Living Space

Medium: Mixed Media Collage
Materials: Photo paper, Marker, Plastic, Glass
Size: 50 x 50 cm, Framed
Mar, 2017

Hong Kong has been my home for all of my life. Like any other Hongkonger, I grew up in a small flat that is no bigger than half of a 20 by 44 feet badminton court. When four people are squeezed in a cubicle filled with furniture, electrical appliances and household objects, living space becomes limited and crowded.

In my work, I would like to illustrate the congested living space in Hong Kong through using mixed mediums, which are marker drawing and paper collages. The composition and design of my work are based on a blueprint of a flat in Wah Fu Estate.

Wah Fu Estate is a public housing estate in Hong Kong. It has been homes for more than 15,000 low-income Hong Kong families since the 1960s. The size of each flat ranges from 283 to 365 ft². Since family size in Hong Kong was big, a lot of children grew up by crowding themselves in small living area, without a proper room or space. They even had to do their homework next to the stove, on the floor, or in playgrounds because spaces were occupied by their family members, and piles of objects inside their house. Although living space in Wah Fu Estate was insufficient, it was considered as one of the best places that represented Hong Kong by many Hongkonger. By reason of having these collective memories and common problems in the life of every Hongkonger.

I adopted one of the blueprints of Wah Fu Estates into my design and squeezed paper cutouts of found objects in Hong Kong into the blueprint by placing them tightly into the composition.  Paper cutting to me is a way of creating lines and shapes. It is a style of drawing without the use of traditional drawing instruments like pencils and charcoal to create marks on surfaces. I took pictures of different found objects in Hong Kong, and created new imageries by cutting out selective negative space with my cutting tool. I cut out components of the objects, but retained outlines that were essential to the objects. Through cutting out segments of the found objects, I would like to offer a different interpretation on how to read these commodities and show viewers how I re-imagined them in a local perspective. I see telephones, dim sum and Hong Kong styled water bottles almost every day in my life. To myself, these objects do not need to be complete in order to recognize them. Negative spaces inside the objects offer rooms for imagination to viewers, and allow them use their creativity to presume both their own interpretation and the original appearances of the objects.

Through cutting out segments of local found objects, and arranging them in a limited space, I am hoping to create an illustration which depicts the tight living condition in Hong Kong, so that viewers could get to know more about the underlying problem in this developed and civilized city. My goal of the art-making in this piece is however not limited the ideas that I wish to convey, but also a story that viewers understand in their own interpretation.


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