We Travel In Our Minds
Chương-Đài Võ - Curator
Duddells - Hong Kong
This exhibition plays with ideas of theatricality, the fantastical, travel and exchange. Taking a cue from the bookshelf in Duddell’s library, the exhibition transforms that space of storytelling into a theatrical stage for 2000-year-old sculptural objects. Part human, part animal, and all parts fantastical, the figurines replace books as sites of imagination. These sculptural objects—which come from the Claire and Francis Heritage Lane Collection, Songyin Ge Collection, and Wui Po Kok Collection—inhabit the bookshelf as a stage, and in conversation with commissioned wall drawings made by New England based artist Ethan Murrow.
Combining objects from the worlds of theatre, puppetry, music, trade, and navigation, Murrow’s wall drawings present surreal objects in flight. The drawings themselves are fantastical—springing from the juxtaposition of objects, sounds, and actions that are otherworldly. In one of the drawings in the library, an antique bronze drum is connected to an iron wheel to a part-mechanical, part-wooden instrument, to a puppet’s hand to a birdcage. In another drawing, a terrestrial orb spews a cloud of exhaust as a gigantic tree topples over, breaking a chained link to another orb. The wall drawing in the salon extends the whimsicality of an early 20thcentury Sichuan puppet, with an exaggeratedly long hand that stretches into the unknown. The drawings are playful, odd and absurd.
The fantastical can be seen in unique sculptural objects of antiquity from the Claire and Francis Heritage Lane Collection, Songyin Ge Collection, and Wui Po Kok Collection. Among the objects in the Claire and Francis Heritage Lane Collectionare a stoneware figure of a merman from the Northern Song Dynasty (AD960-1127); a straw glazed earthenware zodiac figure of a horse from the Tang Dynasty (AD618-907); and a bird shaped cup from the Han Dynasty (202BC-AD220). The Songyin Ge Collection has a Sancai glazed unicorn and horse from the Tang Dynasty (AD618-907). The Wui Po Kok Collection has a pottery inkstone in the shape of a double headed turtle, of the same era.
The combination of the real and the imaginary inhabit these objects and Murrow’s wall drawings—reminding us that what is possible begins in the interior world of the mind, and stretches out into the otherworldly.