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Solo Exhibition

Somewhere in between

How abstract senses are presented visually?

Scent provides a key clue in this series. It isn’t just the smell, but more so the memory of the past and the quest for the future.

That is, scent symbolizes layers of multiple senses. In his words of poetic whisper, the images of his works are captured like pictures in a journal. Snapshots that capture the subjective feeling of the moment rather than a description of the scene. Beneath the seemingly lighthearted or casual words lies something intense and indescribable. The pictures are overexposed or out of focus. In these images, you can see light-reflecting dust particles floating in the air, or rising curls of smoke that look like toxic fumes. Even the texture of the sweat and blood gives off an unusual yet familiar odor – as the impact of this unusual period of daily life has made on his understanding of human existence.    

・Whisky-like bitterness and wisdom beyond his years.

In one of our conversations, I compared artists and their works to alcohol or drinks. I intuitively said to Hung Zhen You that he is whisky. Coincidentally, he said whisky was his favorite drink. Perhaps that is why his works show such a highly concentrated level of bitterness and wisdom beyond his years, even bringing a pungent kick. Yet, the aftertaste is gentle and dreamlike. When you view his art as a glass of whisky, you see the intensely passionate brush strokes of the slightly intoxicated moments; you also see the precise techniques of the sober moments. This may explain the “nebulous zone in between the abstract and concrete” as presented in his works.         

・The transformation from photographic realism to a whole new look.

It is amazing to retrace Hung Zhen You’s creative background. He has mastered the artistry of photographic realism before the age of 30 and became a highly anticipated artist in the market. His life’s journey has made an impact on him, and he decided to incorporate these new sensations and thinking into his creative works in the next stage.  He is like a rebellious young boy who declares to the world, “I can create what is considered great painting by the world, but I want to do more than that.” In my opinion, the mastery of realism indicates an outstanding ability to observe and execute - the ability to recreate images perceived in the retina by hand. His neuroticism and high sensitivity bring him to a deeper level of creativity as he grows. His honesty towards himself and his effort to break through the status quo are extremely remarkable. This breakthrough is not about negating the past, but about the transition from crafting real images with great finesse to deconstructing and questioning the reality in front of one’s eyes to dedicating more energy to exploring subjective feelings. Meanwhile, the images are marked by a touch of expressionism and a sci-fi like shadowy suspense, adding to the unpredictability of the process. It is as if he had dismembered the absolute and concrete sense of existence in his past works of photographic realism. He gradually twisted, disassembled, and withdrew from the reality, and then visualized and pixelated it. This technique is like being in a different dimension and observing the so called “reality” in a parallel universe. The subtle variations of lights, shadows, and scents allow the viewer to feel the temperature and humidity in the images. They may even evoke an electrifying sense of terminal lucidity. The conflicting senses may create discomfort in the viewer at first glance, yet a trace of romance remains.     

・The concrete display of the sense of time.

Rusted stands and frames are used to display the works, not only symbolizing the weight of emotion and the traces of time, but also resonating with the theme of scent. The air is abstract, and rusting iron is used to suggest the real existence of time and air. These invisible, intangible, yet constantly present elements, like the senses, are hard to put into words. Hung Zhen You intentionally expresses vague imagery; his art cannot be labeled or categorized. Yet, with the certainty in his tone and in his eyes, it can be expected that this process will gradually become internalized to create his own unique artistry.

Text by LUPA

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