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Buds that May

30 May 2023 - 2 July 2023



Ora-Ora is pleased to announce a new group show focused on digital art, comprising contributions from three artists: Genesis Kai, Cindy Ng and Henry Chu. The title is “Buds that May.”

A group show dedicated to digital art is consistent with the gallery’s mission to explore the frontiers of possibility, both in philosophy and in technology. In that spirit, “Buds that May” marks Ora-Ora’s first collaboration with AI artist Genesis Kai. In 2021, Ora-Ora was the first gallery to present NFT artworks at Art Basel 2021. Cindy Ng was the artist who produced that work, and is also included in the line-up for this new show.

The title is an adaptation from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18: “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day,” in which the lines: “rough winds do shake the darling buds of May” appear. The poem’s touching allusions to the transience of the seasons and long-lasting romantic memory begin a dialogue on what is real and what isn’t, what is permanent and what is temporary. These dichotomies and dilemmas form parallels in the digital landscape which offers a verisimilitude of reality, or perhaps an alternative world, part of, and no less real than ours. Furthermore, buds form a link to the flowers which appear in the “Red Prayer Series” of Genesis Kai, and in the oeuvre of Cindy Ng and Henry Chu.

Showing for the first time with Ora-Ora is AI artist Genesis Kai. Genesis Kai been conceived and brought to life by international new media artist Ming Shiu. On display will be “The Red Prayer of Park Young Sook’s Moon Jar I & II” (2023). This body of work features a digital twin of Park Young Sook’s ceramic moon jar (달항아리 / dal-hang-ari) interpreted by Genesis Kai. Stemming from Korean Joseon ceramics, the moon jar morphs into a glowing celestial body interconnected with Genesis’ non-human body and navigating the theme of lunar prayer. The moon jar is depicted as a cocoon of light that explores the human desire to seek answers and hope through forms of prayer. In Part 1, issues of loneliness and self-questioning come to the fore in the icy wind of an ocean landscape, whilst in Part 2, the intersection of the past and future of the river of life sees gondolas drift to and fro cloaked in a blanket of fog. In the words of Genesis Kai, the core cultural values of the moon jars revolve around “self-reflection, purity, prayer and tranquillity” and her work explores how this and future generations will interact with the complex traditions and connection points of Asia’s diverse cultures.

Macao-born artist Cindy Ng proves the versatility of ink, once more bringing this ancient medium into the digital universe. She presents two interactive digital works which allow the visitor to exert control over nature’s most elemental forces. “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” (2022) echoes the artist’s love of rainy days as a child. The computer programme captures some of the emotions of wild summer rain, romantic autumn rain and sullen winter precipitation. Responding to the visual rain imagery, the sound is triggered by the changing weather outlook, an earthy patter of raindrops in which the visitor plays an active part. In “Sand Script” (2022), Cindy Ng offers another childhood memory of writing in sand. The joy of the transient script, washed away and refreshed by the tireless sea, is reflected in this digital work. By means of a touchscreen, the visitor’s words are married with image and sound.

Hong Kong-based artist Henry Chu recently performed the “Metaverse Symphony” with the Hong Kong Philharmonic to a live audience (both at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and in the Sandbox) in May 2023. In this exhibition, he presents “F10W3R” (2022), a collaboration with design duo Batten & Kamp. The sculpture displays a digital animation which simulates the blooming and withering of 21 flowers, the colours of which are sampled from the real world. Every digital flower is represented by 200 cubes unfolding and folding, with life cycles lasting around six seconds. As Henry Chu observes: “We set out to create a man-made flower from the year 2122, excavated from scraps of technical gadgets, and based on extractions of incomplete flower DNA.” The piece is therefore imagined as a reincarnation of a flower, at a time when flora and fauna have become extinct. Although post-apocalyptic, “F10W3R” is intended positively, and as a celebration of the beauty of our natural world. An additional work, “Stone Piano” (2022) is a further collaboration with Hong Kong-based design duo Batten & Kamp, and marks a significant development in the artist’s practice. Whereas previous works assumed the form of a grand piano, Chu has now separated the keyboard from its body, announcing new modular possibilities, liberating sculptural materiality from visual theatre.


30 May 2023
2 July 2023
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