Let’s Try Catching Steam with Bare Hand
/ Gallery Exit, Hong Kong, 2021

‘Let’s Try Catching Steam with Bare Hands’ features more than thirty new works by three artists. Through the use of non-human subjects such as fictional characters, mythical creations and architectural designs, NGAI Wing Lam, YAU Kwok Keung and CHAN Wai Lap, with different artistic practices, backgrounds and modes of thinking, have come together in this exhibition to demonstrate contemporary life as a “nexus” composed of various situations and systems.

Waiting for A Girl Like You is the summary of an artistic research that incorporates numerous artistic media and disciplines. When the clear bottle beer design of the Blue Girl Beer was introduced to Hong Kong in the early 1990s, it gained a huge popularity because of its transparency through which the golden fluid could be seen. As of today, the used bottle of Blue Girl Beer remains a sought-after item among hardware stores, being the best container to showcase different industrial chemicals.

Well-informed of the marketing strategies of Blue Girl Beer, YAU Kwok Keung soon expanded his research to the making of Blue Girl Beer. The title Waiting for A Girl Like You comes from the renowned TV commercial song broadcasted world-wide in the late 20th century. YAU traces the origin of the blue girl, who is indeed the Greek goddess of Excellence Arete.

The meaning of Arete has changed over time: Apart from being a remarkable modern beverage, its earliest form in Greek simply means moral virtue. It was later regarded by Aristotle as the highest form of human knowledge (the knowledge about knowledge itself). An ancient representation of Arete can be seen today at the only surviving library from the Roman Empire, Library of Celsus, in Turkey, certainly indicating the concepts of excellence and knowledge were made correlated by man. Realising the standard of excellence is itself a construct, Yau, in a similar fashion, applies multiple artistic disciplines such as drawing, moving image, crafts and ritual to find out how concepts of excellency can be shaped and dispensed, and perhaps on a deeper level asking whose idea of excellence it is.