Deal

Susan Pui San Lok & Mayling To

27 June 1998 to 12 August 1998

198 Contemporay Arts & Learning

Born into and growing up in the kung fu craze of early seventies Britain, Mayling To’s childhood years were often consumed with a proliferation of kung fu films equated with a personal search for the self and a quest for the Chinese hero prototype.

In an attempt to evoke the complexities of emotions and confused states of being, her works in Deal try to convey feelings of hope, joy, glee and pleasure, simultaneously coexisting with loss, sorrow, helplessness, compassion, distress and pain: the correlation of some childhood memories and the experience of the Hong Kong handover.

Using the context of the martial arts genre paradoxical notions of love and hate, good versus evil, violent and passive, cute but nasty allude to playful allegorical possibilities. The distinction between ‘real toys’ and an art object is intended to be made or become clear. What could appear to be readymades are in fact soft sculptures made by the artist. A fantasy of a cult cartoon character – Hong Kong Phooey is lovingly reconstructed in A Cute Puncture, yet the artist’s contradictory sentiment of a hero and anti-hero presents a difficult predicament equivocal of healing or torture.

By bringing together the parodic interplay between art, advertising and popular culture, the work raises questions of function, recognizability, commerciality and commodification, and looks at the relationship between reality and fiction, artist and viewer, self and desire.