Art review: YY9 Gallery celebrates 10 years of breaking the mould

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 February, 2015, 6:58am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 February, 2015, 10:46am

10th Anniversary Exhibition

YY9 Gallery, Chai Wan

YY9 Gallery's inaugural exhibition in 2005 featured Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate and ceramicist Chris Lo Sze-lim.

A decade later, it is his three-piece Invitation to the Murkiness that appropriately takes centre-stage in this celebratory group show.

Housed in three separate antique wooden boxes, three words are hammered into leather - "Whispering" (pictured), "Secret" and "Disconnected". These are sensitively paired with three slabs of stoneware, respectively depicting a set of earphones; a slashed ribbon of clay, resembling a closed mouth; and an impression of a smartphone.

The barriers of time and distance have been further diminished by technology over these 10 years.

But, despite mobile and instant internet communication, such basic emotions of nostalgia, longing, loneliness, and memory, especially for "past loves", are unchanged - if not intensified - by our ease of communication.

Lo's three-word installation summarises the dilemmas of communication in the "connected" world. His reflection of root emotions is entirely appropriate for this celebration of past success; and, a query of any unknown future.

Now in Chai Wan, the gallery initially started in a ground floor shop of an old Happy Valley tong lau as a casual offshoot of founder Barry Lam's interior design company.

Its first gallery manager/curator Movana Chen herself had graduated from the then-new Hong Kong Art School/RMIT fine arts courses and she has predominantly invited recent arts graduates to exhibit at YY9.

The early exhibitions were happy, social gatherings and - significantly, following Chris Lo's first exhibition - heralded a gallery that showcased artists outside the usual Chinese University's fine arts' graduate line-up.

This show features 100 artists who have shown at the gallery, including the well-known Kacey Wong, Ivy Ma, So Hin-keung, Simone Boon, Jaffa Lam, Tang Kwok-hin, Almond Chu, Rosanna Li Wei-han and William Furniss.

The strength of the gallery is its courage to exhibit not just already acknowledged, but unknown artists from across the city. 

The show runs until Mar 31