Every time I visit Chinatown in Vancouver, it feels like a new place. My eyes wander off the stores, restaurants, and the world entailed to them. I see tourists and bag-packers using their map and thirsty eyes anxiously trying to absorb the essence of the place. But when I see people around this place – people who live here, work here, and made this area a symbol of what it stands for today – I feel a humdrum peacefulness. I do not mean to negate the grandeur of their peaceful life here. It is serene in its every right but it remains beyond my perceptual domain. And I envy this serenity. Because it tells me how differently we exist in each other’s realities and unaware of these differences.
This is what I confronted in Tom Hsu and Lin Xin’s Everything is a façade. I found what I come across in my everyday life. But, strangely, there was something that did not feel right. All the signifiers are detached from what’s signified. It’s not a chaos, but it prevails its entropy. Tom Hsu’s photographic explorations challenged me how I perceive forms and their formations. For instance, Hsu’s Big Breakfast (2017) refers to a very personal experience that everybody can relate to their own life. But the echoes of this very personal image wander around different dimensions. The photograph reveals a carnal fulfillment, and at the same time summons for more. Exactly on its opposite, the artist attempts to questions this contentment. With a keen discomfort, Boiling (2017) initiates perhaps few of the most recurrent debates of our time. It appears as invigorating and reluctantly hints at sexual dominance. I ask myself – is the boiling of a dildo an act of purgation? Or perhaps purification? Is that a reflection of my sexual identity?
Lin Xin’s series Internal Order unfolds how time and space enfolds our existence. Our milieus do not tend to unbind us from ourselves, rather they unleash different dimensions of ourselves. The patterns in Internal Order 01 and Internal Order 03 keep holding onto each other. But they also tremble from time to time questioning their own foundation or perhaps testing their bond. Internal Order 02 defies all the order and embraces the chaos within itself. To me, this series stands out as a negotiation of differences.
Both artists are not generally known for the works that are put on this exhibition. This is not what I would term as enforced isolation caused by the curator Henry Heng Lu. Rather, I would concur it as how an act of detachment can open other realities to us. Maybe this is how one would perceive the façade of differences.
To know more about this exhibition, please visit: https://centrea.org/2019/08/everything-is-a-facade/