25 September 2013
Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates has landed in Hong Kong’s White Cube gallery to showcase works of art that actively comment on racial discrimination and social divisions. Using found objects that are largely neglected, Gates transforms everyday miscellany into art forms. The exhibition, which includes installations, sculptures and two-dimensional works, addresses global tensions that Gates believes are still very much at the center of society at large.
A focal point of the exhibition is Rickshaw for Hardware, 2013, a custom built trolley made of salvaged materials from an abandoned house. Door hinges, rusted screws, wooden blocks and other ordinary objects evoke memories of forced migration for impoverished victims. Gates rescues these forgotten materials and breathes new life into them.
The show also includes his tar pictures – canvases with thick and textural applications of tar – that not only reference his own father, who was a roofer, but also hard labor and the growing disparity between wealth and poverty.
Other works include old folded fire hoses, stacked and encased in wooden frames, which add a compelling abstract quality to an otherwise purely utilitarian device. Apart from its artistic value, the work carries a social significance that stems from the use of a fire hose to dispel a peaceful civil rights demonstration in Alabama, U.S.A. in 1963.
Social commentary defines Gates’ works. His art addresses global issues. Displaying them to the public brings awareness to these continuing problems and at the same time elevates their role to one of aesthetic purpose.
About Molly Lukins Burke
Molly brings her love of the artistic and the eclectic to Hong Kong from New York City, where she was born and raised. On a professional level, Molly has a Master’s in Art History and has worked at auction houses (Sotheby’s and Christie’s) and art galleries in New York. Before moving to Hong Kong in 2012, Molly was working on the team drafting the Catalogue Raisonné for Jasper Johns, one of America’s most celebrated artists. Personally, Molly is thrilled to have landed in Asia’s cultural capital with her husband and two children, and is excited to explore all that Hong Kong has to offer in local and international art.
Theaster Gates, My Back, My Wheel and My Will, from 13 September to 2 November, 2013 in Hong Kong at the White Cube, 50 Connaught Road, Central.
Open Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 7pm