In my youth, I envisioned the kind of paintings that I would like to have in my future home. My home, firstly, would have been very simple and clean, much like the Japanese architecture of Tadao Ando, and the artwork highly sophisticated and minimal. That would have been my idealized text-book or architectural magazine’s version. However in my own investigation working and painting in the real, I have been found my work to be otherwise (and also my dream home has been relegated to a small box in the throngs of Hong Kong’s densely populated district of North Point). My work has evolved so differently from what I have expected from myself, and therein lies the surprise.
My mental state during the recent years has been influenced highly by my own interest in both spirituality and quantum physics, and where the two intertwine admirably, but meanwhile trying to keep abreast of what is happening in the art world and the art scene. Admittedly, I am not very impressed by much of what I see in Art Basel Hong Kong. At first glance, there appears to be something, but when meandering through the aisles, I tire and something is lost in the translation. The art there is for the corporates, the museums and the collectors. ‘Where is the heart? Where is the soul in the art?’, I ask myself. It’s nowhere to be found. Not, at least in the white space. My friend and assistant Max whispers to me ‘Your work is better’. I smile to myself indifferently.
But it’s not fair to the artists whose work is shown. The fair is business. It is dry. It is about curators; it is about collectors. Oh look! Kate Moss! The spirit of art is not there, at least not at the exhibits. So where is it then?
Several months ago, Richard Prince held at exhibition at Gagosian Gallery, where he appropriated numerous images from Instagram, wrote a clever comment and printed them out to the sale of US$90,000 per print. As I have mentioned in my own comments about this exhibition, the show is about context, not content. One didn’t need to look at the ‘artwork’, since it was of no consequence. It is filler. So was he acting more like a curator? Ah…maybe we can give him more credit. Regardless, the spirit of art, which is what this post is about, is lost.
I myself have always believed that the spirit of art must survive. It must transcend the ordinary senses and remind us that our preconditioned senses have another place in which it may turn to. For the creative filmmaker, the film allows us to enter into that world with sight and sound. Artist creating art for the mere sake of shocking, or to require that we mentally stress or force ourselves into understanding the medium has digressed to serving the ego, where spirit does not reside.