Beyond Senses, Beyond Colours • Leo K. K. Wong

5 - 31 July 2017

Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery is proud to present the solo exhibition by Hong Kong photographer Leo K. K. Wong (b. 1932), entitled "Beyond Senses, Beyond Colours". The exhibition will feature a total of 49 colour and black-and-white photographs spanning over 50 years of creation. The distinctive and differing styles of Wong's colour and black-and-white works attest to the transition of his interests throughout his artistic practice. The 14 black-and-white pieces were created between 1966 and 1974, capturing the daily life of old Hong Kong, while the 35 colourful works, created between 1983 and 2014, express the beauty of nature.

 

Wong graduated with a degree in Medicine from the University of Hong Kong in 1959 and practiced as a physician until 2006. As a doctor, Wong was continually confronted with issues of life and death. To cultivate emotional balance and to ease stress, he began studying photography at the age of 34 under master photographer S. F. Dan. During this time Wong focused on monochromatic works depicting the daily lives of people in Hong Kong, including public housing estates, fishing villages, construction sites, and other social phenomena. 

 

Between 1984 and 1994, Wong almost stopped photography and turned his attention to Chinese painting, calligraphy and classical literature. During this period, he was fascinated with and greatly inspired by the art of the Chinese painting master Zhu Qizhan (1892-1996), especially Zhu's ingenuity with light and colour, and the concepts of uniqueness, strength and simplicity that can be seen in his works. Wong started to capture the beauty of nature in his work by blending his aesthetic sense with traditional Chinese culture. 

 

The Four Seasons is a theme commonly seen in Chinese paintings and Wong explores this natural phenomenon photographically, by applying his extraordinary style and technique. Unlike Chinese paintings, which are usually in monochrome, Wong's Four Seasons photographs are colourful, lively, and encompass his belief that photography can uniquely capture fleeting phenomena in a way that painting cannot. Through these works, Wong manages to balance a painterly approach to exploring the Four Seasons, whilst maintaining an honest realism that is integral to the medium. Subjective and personal feelings are emphasized in his photos, resembling the spirit of literati painting, and this makes Wong's work unique.

 

"…I have come to understand through countless shootings that a vast territory exists between the figural and the abstract in the art of photography. There is much to savour in the ambiguous when the image, elusive and ethereal, is actually a vehicle for emotions. In art, I pursue a realm: look at mountains and see mountains; look at mountains and see no mountains; and look at mountains and see nothing but mountains. The ultimate beauty of man and nature as one is achieved when deep emotions are naturally fused with our works to the extent of oblivion in the process of creation." 

- Leo K.K. Wong