Liquefied Sunshine

Luke Ching



Weather is always one of the best conversation starters in most formal occasions. “The sky seems to have cleared up today. Our conversation should be going well.” “The rain started pouring down suddenly, but I believe our concerted efforts will definitely improve our current situation.” What would we see if we juxtapose weather conditions and the socio-political climate in our society? Hong Kong artist Luke Ching Chin Wai is known for the metaphor and euphemism used in his works. The Liquefied Sunshine series was done in 2014 and recently got exhibited again. The artist borrowed the weather conditions in Hong Kong and Taiwan as a metaphor to explore the socio-political situations and relationship between the two places.

Inspired by how the police used high-pressure water cannon to disperse the protesters during the Sunflower Student Movement in Taiwan, Ching’s original idea was to create artificial rain in front of the gallery in both Hong Kong and Taipei. Ching’s artistic intention was to parody the absurd act of using water cannon to disrupt a conversation that he found just like a fighting couple irrationally throwing a glass of water at each other. Such action is only doing damage without helping the conversation. During the summer in the same year, a powerful typhoon lashed Hong Kong, water started pouring into a shopping mall after its roof got struck by the heavy rain. The heavy rain inspired Ching to employ water cannons to create artificial rain in front of the Taipei Fine Art Museum and Hong Kong Museum of Art. A new perspective of looking at the city is created when its landscape is blurred by the rain. Ching also collected postcards of city landmarks and fully obscured the image by applying white ink to mimic the effect of rain.

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The blurring marks on the postcards not only resemble traces of rain but also symbolizes the destructive power of water. The city landscapes on the postcards have been erased by these marks. Ching quoted Noah’s chapter from the Bible where “God made it rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth”, trying to associate heavy rain and Hong Kong as a city full of sins.

Art sometimes hides a secret narrative to respond to history. Five years after 2014, a water cannon truck was deployed in Hong Kong.

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