Mad, mad world

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 October, 2009, 12:00am

A Blow to the Everyday
Osage Kwun Tong

The mundanity of modern life is turned on its head in this exhibition of contemporary Japanese art, which through absurdity, shock, surrealism and defiant acts of wild imagination, forces the viewer to look at the familiar and ordinary in new ways.

The members of Wah, a creative group, take ideas from the public and realise them in such delightfully nonsensical works as Wah 34: Playing Golf on the River, in which they tow a barge down a river in Tokyo while players practise their swing on a one-hole golf course on the vessel.

In Yukihiro Taguchi's Away, everyday objects from Hong Kong's streets take on a life of their own on traditional bamboo scaffolding as video shows rubbish bins and plastic bags moving by themselves in a choreography of the commonplace.

Meiro Koizumi's video work brings the viewer face to face with alienation and rage as the artist bellows through a face-sized hole in a door at a man describing how alcoholism has ruined his life, to whom the artist is connected by a length of air-conditioning duct.

But the most devastatingly brilliant piece in the show is Chim Pom's installation, F**k on the Beach, in which the objects - a car in which a couple are enacting the work's title; a replica of Singapore's Merlion at the base of which lie aerosol cans, flip-flops, bottles and human bones; a depiction of two dogs copulating; Chinese characters meaning 'f**k'; photographs of a naked beach poseur; and a hand reaching up from underground to give a one-fingered 'f**k you' - are completely covered with sand. Only a turtle crawling around the gallery floor is spared.

There's much to explore in this macabre, Ballardian vision, whose soundtrack is California surf rock that suggests carefree summers in a setting from which all life is gone, frozen and fossilised.

F**k on the Beach - and the exhibition in general - makes a convincing case that such jarring and anarchic perspectives are probably the most rational way to make sense of our increasingly regimented social order.

5/F Kian Dai Industrial Building, 73-75 Hung To Rd, Kwun Tong. Inquiries: 2793 4817. Until Nov 29