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HUNG Keung

Heart Sutra × Grain Rain

Digital installation with moving image and sound



            Hong Kong artist Hung Keung has a longstanding interest in Chinese ink art and calligraphy He views Chinese characters as much more than text in 2D and passive written form. With their unique pictorial composition and symbolic significance throughout history, these characters can be regarded through an artistic lens as active and living entities with temperaments of their own. Hung aims to explore the possibilities of personifying characters and having them react to their surroundings with genuine feeling. Through this approach, he hopes to tell stories about the emotional lives of ordinary humans.

            Grain Rain is the final solar term in spring, marking the time when seedlings are first planted in the fields and the crops are newly sown. As the plants require the moisture of rain the most, there was a suggestion that “spring rain is as precious as oil.” Grain Rain signifies “rain gives birth to hundreds of grains.” The arrival of this solar term means that the cold wave weather has passed, and the temperature is rising faster. By this time, the farmers have completed the spring ploughing, the rice has formed young ears, and the fields require more water to nourish the crops. Therefore, abundant rainfall is essential.

            The Grain Rain Series depicts the dynamic transformations of flowers in high temperatures, emphasizing the interconnectedness between matter, the natural environment, and the perspectives involved. The anthropomorphized Chinese characters vividly capture the intricate interplay of the surrounding environment, human emotions and the ever-changing forces of nature.

            In this installation, Grain Rain and Heart Sutra will engage in a mutual dialogue, exploring the concepts of “observation” and “illumination”. The flowing Chinese characters of the sutra will be "observed" and simultaneously, the act of reading will find to be “illuminated” not only within the mirror but also beyond it.

    Dr. HUNG Keung

            Hung Keung’s innovative practice involves working and researching across a range of media, including interactive performance, moving images, photography, experimental ink painting, installation and writing. Alongside his individual practice and research, he also, since 2005, leads a research lab “imhk lab,” a research initiative focusing on the design and creation of new media art and examines the relationship between Chinese philosophy and interactivity.

            Hung has successfully demonstrated how Chinese conceptual philosophy can be integrated with digital media technology in his digital media art. Hung’s artworks provide a novel way of defining the relationship between traditional Chinese art theory and contemporary art practice. His pieces address themes relating to history, as well as the effects of modernisation, urbanisation, and globalisation on societies and cultures, both locally and internationally.