Artist Ho Siu-kee explores the physical and the intangible
For two decades, conceptual artist/sculptor Ho Siu-kee has been using one very important medium for his work — his body.
Whether it's Walking on Two Balls (1995), Gravity Hoop (1996) or his ongoing Aureola series, he puts himself into these experiential pieces, or performances — some require him to hang upside down, for example — to heighten his senses and spatial awareness. "I wanted to revisit and experience sensations that I might have forgotten since I was a young child," the 51-year-old says.
But Ho's artistic practice is taking on a new direction, shifting focus from the physical to the spiritual. This change is evident in his latest solo show, "Body Geometry", comprising four works that are scientific yet ephemeral and philosophical.
"My early works focused a lot on the bodily experience, but this awareness of the body, the physical practice, has led to realisation of the spiritual," says the artist, who practises qi gong. "It may have something to do with getting old; although I'm very busy, internally, at the core of my being, I'm seeking the spiritual, the peaceful state."
Ho says that after focusing so much on physical existence in the past, he became aware of the limitations of the human body — a realisation expressed in his work The Constrained Body (2008) — so now is the time to venture into an experience that is "beyond the body".
Geometry turns out to be a connector between the physical and the intangible. "Humans use their body as the measuring tool to establish the connection with the world. Consequently, the shape and size of the body and pattern of its movement also make reference to the rules of geometry," Ho writes in his exhibition notes. "Understanding the geometrical nature of the body and its functioning will help us find our place in this world full of uncertainties."
So in Visible Sound — Sand Mandala, one of the three works he will perform, Ho will use his voice and improvise chanting, amplified by a speaker, to transform a small heap of sand into a large Mandala-like circle. The sand can be interpreted as the universe. This work makes reference to William Blake's famous insight: "to see the world in a grain of sand".
"Body Geometry", curated by Stella Tang Ying-chi, may be the artist's most challenging show yet but it promises to enlighten, both intellectually and spiritually.
Running concurrently is another show "The Things — 100 Objects that Relate to the Arts of Ho Siu-kee" held at a.m. space (on Aberdeen Street) that will look at items that have influenced the artist's works. Curator/artist Lukas Tam Wai-ping, together with Tang and art critic Jeff Leung Chin-fung, will host an open forum and dialogue with Ho on June 13.
Body Geometry — Works by Ho Siu-Kee, Unit 12, Cattle Depot Artist Village, 63 Ma Tau Kok Road, To Kwa Wan, June 6 -21. Inquiries: 6344 2878 (Ms Yu)