Stepping Towards a Uncertain Future

Patrick Wong

Artist Statement

Over the course of my MFA degree, I set out to investigate how the colonial history of Hong Kong can be visualized through the process of printmaking as a method for the documentation and assimilation of political data, specifically examining theoretical approaches to the process and definitions of reclamation and decolonization.

Printmaking provides ways to easily replicate and produce editions of prints which can be mass circulated, but at the same time, it also serves as a medium that documents the social and political concerns within the time in which the prints were made. As a medium that is accessible to artists in various forms, printmaking becomes a vehicle that distributes social and political messages, in a sense becoming a form of visual documentation.

Artwork #1:

Borrowed Time (2021). Ink on paper. 58 x 78”

The screen-printed image is composed of nine smaller individual prints that are arranged in a three-by-three format to form a larger image. The piece explores the colonial history of Hong Kong through its cityscape and architectural elements, contrasting the modern skyscrapers with the remnants of colonial-era structures that are preserved but obscured within the rapid expansion of and construction of newer and taller high-rise buildings.

The significance of the years arranged vertically on the buildings not only references Hong Kong’s adoption of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ model that fundamentally establishes and recognizes Hong Kong’s hybrid identity, but also ties into the verticality of the city, as both time and place are being pushed vertically

Artwork #2:

Is It Time? (2022) Acrylic glass, ink. 12 x 14 x 9.5”

Is It Time? continues my exploration of Hong Kong through the motif of the squatting Chinese body, while also experimenting with how screen prints could be experienced and seen through a sculptural form. The print is composed of five separate 12 x 12” acrylic panels that are placed into a custom acrylic stand, and each panel depicts one image of my own body in the squatting position.

Artwork #3:

Borrowed Place (2021). Plexiglass, water, paper, ink, charcoal powder. 12 x 10”

Borrowed Place is a charcoal powder image printed on water that is contained within a 12”x10” plexiglass box. The work has four key components, which includes the plexiglass box, water, a screen printed background image, and the final layer of image that is made from charcoal powder.

Artwork #4

Treaties (English / Chinese Version)(2021). Paper, charcoal powder, transparent extender base, ink. 44 x 60”

Treaties is composed of two separate black and white prints that are each assembled from four smaller prints. The squatting figure from the 1967 riots which were used in my previous works emerges again in this set of prints as the background figure, while the foreground depicts twelve points from the Sino-British Joint Declaration that was signed between UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the third premier of the People’s Republic of China, Zhao Ziyang.