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Text by Clara Wong

‘A Voice In the Rupture’ installation view (1)
Negative Space is pleased to present the solo presentation of co-founder CHAN Ting curated by curator Clara Wong at Paris Internationale 2022. CHAN Ting reflects on her interdisciplinary practice and in particular, explores her relationship with photography. Experimenting with images and researching transgenerational trauma have been integral to her creative process.

CHAN Ting considers images as a form that is constantly developing and evolving, which allows possibilities to thrive on uncertainties and a state of undefined. In this show, She is embodying a rupture, a deviant to defy the heredity of transgenerational trauma. The works are the process of discovering, exploring, understanding and healing. Nothing is yet to be concluded nor will it ever be.

In this series of works, she intentionally used materials and tools that are commonly found in hardware stores and on the streets in Hong Kong. The ‘canvases’ were items collected from the streets, suitcases, food trays, and wood boards in various conditions but they all have one thing in common, they were discarded, forgotten, and abandoned. Reaching for plaster, clay and dirt, she smeared and piled them onto the surface, gloomed over the ghostly figures and unidentified strangers. Instead of letting the texture grow and spread like a disease, she picked up her drill and hammer, smashing it, cracking it and tearing it down on repeat, mirroring her struggle between forgetting and remembering. By repurposing materials and objects considered filthy and tarnished, she uncannily reflects on her journey of digging into the inconvenient truth of the past.

The images and visuals used in this installation were also collected by the artist. CHAN Ting first encountered these photographs when she was scanning boxes of films for a collector. These films documented the daily lives of some Hong Kong families in the 60s and 70s. If photograph supposedly lends itself to others’ convenience, the artist was borrowing these visuals to explore her relationship with her identities, sexualities and society at large. She featured obscure images with unidentified people and took interest in the stories behind these photos and the vacuum of untraceable stories. Through the process of constructing and disrupting, she found these pauses and chasms to re-narrate her stories and experiences. She expanded the space in between, not only filling the gaps and absences in the past with her imagination but disrupting the linear and patriarchal storytelling in our society, manifesting how one thrives in care and patience. She has transformed those agonizing moments and internal turmoil through her works and gradually gained the relief she longed for.

‘A Voice In the Rupture’ installation view (2)

‘A Voice In the Rupture’ installation view (3)

‘A Voice In the Rupture’ installation view (4)

D̀ī́sc̈́ä́r̂de̛͋d Aḃ̛ǘ̕ṅ̏da̅n̛̈́ĉè̛

Discarded wood panel, fragments of dried plaster paste, silver foil, household dust,
garden soil, powder pigment, plaster, spray paint, carbon powder
3 panels
58 x 77 x 2.9 cm

t҈̡̳͈̬̥̮̿̊͡ḛ̸̛̩̘̲̘͐͗͗̒̐͜m̵̨͎̮̍̉̕̚p̵̧͖̠̥̯͉̏̃͊͗̚͞o҉̡̗͎͐͐͗͠r̷̡͈̣̅̅͠a̸̧̖̯̒͒͡r̶̡̛͈̤̙̱̓̽̇͒͌y̷̨̳̦̲̪̌͋͋́͐͝ͅ t̵̨͍͈̥̟̃̔͡r҈̧̖̩͎͎̰̓̋́̄͞a҉̢̛͇̬͙̍̌̀́͋n̷̦̣͈͌̓̂̐̕͜ṡ̵̫͓̀͐̇̕͢i̴̡̞͉͇̣͋̂͛̕̚̚t̷̢̪͕͖҇̏̿͆͒i҉̡͇͙̀̊͡ǫ̷̩̯͍̥̳͋̔͞n҈̧͉̤̆͐̉́̑͠s̶̢͉̦͙̰̔͆̚͞ͅ

Loop HD video, colour, stereo sound

Her coping mechanism is incorporating the banal and mundane fragments in her daily life to counteract the overshadowing trauma as a Hong Konger. These trivial moments rebel against the domination of pretence and denial. The fragmented experiences are encapsulated by the track composed and arranged by the artist, compiling sounds and noises collected in Hong Kong. Layered and overlapped with random urban sounds, the track included sounds in public spaces, announcements, pedestrian crossing sounds, eavesdropping on passers-by conversations, and awkward encounters at social events. Then intersected with domestic sounds, like cleaning, rubbing, showering, mouse-clicking, and noises from electrical appliances. Clinging onto these fleeting moments and interactions, we are allowing ourselves to trespass and interrupt the grand narrative that society imposed on us. The artist amplified these insignificant seconds and minutes to contextualize the experience as urban dwellers, wandering and getting lost. These detours are creating spaces for the interpretation and repair of collective trauma and the tear in the social fabric.

For this solo presentation, CHAN Ting has peeled herself off to reveal the deeply personal and aching experience that she and her family struggled and battled with for many years. Buried and repressed in her paternal family history, there has always been a gap that forbids her to comprehend her own emotions, her relationships with others and the world. The taboo around mental issues has crept in and haunted her family for generations. Experiencing a repressive upbringing and the aftermath of family trauma, she decided it was her calling to break the vicious cycle and make this past into something that could bring hope and reconciliation.

With A Voice In The Rupture, CHAN Ting highlighted distance opens up spaces for possibilities and exploration of oneself. By maintaining distances, she has allowed herself to be observant, ruthlessly dissecting her discomfort and insecurities to untangle the complexities that shaped her and her relationships with others and society. Such vulnerability inevitably unfolded mess and chaos, yet she embraced them and laid herself bare in this showcase, extending an individual’s trauma to the collective trauma of a city. From all the cracks and rifts in the show, you might find yourself confronting your wounds and pain, we genuinely hope you will gently submerge yourself in uncertainties and the unknown. May you get your antidote.
Ģ̷͍̩҇́͒e҈̳͇̭҇̿̃͢o҉̧̭̆͂̕r̶̡̜͓̙͛̽̿̕g̴̲͚̮̽̕͢ȇ̸̟̬͂͜͞ c҈̢̩͐͗̈͡h҉̛̱̫̆͜ee̸̢̠̜͛͠s҈̢̮̣̓͡ỷ̶̢̰̯͖͞ r̵̡̘҇́é̷̢͈͠m̴̛͍̙̱̂͢i҉̧͖̤́͋͞x҈̡̣̾͝

discarded serving tray, filler, plaster, foil gold,
carbon powder, colour pastel, fluorescence spray paint
56 x 36 x4.5 cm

Private collection

Ńo͋th̃i̛͑n̿̽g̛̈’̛̌s̎ g̛̊̀òňn̋a͂ c͂ḧa͑n̐g̈e͐ h̅e̒r̿͐lo͂v̿̊e̾ fó͛̀ṙ́t̅o̎ḿa̋tȍp̿̅o̎tȃ̛to̎ s̾o̿̕up͌

Discarded wood panel, filler, plaster, household dust,
oil pastel, pigment, carbon powder, foil gold, spray paint
112 x 62 x 3.5 cm

Private collection

© ChanTing 2022.