Gallery EXIT presents Needs, the first solo exhibition of Hong Kong-based artist Tang Kwok Hin, curated by Ying Kwok. The exhibition continues Tang’s usual practice in reflecting social values embedded in the quotidian commodity. Tang utilizes and combines various ready-made items and found images together to create constellations of art objects. By doing so, Tang provides new meanings to the seemingly meaningless, mundane and trivial commodities, prompting the viewer to re-interpret commodity from another angle.
Consumerism thoroughly permeates our daily existence. Every single item is perceived as a commodity and incessantly dominated by its exchange value. As such, beginning from the most rudimentary point, the artist explores the basic essence of life. An overview of Tang’s works in the past few years is presented in this exhibition, highlighting his continual occupation with the ready-made. Through appropriating these rather insignificant prosaic fragments, Tang expresses his sensuous response and inspiration according to his personal encounters and daily vision. Not only evoke individual life experiences, Tang’s art pieces also aspire to trigger spectators’ curiosity and foster their imagination regardless of the overwhelming consumer culture.
Tang constantly employs collage as his artistic style. During the process, he combines numerous distinctive pre-existing images and objects to create work, which gives the impression of déjà vu and draw visitors to contemplate. Besides retaining the original social contexts, the combination of diverse related and unrelated symbols can generate a new way of interpretation and understanding. Accordingly, the collage of the ready-made can reveal and re-present the originally hidden and neglected social messages, as well as establish the new narratives.
The English title is not a literal translation from the Chinese title, department store (百貨 ). The dissimilitude between ‘Needs’ and ‘Department Store’ questions human desire and encourage viewers to create their own perspectives so as to enrich the layers of the exhibition.