Transcend into knots

19 May – 23 May 2021
Booth 1D36
Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong

Under the siege of a global pandemic, people have been forced into recalibrating their everyday routines according to the new abnormal, coming to terms with the social distance that no longer stays concealed, and with isolation in strictly confined spaces. The governance of a country is the result of its people transferring power to the government for self-preservation. But in a state of emergency, this power of the government given by the people transforms into means of monitoring and protection, cementing the power to govern, reinforcing the differences in status and class, while freedom becomes unattainable. Faced with a crippling economy, social disorder, familial stress, and personal frustrations, people yearn for normalcy and feelings, a reason to vent, to cease control, to forego all rituals, to gather and celebrate, to lose ourselves in revelry. Instead, all we see is pale faces, helpless, worried, and fearful; repetitive, meaningless effort and endless waiting. Utter abandon in darkness, and renegade imagination to break the shackles of the system, are a mere reflection of our ambivalent mind under the stringent surveillance in the dire circumstances.

For the 2021 edition of Art Basel HK, TKG+ is pleased to present Transcend Into Knots, a special project by Hong Kong artist Kong Chun Hei, pivoting around the idea of restriction and constraint. To galvanize thought in the functioning of mechanisms, the booth is turned into a hospital consulting room, where a lighter that relentless emits bright light is confined. The medical screens made of party flags adopt an air of festivity to substitute the daily paleness. The mechanical scales at the booth entrance that serve as speed bumps produce mechanical sounds as the crowds move past by, while the numbers on the scales become completely irrelevant. Doubt, angst, and dread echo the sounds in the air, with a lingering sense of déjà vu that dominates all societies and countries across the world. Each disarray of electrical cables depicted in the drawings on the wall seems to morph into its own organic shape, snarled or unraveling, while in fact, it is the same electrical cable that entangles itself in the same loop over and over again. The light box is engulfed by the artist’s own signatures written repeatedly until what was legible becomes an utter blackness, a metaphor for a futile attempt to break out of the system.