Wilson Shieh: Fitting Room
Osage Galley is pleased to present Fitting Room, Wilson Shieh's latest body of works. This is an ongoing project with Shieh, which began as a solo exhibition at Osage Soho in March 2009 followed by a two-person show at Osage Singapore in July 2009, and will travel to Osage Shanghai in November 2009.
Shieh, without doubt, is one of Hong Kong's most established and significant contemporary artists. His works engage with issues pertinent to our contemporary societies. In his Fitting Room series, Shieh extends these concerns through icons of Hong Kong popular culture to explore identity issues that have arisen from the transitions Hong Kong is currently undergoing.
For Shieh, the idea of change translates into layers of manifestation the body slips into. He considers clothing as a 'space of appearance' in which subjectivity gains presence. Thus, if clothing extends to the screen by way of costume or to edifice through facade, it is but part of the logic of change. The movies, literatures, and songs are possibilities for selves and others to alight and to be experienced. And the artist's disposition towards a technique that is emblematic of tradition reinforces this thought: adornment becomes an index of becoming, the painstaking making of a fragile and finite fantasy of identity. His works speak of a vital aspect of subjectivity or self-making, a technique of materialisation, and the distance from 'identity' through necessary fictions and acts of dissembling.
Shieh's Fitting Room, his new series made in 2009, is inspired by Four Seasons which is one of his most representational themes. Four Seasons presents four profiles of the same character appearing in different outfits and hairstyles according to spring, summer, autumn and winter to symbolise the season's change.
To comply with the concept of 'change', Fitting Room takes dressing doll as its framework, and recalls the image of Chow Yun Fat as a significant cultural icon of Hong Kong. By showcasing various roles that Chow has played through his movie career; Chow is turned into a dressing doll, his different outfits represent recognisable movie scenes.
Maggie Cheung is an iconic Hong Kong female movie star known for her numerous and impressive movie roles. The concept of changing clothes is an essential element in Cheung's films - one must recall her many changes of qipao in In the Mood for Love by Wong Kar Wai - making Cheung another perfect illustration in Shieh's Fitting Room series.
The Fitting Room series, featuring the characters Chow Yun Fat and Maggie Cheung, constitutes an important part of this exhibition in Osage Shanghai following its success in Osage Singapore from July to September 2009. Other works with woman figures include two new sets of collage of Teresa Tang in Four Seasons, as well as Eileen Chang and her Characters, which depicts Eileen Chang herself with the movie roles adapted from the writer's masterpieces and her life story.
Wilson Shieh has participated in the 3rd Chengdu Biennale (2007) and the 6th International Ink Painting Biennale of Shenzhen (2008) with his water ink paintings. In Lady Killer series, Shieh initiates using acrylic paint with the technique of water ink painting. His witty depiction that turns elegant ladies into cruel and armed killers has become an 'alternative classic' in contemporary Hong Kong art.
Other Important exhibitions that Shieh has participated in include the Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia (1999), Past-in-Reverse: Contemporary Art of East Asia, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California, USA, (2004), New Ink Art: Innovation and Beyond, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong (2008), and Asian Art Biennial, Taichung, Taiwan (2009). In January 2009, he collaborated with the Kyoto-based woodblock carver Kitamura Shoichi to produce Music Families, Shieh's exhibition at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute featuring a set of Ukiyo-e style woodblock prints.
Interviews with the artist are available on request.