Sculpture: Girl with Paper Boats by W. W. Hung

The Girl with Paper Boats (La Fille et ses Bateaux en Papier) is a cast resin sculpture by Hong Kong-born Canadian artist W. W. Hung. I am starting a new series of very short videos (less than two minutes), and I discuss the sculpture in the following video (the article is basically the video script).

Girl with Paper Boats

The sculpture is a kind of commentary on the plight of refugees. The girl in the sculpture represents those who are displaced by conflict. She carries a tattered stuffed animal toy in one hand, and with the other hand, she drags three large paper boats behind her.

Girl with Paper Boats by W. W. Hung

These three boats represent different kinds of losses that refugee children may carry with them as they try to forge ahead with a new life. These are: a loss of family, a loss of dreams and a loss of childhood.

Detail view
Detail view of the boats

In the artist’s statement on his website W. W. Hung states:

I use the human body, placed in abstract spatial contexts, to suggest different narratives and psychological states. Many of my sculptural works explore the themes of mortality, determinism (fate), free will, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

wwhung.com

In this sculpture, the stern expression on the girl’s face does reflect a certain amount of tenacity in the face of hardship.

Girl with Paper Boats by W. W. Hung

The girl in the sculpture is based on the character of Danica in Canadian author Guy Gavriel Kay’s historical fantasy novel Children of Earth and Sky. The fictional world of the novel is loosely based on the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans during the Renaissance, and Danica is a former refugee turned pirate.

The sculpture, which is presented Canadian Heritage Canada, is located in Montcalm-Taché Park in Gatineau, Quebec and is part of the Gatineau Culture Trail.

Sculpture; Girl with Paper Boats by W. W. Hung (detail view)

Mini-bio: W. W. Hung was born in Hong Kong. He studied architecture at the University of Waterloo before moving to New York, where hes worked with design firms. He now lives in Toronto.


Go Further

This section includes discussion questions, an art challenge and links to online photo galleries and websites.

Photo Galleries

The photos are available in higher resolution (2048 x 1365) at:

Websites

Three Questions

  1. How well do you think the sculpture evokes the psychological hardships of being a refugee?
  2. The entire sculpture is white. Why do you think the artist may have chosen to create the artwork in this way? For example, you can consider how the choice affects what you focus on when you view the sculpture, and you can consider what qualities and feelings this all-white sculpture evokes.
  3. In the sculpture, the paper boats serve as a kind of metaphor for psychological burdens (the loss of innocence, the loss of family and the loss of dreams). Instead or boats, can you think of another visual metaphor for these three losses.

Art Challenge

Create an artwork expressing the plight of being a refugee.


~text, video and photos by longzijun

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Installation by Korakrit Arunanondchai

Here is a video showing an installation by Thai artist Korakrit Arunanondchai at Hong Kong’s K11 MUSEA.

The installation is entitled Painting with History in a Room Filled with People with Funny Names 3. It features a denim-patterned floor, a 20-minute video several painted and costumed mannequins and several large denim canvases featuring abstract shapes in vivid primary colors.

Installation art by Korakrit Arunanondchai: Painting with History in a Room Filled with People with Funny Names 3 (K11 Musea, Hong Kong)

Painting with History in a Room Filled with People with Funny Names 3

The artist blends themes of religion and pop culture and elements of autobiography and fiction to create a dream-like space that evokes different times and different states of reality.

Installation art by Korakrit Arunanondchai: One of the mannequins
Detail view

For example some the mannequins sport Manchester United paraphernalia. In one scene in the the video component of the installation, the dedication of many Thai people to Manchester United is presented as being akin to religious devotion.

One of the mannequins (wearing shredded Manchester United gear)
One of the mannequins (wearing Manchester United gear)
One of the mannequins (wearing Manchester United gear)

This artwork on the canvases was inspired by a controversial dance and body paint performance that the artist saw on Thailand’s Got Talent.

One of the mannequins
One of the mannequins (detail view)

The denim-patterned floor represents a giant painting made to be seen from the point of view of a drone or a spirit looking downwards.

Installation art by Korakrit Arunanondchai: Painting with History in a Room Filled with People with Funny Names 3 (K11 MUSEA, Hong Kong)

The gallery showcasing the colorful multimedia exhibit was tucked away at the end of a long tunnel leading to a car park and required a small entrance fee, so no one else was there. That gave me plenty of time to soak up the visuals and music.

One of the mannequins (detail view)
Installation art by Korakrit Arunanondchai
One of the mannequins (detail view)

The Video within Korakrit Arunanondchai’s Installation

The video part of the installation serves a dialogue between the artist and a spirit—called Chantri—which embodies the communication between artist and audience. Chantri is voiced in French by the artist’s mother, You can see excerpts of the video here:

Mini-bio: Korakrit Arunanondchai was born in Thailand in 1986. He pursued his university studies in America, where studied in America (Thai, b. 1986), studying fine arts at the Rhode Island School of Design and Columbia University in 2012. Since graduating he has been displaying his multimedia installation works around the world (including at the Venice Biennale).


Go Further

This section includes discussion questions, an art challenge and links to online photo galleries.

