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Inauspicious Symbol

[07.11.23 – 20.12.23]


Ellen Pau


totalab, Room 302, Building 5, No.8 Hengshan Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai

(Related files)

Kiang Malingue is pleased to present “Inauspicious Symbol”, Hong Kong media art pioneer Ellen Pau’s first exhibition in Shanghai.

The exhibition premieres Speculative Generations of Flora 0 (2023), the latest chapter of the “Speculative Flora” series of video installations started eight years ago. Focusing on bauhinia x blakeana, the floral emblem of Hong Kong, the series explores the history and present life of this particular species through historical research, genetic analyses, and technological imaginations, likening the strange origin of the flower to the fate of Hong Kong. Also included in the exhibition is a series of representative artworks from 1980s and 1990s, such as the super-8 film Glove (1984), which is Pau’s first artwork ever published. It was screened in independent film festivals in the early years and was rarely publicly exhibited. This exhibition will also present new iterations of some of Pau’s important works from the 1990s, including the video installation Vogue (1991), which was part of the historical exhibition “City Vibrance: Recent Works in Western Media by Hong Kong Artists” in 1992, and Pledge (1995), which was shown at the influential 1995 Gwangju Biennial “InfoART”, curated by Namjune Paik and Kim Honghee. The exhibition is also accompanied by a new essay on Pau by Anthony Yung, Senior Researcher of Asia Art Archive.

(About Ellen Pau)

One of the most influential pioneering video artists in Hong Kong, Ellen Pau (b. 1961, Hong Kong) raises our awareness of our own physical presence and ignites a contemplation of what it means to be, to exist, here, now, and beyond that, the space each of us occupies. Born in Hong Kong and a graduate from Hong Kong Polytechnic University with a diploma in Diagnostic Radiography in 1982, Pau has worked as a radiographer in Queen Mary Hospital before being plunged into the Hong Kong art scene by her intense interest in video art, new media art, as well as other art forms such as music, poems and performances. In 1986, she co-founded Videotage, Hong Kong’s oldest video artist collective and earliest archive for media art, with Wong Chi Fai, May Fung and Comyn Mo. In 1996, she founded Microwave International New Media Arts Festival, an annual event that consists of exhibitions, conferences, seminars, and workshops, bringing art experiences to thousands of Hong Kong audiences. Pau has served as as a council leader of the Film and Media Arts sector at the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and a member of the acquisition committee of M+ in West Kowloon Cultural District.

Pau’s works have been extensively exhibited worldwide in film festivals and art exhibitions, including: Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong (2021); Para Site, Hong Kong (2018); Taiwan International Documentary Festival, Taipei (2018); M+, Hong Kong (2015); Sydney International Film Festival, Sydney (2004); Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (2003); Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju (2002); New York Independent Film Festival, New York (2001); Hong Kong International Film Festival, Hong Kong (1990, 1993, 1997 & 2000); Johannesburg Biennale, Johannesburg (1997); Guggenheim, Bilbao (1996); Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Lisbon (1996); 8th International Film Festival for Women, Madrid (1992), among others. In 2001, Recycling Cinema (1998), one of Pau’s most significant video installations, was premiered at the Hong Kong Pavilion in the 49th Venice Biennale. In 2022, Pau was commissioned to create The Shape of Light (2022) for M+ Façade.