Fascinated by the untrodden areas of the city, Wong Sze Wai exercises her powerful imagination to construct an idiosyncratic “wonderland of daydream” transcending time and space on her canvases. In Wong’s recent body of works, she envisages the history and by-gone tales of Hong Kong by depicting the overlooked quadrants of the metropolis, aiming to explore the intimate relationship between memory and imagination. Drawing inspirations from the ancient Chinese murals in the Dunhuang Caves and the Medieval murals in Eastern Europe, Wong deploys mineral colors and delicate brushstrokes to render a sense of nostalgia in her artworks, evoking the ruminations of the possible past.
Wong’s artworks are closely related to Hong Kong's modern livelihood. Various daily objects, such as blue and white tarpaulin, discarded fences, bricks and plastic chairs, are seen scattered on the undulating hills in the paintings, reminiscent of mystical treasures hidden in the woods to be excavated. Layers of clay applied on the canvases reveal a touch of rawness, which reinforce the otherworldliness and whimsicality of the hidden city spots. Wong's paintings, in this sense, turn into tranquil yet spirited lands of wonder, bursting with the vitality of human lives. By exhibiting the untrodden haven of mysteries with a futuristic vision, the artist invites her audience to leave behind the complications of society, view the material world with a peaceful mind and roam the intersecting realms of reality and imagination. In turn, Wong brings us onto a soul-searching journey that allows us to reflect upon ourselves, and ponder on our relationships with the greater spectacle.
Wong Sze Wai (b.1990) was born and raised in Hong Kong. She graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2013 and a Master of Fine Arts in 2020. She went to Shangri-la to further her studies in 2016 and participated in an artist residency in Bulgaria in 2018. She is currently teaching at the Fine Art Department of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She participated in exhibitions in Hong Kong, Italy, Amsterdam, and Bulgaria, including: “The Missing Operator” (Art Central Solo Project, Contemporary by Angela Li, 2022), “Celebrating 40 Years, Friends of Art Museum, CUHK” (Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery, Hong Kong, 2021), “Future of the Past” (Contemporary by Angela Li, Hong Kong, 2021), “Invisible Border of Memories” (Art Projects Gallery, Hong Kong, 2021), “Shining Moment” (TANG Art Foundation, Hong Kong, 2021), “HKFOREWORD20” (10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong, 2020), “Make _ art Not War [T/F]” (Osage, Hong Kong, 2020), “Line In Motions – East meets West” (CBK Zuidoost, Amsterdam, 2018), “Word of Co. Open Studio Day” (Място 167, Bulgaria), “Elements - From Space to Space” (Palazzo Ca’Zanardi, Italy, 2017), Amsterdam Art Exhibition of CUHK AAFAA 2015 (Dokzaal, Amsterdam, 2015).