Hong Kong from an Artist’s Perspective: an Interview with Trevor Yeung

by Donatella Taranto
March 9, 2016
Donatella Taranto
Yeung Trevor

On the occasion of the publishing of My Art Guide Hong Kong 2016 I had the chance to interview the Hong Kong based artist Trevor Yeung.

Yeung’s practice uses natural bodies and systems as a pretext for describing human processes and relations. He does not use phenomena from the natural world as metaphors in a romantic tradition, rather he projects emotional and intellectual scenarios on biological substitutes, which he manipulates and alters with a full acceptance of the artificiality of nature.

Donatella Taranto: You are based in HK and your works are metaphors that reference the emancipation of everyday aspirations toward human relationships, do you get inspiration from everyday life in the city?

Trevor Yeung: Yes, I do get inspired a lot in Hong Kong, yes, like everyday.
Hong Kong is small city, things run very fast. You can hear or experience so many things even you just sit in the park for 2 hours.

DT: Could you tell us a bit more about this artwork that we have chosen? What’s the concept behind it?

TY: The fishes in the tanks have different histories, origins and ways of arriving to Hong Kong. For the tank you choose is Scleropages formosus (Arowana), originating from South East Asia, is popular in China and Hong Kong as a feng shui fish. I don’t know where the fish in the tank comes from as it does not have a certificate and it was already abandoned and re-sold twice. In spite of this, it is still elegant and powerful. This fish has a story, and an individuality, like a human being.

The entire work is a metaphor of my own background, as I was born in China. Growing up in Hong Kong as a mainlander was the source of many insecurities. When I look at the fish in these tanks, they are in many ways similar to me. But they look at ease and comfortable with themselves in the fish tanks., not caring where they are from. I created the space in between the fishtanks as a space where I could also feel comfortable and safe, invisible and removed from the world but still able to observe it.

DT: How woul you describe the HK art scene? Do you think it’s stimulating for an artist to live there?

TY: It is like dim sum, small and crowded but you can find different types of food to eat. And they are steamy.
I think it depends on the artists themselves, If you are a vegetarian, maybe it is difficult to stimulate at you can’t not should half of the dim sum. (it is a metaphor.)

DT: Do you have a studio which is open to the public? Do you work by yourself or do you work with a team?

TY:I have a Studio and it is not open to the public. I normally work with myself, but I work close the carpenter, framer, print shop and plant shops.

DT: Could you tell us five places in HK you would suggest to someone who loves art?

TY: My favourite spots in the city are the Flower market, the Bird garden, the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, the Deep Bay (the bay opposite to Shenzhen) and Ap Liu street.

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