Photo Galleries

You can view the entire collection of 51 photos:

Three Questions

  1. Why do you think the artist focused on denim as a material?
  2. What impression does the use of bright primary color give you?
  3. Do you think pop culture is taking over some aspects of religion? If so, in what ways?

Art Challenge

Find a Barbie, Ken, GI Joe or similar kind of doll (If you have a lot of resources, you can use a mannequin!). Paint it and dress is in a costume that expresses your some aspect of your culture and/or beliefs.


~text and photos by

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New Artwork by Kohei Nawa

Japanese artist Kohei Nawa displayed several new works at Hong Kong’s Pace Gallery.

PixCell Fallow Deer: mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)

Kohei Nawa’s: PixCell Series

The mixed-media sculptures in Kohei Nawa’s PixCell series explore one of the artists common themes—the relationship between nature and artificiality.

PixCell Fallow Deer: mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)

This sculpture of a deer—PixCell Fallow Deer—was created by covering a real taxidermied deer with transparent glass spheres. Viewed from a distance and brightly lit, the spheres on the surface give off a bright, radiant glow, giving the deer the otherworldly feel of a sci-fi crystalline animal (think of the crystal foxes of the Star Wars universe or a hybrid creature from the movie Annihilation).

PixCell Fallow Deer (detail view)

If you get a little closer to the sculpture, the animal within starts to become visible, but its shape and colors are distorted by multiple spheres of varied sizes.

Up close, the spheres act like magnifying glasses, allowing you to see fine details such as individual strands of hair.

PixCell Fallow Deer (detail view)

To create these sculptures, the artist searches online for taxidermied animals being sold or auctioned off.

PixCell Fallow Deer

The word ‘PixCell’ is a portmanteau created by the artist from the words ‘pixel’ (the smallest unit of a digital image) and ‘cell’ (the smallest unit of a life-form).

The exhibition also included a double-headed deer (mounted on the wall like a bizarre hunting trophy) and a rabbit.

PixCell Rabbit: mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)
PixCell Rabbit
PixCell Double Deer: mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)
PixCell Double Deer (detail view)

Kohei Nawa’s Throne Series

Also included in the exhibition are three sculptures in the artist’s Throne series. These elaborate sculptures deal with the artist’s concerns about humanity blindly following advancements in computing, science and artificial intelligence. The thrones represent a power that entices us to claim it while at same time threatening to overwhelm us.

Three sculptures in Kohei Nawa’s Throne series

The golden sculpture in the middle is based on traditional designs found in portable shrines and festival parade floats. This throne is unoccupied

Throne (g/p_Pyramid): mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)

In the middle of the sculpture, there are two metallic spheres, one facing the front and one facing the back. These represent the eyes of the world, with one looking toward the future and the other looking back on the past.

This sculpture is a smaller version of one that was displayed in the glass pyramid at the Louvre. The color is partly inspired by the gold-leaf trim of the museum.

In each of the other two sculptures, the throne is occupied by a tiny childlike figure in what looks to be a spacesuit.

If advanced technology is a throne, does humanity sit on the throne or it subsumed within in? Will we control technology or will it control us?

Throne (p/g_boy): mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)
Throne (p/g_boy) (detail view)
Throne (p/g_boy) (view from the side)
Throne (SiCp_boy) (detail view)
Throne (SiCp_boy) (detail view)

Kohei Nawa’s Elements Series

The exhibition also featured nine paintings in Kohei Nawa’s Elements series. These are silkscreen and acrylic works that have dark patterns on even darker backgrounds. They give off a sense of mystery and the unknown as ambiguous, amorphous shapes emerge from and recede back into the darkness.

Element-Black#8: silkscreen on paper, acrylic, wooden panel,by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)
Element-Black#7: silkscreen on paper, acrylic, wooden panel by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)

Mini-bio: Kohei Nawa is a multi-disciplinary artist. Besides producing mixed media works, he also sculpts, paints, produces robot-controlled paintings and collaborates with fashion designers, theater groups, rock bands and dancers. He is based in Kyoto and studied at the Kyoto City University of Arts (including an exchange stint at the Royal College of Art).

Go Further

This section includes discussion questions, an art challenge and links to online photo galleries and websites.

Artist Website

Visit the artist’s website: kohei-nawa.net

Photography Challenges

One thing about this artist is that his works are quite difficult to photograph! For example, the bright light reflecting off of the PixCell animals tended to blow out the highlights. Therefore, I reduced the exposure when shooting the images. When I was editing the photos, I left the tones a little darker and warmer in order to better bring out the shapes of the spheres.The actual sculptures, when lit up, are brighter.

Similarly, the photos of the dark paintings are not quite as dark as the paintings are in reality.

Three Questions

  1. Which work do you like best? Why?
  2. What worries do you have about future technology?
  3. Can you think of a metaphor for one of your worries (e.g., an attractive throne)? How could you then represent this metaphor in art?

Art Challenge

Find something in naturea leaf, a branch, a rock, a flower. Transform it by covering it or merging it with something artificial (e.g., thread, cloth, plastic, glitter, etc.).


~text and photos by longzijun

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