Three exhibitions by Cheo Chai-hiang, Nipan Oranniwesna and Sun Yuan & Peng Yu

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2009, 12:00am

Three exhibitions by Cheo Chai-hiang, Nipan Oranniwesna and Sun Yuan & Peng Yu
Osage Kwun Tong

These exhibitions explore aspects of global capitalism, but the four artists involved are concerned with different facets of our current economic paradigm.

Most arresting is Hong Kong Intervention, by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, a series of photographs shot by local Filipino domestic workers each asked to place a replica hand grenade somewhere in their employer's home and photograph it. The result is a startling juxtaposition of orderly, comfortable domesticity with the anticipation of chaotic violence implied by the implacable, menacing presence of the munition.

In one photograph, the bomb sits in a fireplace below a clutch of framed family photographs on the mantle, threatening to blast to pieces the family of the worker's employer in an implicit reprisal for the ripping apart of family life by the poverty that drives many Filipinos abroad and into the master-servant relationship of domestic work.

Next to each photograph is a portrait of the worker who took it. It's like a police lineup of terror/freedom-fighter suspects, but their backs face the camera, raising the possibility that the agents of the revolutionary upheaval suggested by the bombs could be anyone who shares their circumstances.

It's a powerful collection, underlining how affluence and comfort is built on casual exploitation, and the potentially explosive consequences of denying others their humanity.

Nipan Oranniwesna's show is less about brute power than about the homogenisation of culture and identity under global capitalism. In Ghost City he amalgamates the geography of several major cities into an urban sprawl made of baby powder to produce a metropolis that could be anywhere but which is really nowhere, and whose identity is as easily erased as dust.

Cheo Chai-hiang's The Story of Money looks at the links between Chinese language and money, probing the key role the monetary symbol plays in the Chinese lexicon. His unforgiving stainless steel characters, in padded cases such as laptop bags, offer a clever visual pun on the notion of hard currency.

With this timely interrogation of capitalist values, Osage has come up with an artistic offering that's right on the money.

5/F Kian Dai Industrial Building, 73-75 Hung To Rd, Kwun Tong. Inquiries: 2793 4817. Until Oct 4