people of the cloth
Once, quite long ago, before the centres of the clothing industy had moved to Bangladesh and China, Hong Kong was the world’s power player. Though that period has now passed, there are remnants and memories still remaining. The Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT) is a non-profit art centre dedicated to excavating those buried stories about Hong Kong’s textile and fashion industry, using fabrics and clothing to trigger memories and connecting past and present through texture and design. CHAT is scheduled to open only in Spring 2019 as part of The Mills heritage conservation project – that will breathe new life into abandoned cotton-spinning factories – but has a little preview of what’s in store with its (In)tangible Reminiscence spring exhibition, just in time for Hong Kong Art Month 2018.
To be held from 24 March to 22 April, 2018 at The Annex, Central, Hong Kong, (In)tangible Reminiscence features newly commissioned works by three prominent artists – Iwasaki Takahiro, Jung Yeondoo and Sarah Lai. “Although these three artists’ artistic methodologies and approaches are utterly different, they have a common thread in recalling individual and collective reminiscence through their artworks,” says Takahashi Mizuki, co-director of CHAT and curator of the show. “They observe the detail of things and places, and give texture to invisible memories.”
Though Mizuki has yet to see the finished works, since they are still in production, Mizuki walks us through the exhibition in written word.
“This exhibition is not about Hong Kong’s textile industry, rather how Hong Kong’s textile and fashion industry related to individual and collective memory. When visitors enter the gallery, they will encounter a large sculptural installation made with cotton products by Japan’s Iwasaki Takahiro. Iwasaki represents the dynamic transformation of modern Hong Kong, and the landscape portrayed in turn stands for the change from a primarily textile- and industrial-based city to a finance hub, which have both served to shape Hong Kong’s prosperity.”
“In the next space, there is a stage set-like, large scale installation by Sarah Lai. Lai’s spatial installation is inspired by her memory of Japanese department stores in Hong Kong of the 90s – representing a new luxury and luxurious lifestyle experience then. Then finally, Jung Yeondoo’s installation is displayed across two large screens, one narrating the memories of an elderly lady who migrated from Shanghai to Hong Kong in the 50s and worked in textile factory for decades, and now lives in Tsuen Wan. The other shows four young Hong Kong girls who are at the same age as the elderly lady when she migrated to Hong Kong, who are interviewed about their everyday life, their joys, and their problems living in Hong Kong today – two distinctly difference generations divided by time.”
(In)tangible Reminiscence will run from March 24 – April 22, 2018 at The Annex, 2F Nan Fung Place, 173 Dex Voeux Road C, Central, Hong Kong. Exhibition times are 11am-7pm.