Elpis CHOW: Ambiguous Spaces 周紫羚《無名場域》
Elpis CHOW 周紫羚
25 November – 22 December, 2023
Opening on 25 November 2023 and running through 22 December 2023, "Ambiguous Spaces’ features 14 new works by local artist Elpis Chow. Using painting as her chief medium of creation, Chow is an adept observer of urban spaces and corners who reconstructs regular lines and colours in architecture, representing another real space on the pictorial surface. Chow’s works depict the odd sides of Hong Kong cityscape, sites frequented yet very often neglected, such as street corners, buildings, corridors in housing estates and ramps, evoking a visual contrast that is at once familiar and strange.
In the scenes depicted in the new works can be found real or fictitious creatures, forming a collection of the artist’s favourite species and in a certain sense, her personal bestiary of imaginary beings. Circumventing real life circumstances that do not allow the satisfaction of her desire to collect, Chow selects interesting elements from her biological image database made up of animal documentaries, daily snapshots, internet images, etc., collaging them onto imagined scenes with a computer software. After transferring the black and white sketches onto the canvas, Chow then fills them with vivid colours. Chiaroscuro is represented by layers of different shades of the same colour scheme, dark outlines and neat composition all point to a flatness that belongs to illustration, with a hint of the Pop Art or the Superflat aesthetics. In addition to juxtaposing specific creatures and sites, the new works demonstrate a continued colour experiment, bringing the fantastic images towards a realm bordering on the surreal, reminding us once again of the fictional nature of the works.
In Alien Dada, the black and white patterned Dada (a character from Ultraman) stands in front of a greyish white building, mirroring one another with a dash of sky blue in each. Featuring an aquarium, Aquarium – 1，Aquarium – 2 and Aquarium – 3 are rendered in a predominantly bluish tone, where shades of blue create a visual effect of glowing windows, punctuated by accents of red, yellow and white. In the centre of one painting a girl stands in front of the window, her blue and white plaid dress echoing the pattern of the fish behind. The triptych-like composition presents the same horizontal perspective, a panorama extending the boundaries that abruptly cut off the window panes. At first glance, the marine life behind the windows swims freely across paintings, and the viewer has the illusion of being inside the aquarium and establishes a spatial concept. However, upon closer inspection, it is yet another illusion: While the three paintings appear to be part of a larger picture, they are not connected. What is represented here are just visual fragments of an unknown spectator. Seen against the figure of the girl who may be the artist herself, standing with her back to us gazing at the aquatic species behind the window, the implied double gaze renders the image even more ambiguous and fascinating.