Chan Ka Kiu 陳嘉翹 x RNH Space: 

Shivering Torso, Mellow Marrow

夏娃的肚臍



on hold






Curatorial Statement

“For the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world.” - L’Étranger, Albert Camus

Meursault, the title character in Camus novel L’Étranger, was estranged from society for his indifference, but chose to embrace himself and face the world with frankness as a free spirit when he was sentenced to death, and finally “felt less alone”. The English title of Chan Ka Kiu’s solo presentation at RNH Space, Shivering Torso, Mellow Marrow, reflects the artist’s similar realisation. The programme is presenting Chan’s latest artworks and probing the layered diversity and depth of her praxis, in terms of not only her artistic practice but also her ways of handling life.

One should notice that in Chan Ka Kiu’s idiosyncratic video works, she always prefers to create juicy narratives to lightheartedly disguise words that hold heavy weights at heart, with self-consciousness in small doses. In Shivering Torso, Mellow Marrow, Chan unprecedentedly attempts to take off this sheer sugar coating she hides underneath and mentally eases up the tension of her pride, whilst humbly opens up and lets thoughts and emotions flow naturally.

To make Chan’s novel approach this time more distinct, the programme starts by presenting online her old work Unreadable Books (2020) comprising a series of five books, unreadable for they have only book covers but no inside pages. In comparison, at the physical exhibition of the programme, however, Chan’s new works similarly use artist books as the container, embodying materials that have received totally different treatments. The compilation of deconstructed then reassembled materials surpasses the level of a simple collection of images, objects or texts, and fosters unique narratives concerning anthropology, memories, love and enlightenment.

There are two highlights of the installation, leading to the essentially open-ended interpretation of the whole viewing experience which is parallel to the Chinese title of the programme, literally translated as “The Navel of Eve”, a concept that points directly to an unanswerable question.

On one hand, the books are placed carefully in lucid reading devices which are transformed from disinfectant tanks, each with two open holes built in a pair of rubber gloves. These tanks originally have appeared in scenes of conducting laboratory experiments, providing highly controlled condition for handling toxins or contagious viruses, or taking care of a vulnerable infant. Now only in the gloves’ protection can the viewers touch and read the books, maintaining the rules of “NO TOUCHING” in art viewing etiquette thanks to that layer of rubber, whilst being granted the permission to get the closest they can to the art.

On the other, Chan also transforms the whole space into an extravagant installation. The installation works as a silent mysterious invitation, as it instantly absorbs the viewers and triggers their viewing process the moment they enter the space, to transcend the reading of two-dimensional pages and provide an immersive experience of art viewing. Nevertheless, the viewers are not really reading the books until they determine to put their hands into the gloves and flip the pages, by which means their motivation to see the art is neither reinforced nor reduced by the artist's laissez-faire attitude.

The exhibition demonstrates a philosophical thinking process without really telling any hard facts or giving any instructions. At the end of the day, we are all in our solitude as individual thinkers but opening up for other people’s presence.



「在布滿預兆與星星的夜空下,我第一次敞開心胸,欣然接受這世界溫柔的冷漠。」- 卡繆《局外人》

卡繆的小說《局外人》(L’Étranger)主人公莫梭(Meursault)是個與社會疏離的冷漠之人,但到將被處死之時,卻選擇用自由的靈魂坦然面對自我與世界,反倒像個勇敢的英雄。陳嘉翹於RNH Space的小展「夏娃的肚臍」,將藝術家內心與莫梭類同的感悟,盡顯於英文展題「Shivering Torso, Mellow Marrow」之上,指向一種坦白的行徑與坦誠的態度。是次計劃將展出陳嘉翹新作,並以此作為探針,引導觀者一頭扎進其藝術創作與人生態度的深海中一窺究竟。

