Tobe KAN: Liminal Interval 《暮醒朦朧》
Tobe KAN 簡喬倩
10 June - 8 July, 2023
Tobe Kan’s solo exhibition ‘Liminal Interval’ explores the concept of liminality: The state of in-betweenness and of transitioning from one state to another, while also emphasising the displacement of time. Inspired by the liminal moments of dawn and dusk, the exhibition features paintings and installations that capture the elusive and intangible qualities of transition and transformation. By blurring the boundaries between different times of day in her works, Kan creates a sense of liminality, where the viewer is suspended in a space that is neither fully day nor fully night.
In relation to the idea of boundaries, the works in the exhibition investigate the interdependence of living things and the impermanence of all states of being, emphasising the interconnectedness of all things. Drawing inspiration from her personal experiences and observations of the world, the artist scrutinises the present moment through the depiction of living plants. Intricate and delicate lines reflect her intuitive response to the world around her and create a sense of movement and fluidity that is both dynamic and thought-provoking.
The recurring motif of certain plant species throughout the exhibition evokes a sense of deja vu, a feeling familiar to our everyday experience in Hong Kong. These plant species are common to the city, and their repeated presence serves as a reflection of the significance of personal associations and memories that these experiences create, as well as the interdependence of living organisms.
A large painting titled How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? depicts Agavaceae plants such as Ti plants, known for their relatively short lifespan. The ideas of impermanence and the transient nature of life are closely related to the theme of liminality. The painting serves as a powerful statement on the transience of life and the importance of cherishing the present moment.
Also featured in this exhibition are two paintings of flamingos in Kowloon Park. Thecomposition intentionally creates a sense of distance between the viewer and the flamingos, echoing the artist's own experience observing the birds from afar. The presence of the invisible fences in the paintings alludes to the ambiguous relationship between inside and outside, a sense of confinement and restriction that many people have experienced during the pandemic.
In the ongoing series ‘A Void’, the original images of the paintings are generated by Artificial Intelligence. The artist crops certain parts of the images and transforms the images of plants into surreal and dreamlike blue-shaded forms. The resulting plant forms seem to be in a state of metamorphosis or mutation, evoking an uncanny feeling of a displacement of time and the intangible qualities of liminality.
The ‘A Rest’ series depict plants found in parks, where people sought solace andconnection with nature during a time of uncertainty and isolation. The ‘Amble’ series, on the other hand, features plants found in places near the artist's studio and home. These series reflect the artist's interest in exploring the liminal spaces that exist within everyday life, between waking and dreaming, the conscious and the subconscious. Blurring the boundaries between dream and reality and between different times of day, the exhibition’s surreal and contemplative atmosphere encourages us to reflect on our own liminal experiences and emotions, to contemplate the liminal spaces that exist within us and around us, and the potential for growth and transformation that they offer.