializes in ceramic art creation, with a focus on everyday ceramic utensils in his works. In this exhibition, he combines ceramic art with ceramic repaired with gold technique to express his feelings toward objects. His artworks mostly feature black and white, showcasing a pure artistic quality. The cracks depicted through ceramic repaired with gold technique carry emotions and stories within them.

In this exhibition, there is also a rare art form called “Leather sculpture.” Artists who specialize in leather sculpture utilize their hand muscles to delicately manipulate and shape the leather, creating three-dimensional figures and various accessories. The “sculpting” process is the most important step in the creation, involving pulling, kneading and shaping the slightly moistened leather by and, followed by drying the formed leather mold. Afterward, the artist proceeds to meticulously “carve and engrave” the details on the sculpted leather. Artist Dwan An Guo has devoted 30 years to the field of leather sculpture, expressing culture, emotions and human nature through leather sculpture. Dwan’s creations use “people” as the subject. He showcases works featuring old cobblers, watch-repairers, and more, capturing the natural texture of the human body. From facial expressions to posture and scenes, each detail appears vivid and lifelike, making it hard to believe they are made entirely of leather.

On the other hand, artist On Tai (Tai Yau On) uses “miniature art” to convey his message. His exhibited artworks, titled “Repair – Humanity, Sentiment, Taste,” primarily utilize cement as the main material and focus on a damaged wall as the creative theme. By combining “repair” with elements of human emotions, material sentiment and savoring taste, he aims to convey a deep meaning. Additionally, he hopes to engage the audience in contemplating how to creatively and imaginatively re-use and regenerate discarded materials, thereby creating a more beautiful and meaningful life experience. Ultimately, these transformed materials are elevated into beautiful works of art.

Lastly, there is the “Juci” creation in this exhibition , which is also a traditional Chinese porcelain repair technique. It is commonly used to repair tableware, utilizing three main methods: flat riveting, inlaying and brim molding. Several artists in the exhibition incorporate the Juci technique into their artistic creations.

Date: 6 March – 23 June 2024
Opening and Media Preview: 5 March 2024 (Tuesday) 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Venue: Artspace K, G105 – 106, The Repulse Bay Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Road, Hong Kong
Artists: On Tai (Tai Yau On), Lu Hsueh Yi, Chi Lien, Dwan An Guo, Romy Wu, Shan Luk, Chen Kuan An, Rocky Chan and Ryan Hui