Artists: Dony Cheng Hung, Chloë Cheuk, Michele Chu, Jess Lau Ching Wa, Sharon Lee, Eason Tsang Ka Wai, Yim Sui Fong
Curator: Erin Li
We are living in such delicate times that merely going about on the street could bring tears to our eyes. Perhaps this came right after a video call with loved ones on the other side of the globe whom for two years you had not seen. Or perhaps you heard how a favourite bookstore or gym would soon be closing down. Maybe your brother, out of the blue, told you of his plans to emigrate. Or maybe glimpses of some breaking news headline caught your eye while on the subway.
The exhibition emo gym calls on seven Hong Kong artists to confront, dissect, and possibly embrace the vulnerability of our times, especially vulnerability related to digitalisation of human experiences, intimate relationships, and social institutions. Together, the artworks raise important questions: does vulnerability constitute a fundamental state of human existence, and of the world we live in? Risky as it may be, would exposing and sharing nuanced senses of vulnerability catalyse a new world where we better co-exist with other emotional beings? Indeed, the artists and the artworks in emo gym seek to open up a space for reflective observations and to generate affective structures, prompting visitors to uncover sentiments by attempting refreshing connections with the artworks as well as with each other.
This seemingly paradoxical openness to vulnerability is also reflected in the title of the exhibition. Short for “emotion gymnasium”, emo gym was inspired by one of the featured artworks by Michele Chu, inti-gym, short for “intimacy gymnasium”. Unlike the gyms where mainstream aesthetics and standard theories of “body management” apply, in emo gym, there is no one clamouring at you to work out this way or that; there are no set recipes for “emotion management”. Moreover, the “emo” of emo gym might bring to mind the sensitive angst in certain punk and rock subcultures, with their distinctive look and airs. While emo gym does not directly invoke the “emo” genre of music, the exhibition does take inspiration from the captivating energy and transformative potential of music in general. Rather than eliciting intellectual revelations on the one hand or inducing spectacular awe on the other, the artworks on show are subtle and sincere creations close to the hearts of the artists, inviting you to pause, take a breath, look closely—and open yourself up in return.
"emo gym" Exhibition