Installation view of HO SIN TUNGs “Swampland” at Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong, 2020. Courtesy the artist.

Hit, Fall, Fail

On January 9, your solo exhibition “Swampland” opened at Hong Kong’s Hanart TZ Gallery with drawings and installations that reflect on failed personal and collective utopias. Have you continued to think about this topic? 

What I Saw On Top of The World (2019) was a wall-mounted installation at the show. It comprises three Chinese characters,‬ 打落弊, rendered in large, gold script. The nonsensical phrase is a Cantonese transliteration of the Thai word for “forever.” My poet friend described the work as “an eternity carelessly sworn in a foreign language.” I thought I was going to be condemned by the gods for my blasphemy. At the same time, the individual characters literally translate to hit, fall, fail. Sure enough, like a self-fulfilled prophecy, since 2019 and throughout 2020, I have experienced the pain and bitterness of failure in public and in private. Instead of continuing to “think about” the topic, I would say experiencing failure is inevitable in daily life. If one is willing to do whatever it takes to reach one’s goal, besides fight, one must also endure. 

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