⟨ Art ⟩

Nothing really matters, anyone can see

Forever is a lie, always by Vivian Ho

Words / Elva Pang
Photography / Kimio Ng
Translation / Iris Heung

尋找畫廊的路上,奇怪感覺不禁油然而生,怎麼街道兩旁不是賣菜的就是宰肉的店舖?這間小小的畫廊正是隱身於熙來攘往的街市中,畫廊冰冷雪白的牆和外面熱鬧濕漉的街市形成強烈對比,卻又與展出的畫作遙相呼應,為展覽加添幾分奇幻色彩。

A bizarre feeling suddenly came over me while I was in search of the gallery. I wondered why was the street lined with only butcher shops and grocery shops? This tiny gallery is nestled in a vibrant wet market. The contrast between the unforgiving white color on the gallery wall and the buzz of the wet market is magnificent. However, one can not deny the strange set up is a unique complement to the paintings on exhibit and adds a whimsical touch to the atmosphere.

每一次看Vivian的作品,都能找到一種親切的共鳴感,由內容到命題,都是非常的「貼地」。「我習慣一邊畫畫一邊聽電台,電台大部分時間都是播廣東歌、說當下香港發生的人與事,所以我絕對是由香港的流行文化養大。」早年的畫展,她以王家衛的經典電影對白、廣東歌歌詞為主題,今次她用了香港人熟悉的金句。「『剎那光輝不是永恆』(Forever is a lie, always )這句說話充滿智慧、哲理,因為世上無論是好與不好的人和事都不過是暫時,沒有永恆不變。既然如此,不如把這美好的𣊬間畫下來,或許能讓它們停留久一點。」好的內容也要有出色的包裝來配合,Vivian說有好的命題才是對作品負責的表現,「我不少插畫都以『食字』來命題,因為畫和題必須呼應、互動,這樣才能令人對作品留下深刻印象。」

One can easily associate with Vivian’s works even at the first encounter. The content and theme of her artworks are so down-to-earth that can resonate with Hong Kong people extraordinarily well.  “I love listening to the radio when I paint. So I have been pretty much surrounded by Canton-pop and programs about current affairs during my creative process. It is fair to say I got raised by Hong Kong pop culture.” Her early works tend to adapt classic lines from Wong Kar-wai’s films or lyrics from Canton-pop songs. This time, she is getting her paintbrush on the popular quotes in her local culture. “I found lots of wisdom and wit in the popular quote ‘Forever is a lie, always’. Things and people are constantly changing; be it good or bad, everything just lives temporarily. So why don’t we capture the best moments on paintings so as to make them last longer?” Fine ideas need the complement of a brilliant way of presentation. As an artist, Vivian sees it as her responsibility to give the artworks a nice title that can help to complete the whole idea. “Many of my illustrations are themed by puns. Having a theme that interacts with the illustration is the way to leave a deep impression.”

Vivian筆下大多是你我每天在路上擦身而過的人物,或是熟悉的街角與事物,這次展出的作品大都是描畫一些無名氏,他們甚至是看不到樣子。「看見人們抬頭看天,我會想他們看到的是什麼呢?於是我便會幻想他們腦海中的畫面,例如在天星小輪上的女孩看的是盛放的荷花池和鯉魚,或是三項鐵人選手在怒海裡游泳。在尋常的角落裡尋找驚喜,是一種挑戰,只有這樣生活才不致沉悶呆板。」成為新一代受注目的年輕藝術家,大概因為Vivian的作品「夠貼地」。「世上不乏畫技好的人,畫畫最重要是創作意念,我不會勉強去說一些高深難懂的哲理,反而把香港的流行文化融入其中來表達我的想法,更貼近生活,更易產生共鳴。」

Vivian mostly draws people you see in everyday life or familiar streets and objects seen in Hong Kong. Most of the paintings exhibited this time illustrate nameless figures whose faces are even not visible sometimes. “Whenever I see people look up to the sky, I wonder what exactly do they see?  I would try to picture the images that conjure up in their minds. So is the girl on the Star Ferry seeing a lotus pool animated by carps or a triathlon athlete swimming in a rough sea? It is kind of challenging to seek remarkable elements in everyday life, but this is what keeps me from getting bored.” As a budding young artist, Vivian never shies away from her down-to-earth character. “There are plenty of skillful painters in this world, but the creative concept is still the most essential element in any artwork. I never bother to tell complex philosophical ideas. Instead, I would blend Hong Kong pop culture into my work to express my thoughts.  I try to provide an intimate perspective to look at mundanity in order to echo with my audience.”