值得一提的是,陳嘉翹代表作多為數碼錄像媒介,並總是出力講述花俏的故事情節,但表面的輕浮實則是用於掩飾內心的沉重,暗地裡拒人於千里之外。而是次計劃中,陳嘉翹非但不再試圖娛樂大眾,更嘗試緩緩謙卑地褪去這層「隱身衣」,與他人、與自己坦誠相見。

為凸顯藝術家創作手法上的新嘗試,是次計劃先於網上展示其舊作,為實體展覽作熱身。網絡展示陳嘉翹二〇二〇年作品《無字天書》,由五本只有封面沒有內頁的書籍組成,本本皆令讀者「無從下手」。相較之下,實體展覽展出陳氏新作,同樣地用書籍作載體,但用不同的形式承載完全不同的元素。這些創作材料經過拆析、重構、交織、編排,從一沓影像、物件、文字的簡單堆砌中超渡,重生為一個關於人類、記憶、愛和領悟的有機整體。

上述書籍裝置作品有兩大特別之處,構成觀展體驗的自願性和開放性,是次計劃的中文展題「夏娃的肚臍」亦影射出這種不求甚解亦無需掛齒的態度。

其一,藝術家將裝有橡膠手套的透明無菌操作箱改造成閱讀裝置,將書籍穩妥地至於其中。這類操作箱通常用於要求超純環境的實驗室實驗,例如處理毒質或感染性病毒,或用於搶救有健康異狀的新生兒。而那對橡膠手套是觀者用於觸碰並翻閱書籍的唯一介質,卻亦是觀者和藝術之間的一層隔膜。觀賞藝術時「不可觸摸」的保護規則在原則上沒有被觸犯,觀者亦同時獲得特權以最近距離接觸藝術。

其二,藝術家亦放肆地將書籍裝置作品所處的空間改造成一個大型裝置。從觀者踏入這個空間的一刻起,這個大型裝置便神秘無聲地引誘觀者進入、靠近、屏氣凝神,進一步將平面閱讀體驗昇華成沉浸式的藝術觀賞體驗。觀者帶著前來閱讀的心理預期,但最終讀還是不讀,都由他們自己決定,不將手伸入手套便不需讀,不會在任何程度被視覺強姦。

有見及此,是次展覽的重點不在說教,甚至不在「展覽」,而是透過呈現藝術家的思維過程,提醒大家保持獨立個體的同時,亦不妨坦然面對這個世界。


About Chan Ka Kiu 陳嘉翹

Chan Ka Kiu (b.1995 Canada, Toronto) is a Hong Kong based artist. Graduated in year 2017 from Chinese University of Hong Kong Fine Arts Department. Focusing on intangible mundane bizarreries in mortal secular lives, Chan romanticizes daily scenarios in playful but honest puns. In a physically eco-unfriendly industry, Art, Chan attempts to be a ditally eco-friendly artist making good use of this generation’s over-flooding still and moving images produced everyday.  Chan’s previous exhibitions includes solo exhibition “Don’t come so fast, darling” (Hong Kong Art Basel 2019, Parasite) “A Tree fall in the woods and no one’s there” (Shanghai PSA 2018).

陳嘉翹 (1995年生於加拿大多倫多, 現居於香港) 2017畢業於中文大學藝術系。陳氏用浪漫的玩味誠實地探討關於生活情節的輕重,並以影像和裝置作為主要媒介,描述她生於的世代/地方的態度,以藝術為方式去練習敏感。陳氏曾參與的展覽包括個展「慢慢嚟啦,打令」(香港巴塞爾藝術節, Para Site展位, 2019),聯展「林中的樹倒下而没有人在」(上海當代藝術博物館,2018) 。






Happy Birthday, 2020, scented wax, candle wick
what do you know outside, 2020, mirror, plastic ornate frame, plastic bag


it’s hard I’m soft, 2020, silicon, light clay
Things I want to tell you, but you won’t want to know, 2020, bubble wrap, plastic wrap, acrylic


How to be real, 2020, felt, cat hair, (blood)










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