How do you put your City In Focus – especially when you feel stranded in it for the last 2 years?
This is the question that immediately came to mind when I was informed about “City In Focus”, the theme of the 2021 Cathay Camera Club exhibition, in which I was partaking. Those who know me, are aware that my work has a documentary aspect, focusing more on people; so, to focus in a City would be a struggle for me, even before Covid-19 hit. Giorgio De Chirico was my deus ex machina. He’s undoubtedly one of the most important modern painters, the precursor of Surrealism and one of my favorite artists.
I immediately remembered his words: “The structure of cities, the architecture of houses, squares, gardens, public walks, gateways, railway stations, etc – all these provide us with the basic principles of a great Metaphysical aesthetic… We, who live under the sign of the Metaphysical alphabet, we know the joy and sorrows to be found in a gateway, a street corner, a room, on the surface of a table, between the sides of a box…”.
The body of work presented for the Cathay Camera Club 2021 exhibition was an elementary study of Giorgio De Chirico’s early Metaphysical work, between 1913 and 1916. A modern transformation of a 100-year-old painting into today’s photography, edited to match De Chirico’s vision. With people strategically placed into a vast cityscape. It is a Hong Kong interpretation of some of his masterpieces painted in Italy. Because the Metaphysical aspect of a city has no time limits; no geographical restrictions.
“Everything has two aspects; the current aspect, which we see nearly always and which ordinary men see, and the ghostly and metaphysical aspect, which only rare individuals may see in moments of clairvoyance and metaphysical abstraction.”
Giorgio De Chirico, Jul 10, 1888 – Nov 20, 1978
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