【Hong Kong Arts Centre】’s December Annual Flagship Exhibition -- Distilling Senses: A Journey through Art and Technology in Asian Contemporary Art

Pao GalleriesHong Kong Arts Centre

Exhibition Period: 11 December 2013 to 12 January 2014


The Hong Kong Arts Centre (HKAC) has been dedicated to engaging the community with contemporary art and culture in Hong Kong and abroad for over 35 years. To continue the well-established tradition of promoting contemporary Asian art and artists, the HKAC is pleased to presentits 5th annual flagship exhibition Distilling Senses: A Journey through Art and Technology in Asian Contemporary Art, which takes place from 11 December 2013 to 12 January 2014 at the HKAC’s Pao Galleries. Following the success of the previous exhibitions, Ms. Cissy Pao Pui Lai, BBS, the initiator of the flagship exhibition series, alongside Ms. Connie Lam co-curate the exhibition, showcasing the works of nine Asian artists/art group including Mr. Chang Yung Ta (Taiwan), Ms. Shilpa Gupta (India), Mr. Takashi Ishida (Japan), Mr. Lee Yongbaek (Korea), Mr. Nam June Paik (Korea), teamLab (Japan), Mr. Wang Ningde (China), Mr. Wong Chung Yu (Hong Kong) and Mr. Samson Young (Hong Kong).


Over the last few decades, Asia has been the location where much new technology has been created and consumed. How does this greater environment affect artists from the region? The exhibition is a journey that explores how technology shapes art and how artists use technology to sharpen our senses and enhance our understanding of our surroundings. The exhibition features masterpiece by Nam June Paik, the renowned Korean-born artist who pioneered the genre of ‘video art’ in the 1960s. Juxtapositions of interaction and introspection continue throughout the exhibition: participatory works by Japan’s ultra-technology group teamLab, Taiwan’s Chang Yung Ta and Korea’s Lee Yongbaek are pitched against meditative pieces by China’s Wang Ningde and Japan’s Takashi Ishida. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Wong Chung Yu reappraises the traditional mode of Chinese ink painting, and India’s Shilpa Gupta and Hong Kong’s Samson Young offer specific social commentary on city living and city space.The works exhibited employ diverse media, from digital to interactive installation, offering the viewer an insight into the sheer possibilities that can result in a marriage between technology and art.


The Union of ‘Art and Technology’ lies the SensualAesthetic Experience

Featured artworks include: Chang Yung Ta’s Signal.Flow 2.1explores the overlooked, subtle and invisible signals in daily life. The system runs programmes that process the hard disk’s activities and computer’s inner temperature, which then generates signals that alter brightness of the light bulbs and volume of the speakers. Wang Ningde’s 39 x 18% is a set of thirty nine projectors designed by the artist with each uses flashes as the light source and projects only one image. It makes audience re-think the ‘transience’ and ‘eternity’, ‘unreality’ and ‘reality’ about ‘image’ and ‘memory’. teamLab’s Homogenizing and Transforming World stimulates our visual and auditory senses of touch. When one of the balls is being touched, it immediately spreads the signals, and turns the rest of the balls into the same colour, forming unity in a split second. Wong Chung Yu’s A Transiting Cycle of Dualismexplores the dualistic relations between mattersunder the influence of the concept ‘complementary existence and non-existence’ of Taoism. Nam June Paik’s One Candle and Charlie Chaplin demonstrates his avant-garde and innovation in video art. One Candle is a burning candle with a video camera follows its progress, casting its image onto the walls. The flickering image is magnified in myriad projections, leading audience into a sense of tranquility. Charlie Chaplin is a robot made up of vintage televisions and monitors, named after Charlie Chaplin, echoing Chaplin’s masterpiece ‘Modern Times’, which depicts a capitalist society dominated by machine civilisation and satirises the loss of humanity. Takashi Ishida’s A White Room creates an art form that integrates painting with video – ‘showing pictures’. The video documents the painting all over the wall and on the floor frame by frame by stop-motion photography. Samson Young’s Liquid Boarders Series is a sound project sonically archives the disappearing Hong Kong-China border. Sounds of the vibrating wired fencing are collected by contact microphone while those of the running Shenzhen River by hydrophones. Shilpa Gupta’s 100 Queues is made of 100 different photographs of people standing in long queues in different spaces in the city which show her interest in investigating the people’s perception and the way we understand the world. Lee Yongbaek’s Broken Mirror attaches two-way mirror to a LCD screen to create an optical illusion of cracks on the mirror. The work not only stimulates people’s senses but also challenges their perception towards reality, manifesting the power of art and technology.

