Video installation with a glass on xuan paper, with simulated daylight conditions at water sources around the world
The artist Liang Quan is admirable for his lifetime quest for a style that bridges traditional and contemporary languages. His nuanced treatment of the surface of painting, with paper on paper, is at the same time exquisite and subtle. I see his distinctive use of tea as a record of an everyday practice. On paper, tea is a mark of time. Over conversations at his home, near a reservoir by the mountain, water on paper emerged as an intuitive medium.
Around that time I started to frequent a supermarket in Kowloon Tong. There was an aisle full of water originating from different sources. The transparent bottles, lined up neatly on the shelves, looked like a thought-provoking installation. Do we really need water from around the world? When and how does water, not even manufactured, turn into a commodity? In the future, water could possibly be more expensive than oil.
These telling bottles show in water-like clarity the politics of extraction and consumption. I purchased a collection, and simulated the daylight conditions at each of their springs of origin, on the exact date when the water was sourced. As if distilling everything to its purist form, what the water holds crystallises in a sundial of light and shadow, radiating from a glass placed on a sheet of xuan paper. At some point, the conversation over tea becomes a vessel, and takes in a refraction of our world.
2013 Osage Gallery, Hong Kong
2013 Espace Louis Vuitton, Hong Kong
2015 Ink Asia, Hong Kong
2016 Comix Home Base, Wanchai, Hong Kong
2016 Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
2017 Foundation Nairs, Scoul, Switzerland