*Tear and Consume: An Art Experiment™ (2018) by Ernest Chang - Prints
This series of acrylic, glue and printed paper works referencing pop-culture including Anime and Pokemon Go, subcultures which are now ubiquitous in Hong Kong, takes aim at the heart of modern-day consumerism and our rapidly escalating obsession with validation and reward through our need to accumulate ‘things.’ The ‘experiment,’ pushes this further, with Chang willing to sacrifice these works by offering them up to the mercy of the general public, who will be granted 30 minutes during the opening night in which to tear the works in whichever way they see fit, all whilst fully documenting their experience on social media. Attendees will be required to sign a ‘Terms and Conditions’ document in order to participate, enforcing the requirement to record and disseminate the process on social media in order to ensure it generates new artistic expression.
Chang sets out to create works and an event that reflects the often voracious and cannibalistic experience in which Hong Kongers find themselves - one pressured by a society where consumerism and social endorsement are revered, despite the inherent undertone of addiction. One in which the unobtainable-to-most real estate market is overwhelming and fragmenting communities much like the artists Wan Chai home, whilst pushing the young and creative to the margins of society. And one which is rapidly fostering a disposable culture where more significance is attributed to the lifestyle to which you aspire, rather than serious investigation of the inalienable rights to which you are made to cede in which to achieve this end. The real estate flyers, the grubby detritus of a relentless pursuit of material improvement, which litter the streets outside his gallery are manifested in the works, which feature 7 layers of terms and conditions paper from such modern leviathans as Google, iCloud, WhatsApp, WeChat, PornHub, Instagram and Facebook. These sit unseen beneath the bold and delineated figures, which are intended to represent the sanitised yet vanilla perfectness of modern generated printing, but on closer inspection show themselves to be imperfect, human and impressionist in style. This intentional appearance seeks to cast doubt in the mind of the tearers, to interrogate whether they are both comfortable and happy to ‘destroy’ and consume a creative process 6 months in the making. Will the transitory significance of their social media successes negate any moral rectitude they may face in ‘consuming’ another works so completely?