Hanison Lau Hok-shing
約翰百德 (John BATTEN)
at 10:40am on 19th December 2013
Hanison Lau Hok-shing, Uncertainty Principle 1, Glass plates, wood, butterfly wing, 2013, 40 x 200 x 200 cm.
(原文以英文發表，評論《測不準定理 - 劉學成作品展》。)
I first encountered Hanison Lau’s work when he was a student at RMIT University’s fine arts course at the Hong Kong Art School. His early works were, and continue to be, sculptural and he often unites natural objects together with his own reworked or fabricated additions. For example, he found gnarled driftwood on which he had attached impressions of mushrooms or Chinese fungus cast in clear plastic. This combination of objects, despite their incongruity, was oddly pleasing to the eye.
Lau, after completing his undergraduate studies, also completed a Master’s in fine arts. His extensive studies have exposed him to a range of art, different methodologies and media. His maturity and an interest in traditional Chinese art and literature have expanded his artwork along different and complimentary trajectories.
Traditional Chinese landscape is a continuing path of enquiry for Lau. Recently, he has been building small sculptural landscapes using oyster shells and architectural modeling material as a quirky traditional landscape of mountains and jagged trees. These are often displayed in old medical or display cabinets as if such landscapes are endangered – which they are.
The Uncertainty Principle is exhibited in one of Hong Kong’s smallest, but most supportive galleries of Hong Kong artists. Lau has constructed a range of small object sculptures utilising found and carefully carved wooden parts and positioned in the gallery as an entire installation. The artist explains that these pieces have no particular meaning; they are simply there to be “ruminated” on. Each work is obscure, titles are unhelpful as each piece is named an “uncertainty principle.”
The exhibition tells us ‘to relax, just look, there is “no particular concept”.‘ It is the form of each work that intrigues. Two glass plates press tight around a piece of turned wood whose side has sprouted a single, and delicately beautiful, butterfly wing (see above). Open books have a strange wooden ‘plug’ that fit precisely in the space between the two sides of the books’ open pages, held together by a fragile rubber band. And a series of frames hold postcards of different mountain scenes, their only relationship being the ‘horizon line’ aligned together, formed by the join of two pieces of glass in each frame.
There is little narrative or plausible meaning in any of this work- it is that that makes the exhibition so refreshing.
'Uncertainty Principle’ @ The A.lift Gallery
A version of this review was published in the South China Morning Post on 2 December 2013.