四年前認識Vivian是因為她為國際電影節畫宣傳海報,當時剛從美國讀書回流不久,她辭掉拍賣行的工作,全職投入藝術工作,最深刻是她曾說「要證明做藝術不會死」,這些年證明她做到了。「做藝術不會死,但要學習如何令自己生存,並持續去創作。在計劃舉辦畫展時,我剛好接了一個以國畫去創作的廣告,然後我便在youtube學習如何畫國畫(現在的年輕人都不是這樣的嗎?),同時令我對國畫改觀了,以前總是覺得很沉悶,現在才領略到國畫獨有的氣派。我也很欣賞古人愛把事物簡化,不在乎畫得立體或像真,把對事物的感覺畫出來才是最重要。這次畫展,我把國畫元素融入日常的場景之中,奇幻與真實之間形成有趣的對比。以前的我喜歡追求戲劇性的效果,現在我的作品卻有一種淡淡然的感覺。」看著Vivian筆下似幻似虛的美好瞬間,好像曾經在哪裡遇上過,留下一陣如迷霧般的餘韻在心頭牽繞著。

I met Vivian four years ago when she took on the job to illustrate the poster for the international film festival. It was not long after she returned to Hong Kong after finishing her studies in the States, she resigned from her job at an auction house and decided to become a full-time artist. I was very much impressed when she stated, “I want to prove a full-time artist can make it too.” After all these years she has it well proven now. “You can make ends meet doing art, but you also need to learn how to sustain your life. While I was hosting the exhibition, I got a request for doing ink wash painting for a commercial. From there I started to learn the art on YouTube (perhaps like most of the youngsters nowadays) and my perception of traditional Chinese art got drastically changed. I used to see traditional Chinese painting as an uninteresting form of art, only until then did I come to realize how powerful it was. I also admire how ancient people drew in an impressively minimalistic way. For them, conveying the ‘life force’ of objects is more critical than drawing out the minute details by realism techniques. In the works I’m showcasing this time, I have applied elements of ink washing painting into scenes of everyday life. The juxtaposition of fantasy and reality creates an intriguing contrast. I used to pursue a dramatic effect on my works but now I tend to create an overall vibe that can strike a gentle chord in people’s hearts.” The enchanting scenes in her illustrations are like some good old memories that keep on lingering like a soft melody.

「接下來,我想畫一系列被人用完即棄的物品。」總是被微小事物吸引的Vivian,好像王家衛電影《重慶森林》裡的警察663與家中的家具分享煩惱與心事般,她則用畫筆與被人掉棄的物品聊天起來。「香口膠、茶包、湯渣和煙頭等,都是被人消耗殆盡它的價值,然後被掉棄的物品;這種被徹底用盡,而沒有受到半點尊重,就是我想探討的主題。這種幾乎極致的利用關係,也存在人與人之間。」

Vivian說她今次展覽最喜歡的是描畫一個形單隻影的男人垂頭走上樓梯的一刻,背後稀疏零落的花枝枯葉都在襯托蕭瑟冷清的氣氛。畫下寫上一句「人生就是大鬧一場,然後悄然離去」(Nothing really matters, anyone can see),看來美好的瞬間也帶著一點哀愁,不過這也不會是永恆的。

“My next project will be a series of single-use items.” Vivian is always drawn by insignificant things. Similar to the Cop 663 who always talks to his furniture in Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express, Vivian is also talking to these single-use items through her paintbrush. “Chewing gum, teabags, kitchen waste, cigarette butts are all items that got disposed of after people made full use of them. The idea of being completely consumed without getting any respect is the theme that I would like to explore. Human relationship is somehow the same when people try to take full advantage of another person.”

Vivian said her favorite piece from the current exhibition was the one depicting a lonesome man walking up the staircase with his head down. At his back, the naked tree branch with brown leaves hanging denotes a bleak and desolate atmosphere. The line under the painting reads “Nothing really matters, anyone can see”. Even the good moments should bear some kind of sadness, but as always, nothing lasts forever.

A2Z ART GALLERY  20 Gage Street, Central, Hong Kong  2395 5198