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Slow Collision: Resistance Amid Fragility

The Macau art scene has long taken a back seat to its glitzier neighbour to the east, but as the latest group exhibition at Contemporary by Angela Li shows, it deserves as much attention.

Slow Collision: Resistance Amid Fragility

In a highly politicised society, the word ‘collision’ can mean many different things – the collision between liberal and conservative values, the collision between people of different races, age groups and sex, the collision between political centres amongst others.

The latest group show at Angela by Contemporary Li, however, proposes something less violent and much quieter than the soap opera-like antics gracing our television screens. A continuation of the Trace Element – Macau Contemporary Art Now show in 2015, Slow Collisions feature the works of three Macanese artists, Ann Hoi, Lai Sio Kit and Lei Leng Wai.

Depicting miscellaneous objects atop Macau’s distinct ‘tang lau’ tenement buildings from a bird’s eye view, Lai Sio Kit’s paintings are distinguished by the kind of exactitude that reminds one of Edward Hopper, but they are also distinctly Macanese, with the sense of stillness, inertia if you will, being a deliberate resistance against the breakneck pace at which flashy casinos and resort hotels are being built around the old buildings.

Lei Leng Wai’s muted palettes are disrupted by a blaze of pink slit in one, and an oddly-shaped crack in another. Flat yet imbued with a strange three-dimensionality, as if there exists another space if we were to pull the canvas apart.

Appearing like classical stone or marble sculptures from afar, Ann Hoi’s paper figures, usually depicting the female form, were conceived with 3D animation software. The images were printed on paper before being assembled into fragile yet deeply humane figures. The pixelated surface at once serves as a reminder of the artistic process and hints at its ephemerality.

No doubt that these works are deeply personal, but the exhibition’s strength also lies in how relevant the underlying themes – ephemerality, boundaries and resistance – are in these disquieting times.

Slow Collision runs until 18 February 2017 at Contemporary by Angela Li.

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