An unconventional exhibition opened on Wednesday evening at the Taipa Village Cultural Association, showcasing works by local artist Allen Wong. Titled “Who Am I”, the exhibition consists of four rotating birdcages of similar sizes and proportions and a video clip of birds, lights and shapes projected onto them.
The works follow on from Wong’s recurrent theme of traditional Chinese birdcages and are respectively titled “Southeast Southwest”, “Fan”, “East West Path” and “What Do You Want”.
Organizers say that the exhibition aims to depict the relationship between freedom and human society, a point expounded upon by the artist himself, in conversation with the Times.
“The birds [in the exhibition] look forward to making their choice over the different birdcages [that] represent the different lifestyles we can choose. For example, one might be the natural life, another might be capitalism [the pursuit of material goods],” explained Wong. “It’s a dilemma for the birds; what do they want?”
Birds have a long history of symbolism in art, usually depicting freedom. Wong agrees with this representation in principle, but came armed on Wednesday night with a philosophical counter-argument.
Asked about the traditional symbolism of birds, Wong said that “freedom is not a choice. Birds may be free but they do not have the choice to be free [or not to be free].”
“The combination of both symbolic objects and digital media is Wong’s attempt to deconstruct the complexity of his emotional state into several layers of interpretation, presenting a thought-provoking kinetic artwork and eye-catching experience seldom seen in the local art scene,” said Joao O Bruno Soares, president of the executive board of the Taipa Village Cultural Association, who is also the curator of the exhibition.
But the artwork and its concept have been seen before on the Macau art scene. A similar project was shown at the Macau Museum of Art in 2014, the artist admitted to the Times.
The mixed-media show is the seventh exhibition since the Taipa-based gallery opened in 2016. DB