Pieces of Pieces - Cheng Halley
2022.07.06 - 2022.07.31
Since that day, the images in head and the things that come across have started flowing slowly. They exist within similar colour tone; while there is no sign of dramatic change, the process of self-decomposition is proceeding harmoniously. As things scatter and drift amid voices of serenity, their appearance has also become ambiguous and uncertain. Within the chasm between abstraction and figuration, fine cracks appear, revealing fragments. Such decomposition might have resulted from the resonance of the inside and outside, while one cannot predict its final appearance, its transformation process has left behind a trail of ambivalence.
Artist Halley Cheng depicts fragments of an era into his paintings. Each day, we are bombarded with fragmented information, and our lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic, which in turn highlights the importance of individuality. The physical and emotional world in which we live is like a composite created by integrating countless fractures. In Halley's acrylic paintings, he uses the medium's relatively rigid characteristics to create ambiguous forms with multicolored layers, while embracing the aesthetics of postmodernism.
Halley's series of works are inspired by the trivial and obscure things we encounter every day, which stir his emotions. Whether it is a section of a newspaper on the floor or a storeroom in a small Norwegian town, anything can inspire the artist to reflect on and project to the outside world. Through commentary on ordinary things, Halley's works reflect clarity of vision in reality. It is the mundane things in life, despite their obscure presence, that are perhaps the quintessence of enriching the mind and society.
The use of trivial things to channel greater narratives is consistent with Jean-Francois Lyotard's notion of petits récits (petit narratives). Halley's paintings do not necessarily narrate a subject matter, but rather retell the story of the relationship between things. As Lyotard states, ‘ Art need not represent reality properly…art would be that taking place of a self-enclosed event that withstands interpretation.’ Halley's work prompts the possibility and fluidity of interpretation with painting that straddles figuration and abstraction. Consequently, a thing that is directly represented could also be conscious of itself in the realm of phenomenology.
Curator Shirky Chan