Cissy Pao expressed that the exhibition sought to explore the sensory experience of daily life, through an examination of the relationship with technological advancement in our world, “With the previous flagship exhibitions, we’ve examined and challenged the concepts of fine arts vs arts and crafts, usable art, 2-D vs 3-D art, scale and relationship, etc., breaking down the barriers between them. This exhibition is a logical next step. ‘Art & Technology’ has broken down many traditional barriers in art. It allows us to include works like teamLab’s Homogenizing and Transforming World – which is a kind of participatory art, to be enjoyed and experienced by anyone. Works as such bring people to art, facilitating understanding and appreciation of art.Hong Kong Arts Centre is here to embrace the changing pace of time, artistic progress, and the engagement of the community.”


Connie Lam remarked, “We’re looking at how artists use technology as a tool of expression. Most of the artists do not come from a technological background. Shilpa Gupta was trained as a sculptor, Wang Ningde is a photographer, Takashi Ishida is a painter, both Nam June Paik and Samson Young have classical music training. The selected works provide an inward journey that provokes us to think about our surrounding world and our response to it.”


An exhibition talk, free audio guide and school tours for senior secondary school students by the HKAC’s “Art Available to All” education programme are also available.

Exhibition Information

Co-Curators:Cissy Pao Pui Lai, BBS and Connie Lam

Featured Artists:Chang Yung Ta (Taiwan), Shilpa Gupta (India), Takashi Ishida (Japan), Lee Yongbaek (Korea), Nam June Paik (Korea), teamLab (Japan), Wang Ningde (China), Wong Chung Yu (Hong Kong), Samson Young (Hong Kong)
Period: 11 December 2013 to 12 January 2014

Opening Hours: 10am to 8pm

Venue: Pao Galleries and Jockey Club Atrium, 3-5/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre

Free audio guides available at the Exhibition.

Programme Enquiries: 2582 0200/

Exhibition Talk

Speakers: Co-Curator – Connie Lam 
Artists – Chang Yung Ta (Taiwan), Shilpa Gupta (India), temaLab (Japan), Wang Ningde (China), Wong Chung Yu (Hong Kong), Samson Young (Hong Kong)

Date & Time: 11 December 2013 (Wednesday) |12:30pm – 2pm

Venue: Eric Hotung Studio (LB/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai, HK)

Conducted in English, supplemented with Mandarin and Cantonese

Free Admission. Limited Seats. First-Come-First-Served.

Art Educational Programme - Art Available to All

The programme is divided into two parts - Docent Guided Tour and Educational Workshops. Through this programme, we hope to promote art to local secondary school students, to provide them with a chance to appreciate and explore arts. It is a good chance for students to get out of the classroom to visit an exhibition, and to have personal interaction with artists, encouraging them to promote art to their families, schools and within their communities, allowing art to fill every corner of Hong Kong.

Enquiries: Ms. Lee (Tel: +852 2582 0231; Fax: +852 2519 2033; E-mail:


Presenter: Hong Kong Arts Centre

Sponsor: HSBC Private Bank

Art Available to All School Tour Sponsor: The FRIENDS of the Hong Kong Arts Centre

Accommodation Sponsor: Dorsett Hospitality International

About Hong Kong Arts Centre

The Hong Kong Arts Centre (HKAC)—a self-financed, non-profit organisation—is widely recognised as an arts and culture incubator for Hong Kong. For 35 years, the HKAC has played a unique role in engaging the community with art, with a focus on promoting contemporary art and culture in Hong Kong and abroad through exhibitions, art education and related programmes. The HKAC’s main building is situated in Wan Chai, with facilities including a cinema, theatres, galleries, classrooms, studios, restaurants and office space. The HKAC provides a wide range of programmes on performing arts, visual arts, film and video arts, public art projects, conferences, art festivals and more, connecting the arts to the general public.


The HKAC is also appointed by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) as the Main Operator of the Mallory Street project in Wan Chai, managing the ‘Comix Home Base’ (CHB) under a five-year contract. The CHB opened in July 2013 and the HKAC is operating the CHB as the platform for exchange and interaction for the comics industry, locally and internationally. The ‘Artist Home Base’ (AHB) at No. 5 Wing Lee Street is another venue operated by the HKAC under a licence agreement with the URA to run an artist-in-residence programme.


The Arts Centre’s education arm, the Hong Kong Art School (HKAS), is an accredited institute staffed by a group of dedicated artists and with multiple sites, including the Main Campus on the 10th floor of the HKAC main building, Pao Haung Sue Ing Campus in Shau Kei Wan and the Chai Wan Campus at Youth Square. The focus of its award-bearing curriculum lies in four core academic areas—Fine Art, Applied Art, Media Art, and Applied Theatre and Drama Education—with academic levels ranging from Higher Diploma, Professional Diploma, Bachelor’s Degree to Master’s Degree. Short courses and outreach projects of the HKAS run parallel to the award-bearing curriculum and span an even wider variety of artistic disciplines.


HKAC website:



Annie Ho  (Marketing & Development Director)
Tel: 2824 5306/9481 8706