Popo-Post Migration Centre 

포포-포스트 전송센터

2023.05.05. - 2023.05.28.

Artist. Popo-Post Art Group

Producer. Minsu Oh
Media equipment. all-media
Graphic design. Yubin Park
Cantonese translation. Yolan
English translation. Gyeongtak Lee

Hosted by Philosopher's Stone
Supported by Arts Council Korea and Hong Kong Arts Development Council

The principles of cement

“We forgot our purest intentions.”

This is the statement that introduces an exhibition by the Popo-Post Art Group, a collective of artists who came together when they couldn't afford their own studio or build their exhibition careers. Instead, in 2018, they formed a collective and used a messaging app as their communal space. However, they faced challenges such as a lack of storage space for their art pieces and a place to eat. In 2022, they were finally able to set up a studio in the Kwun Tong District of Hong Kong, which marked a significant change from their initial focus on using digital spaces. They stated that this move to a physical studio allowed them to reconnect with their purest intentions.

The Popo-Post Art Group has been exploring the relationship between themselves and the international financial district where they reside, and the sensory experiences that emerge from that relationship. The group's five members examine their own sensory experiences in modern-day Hong Kong, where the city has launched a "Hello Hong Kong" campaign aimed at attracting tourists from around the world. Through this exhibition, they offer a glimpse into their collective confessions and reflections on this relationship.

  Lam Ka Man (林嘉文) has created a work entitled Unreachable Place [無法到達的地方], which consists of a drawing and an exhibition blueprint kit. The drawing features a train-like procession of people depicted on a tiny scroll and hung on the exhibition wall. Lam cut the exhibition blueprint, which was printed on transparent film, into pieces and placed them in a plastic bag to create a kit that was also hung over the drawings. The procession of humans and vehicles is portrayed as strange, legendary animals, while the fragmented exhibition blueprint resembles a kaleidoscope instead of clearly marking the location of each artwork. This work reflects the reality that movement and location do not necessarily guarantee any informational value.

  Louis Wong (黃俊傑) presents Paradox, a video installation work that includes a 4-channel video and curtains. Wong drew inspiration from the Gong Guo Ge (功過格), a logbook in which Ming Dynasty scholars recorded their daily good and bad deeds. Through this work, the artist reflects on the morality of two countries, the border between a nation and its people, and examines the exclusivity that arises in between. In the 4-channel video, the artist wears a t-shirt with the words "Hello Hong Kong," the Hong Kong government's tourism promotion slogan, as if welcoming Korean and Chinese tourists. Behind Wong's gesture, which appears to be a "good deed" from the outside, he hides a phrase printed in luminous light on a tote bag, implicitly asking Koreans if they could treat foreigners the way they were welcomed at the airport. Behind his smiling face, he bows with a distant expression, revealing the contradictory attitude of Hong Kong people towards Chinese, who have the most significant influence in Hong Kong's tourism industry.

  Ma Wick (馬域) exhibited a series of drawings called Flying zi2 [飛子] at the exhibition. The drawings were made with pastels and graphite and were installed throughout the exhibition hall. Ma sees communication as the deciphering of metaphors, and for him, both poetry and painting are attempts to pioneer both mentally and emotionally imperfect states, as well as an attempt to admit such a state. The drawings in the series consist of abstract color fields or seed wing drawings that serve as metaphors for the sense of déjà vu or vague emotions that one feels when arriving at a specific place. Ma also left his fingerprints on the walls and floors of the exhibition hall, which adds a personal touch and allows the audience to share his mixed feelings about the space.

  Aaron Lam (林國鑫) has created an installation titled We Are the World, which features table top flag holders commonly used to display flags at global meetings of world leaders. The artist has modified the original flat bottom of the flag holders by replacing it with a hemispherical one and arranging them in a circular form. The installation symbolizes the current state of international relations and borders that are becoming increasingly unpredictable and unstable. The circular formation of the flag holders gets scattered when touched, serving as a metaphor for the fragility of global unity.

  Cheong Wing Shan (鍾詠珊) is exhibiting two works in this exhibition: an LED light installation called To the Unknown I [前往不明之地 I] and a single-channel video called To the Unknown II [前往不明之地 II]. To the Unknown I [前往不明之地 I] features two green LED lights installed on the exhibition hall's windows, with a sentence resembling a PR slogan from a public institution reading “Imagine bold! Let’s create the future” in Cantonese and Korean. In To the Unknown II [前往不明之地 II], the artist shows the landscape of roads where cars and trains pass by. The narration reads that the road that brings travelers to their desired destination within a shorter time frame creates a faster city, while a faster city brings us a faster future, and such speed would enable us to rule the future. Cheong's works exude kitschy lighting fixtures that can be found in many parts of the city, reflecting a sense of abundant anticipation towards the future overlapped with the road landscape and a solid trust in speed both inside and outside the exhibition hall.

  The exhibition hall is filled with a myriad of themes, including the crossing of borders by foreigners, the intersection of geopolitics and tourism, public institutions’ call for speed, and a persistent feeling of deja vu. The Popo-Post Art Group acknowledges that their original intention caused these feelings, and that changing their approach is the outcome of experiencing those same feelings. The city they operate in lacks adequate studio space and is plagued by environmental pollution and poverty issues. While imagining either a utopia or dystopia is unappealing, it begs the question: did the collective really have a choice? If their original intention was to stand out in a city with limited options, then their shift in perspective may have also been a choice from a few available options.

The collective's sense of humor acts as a cement filling the gaps in their imagination about the city. The journey from WhatsApp to their studio in Kwun Tong represents the gaps they discovered in the city. This may be why Popo-Post Art Group introduces itself with the phrase "HIGH-QUALITY CEMENT (100% 文化水泥)". Cement is shapeless, but it fills the gaps and takes on a specific form once it cures. Similarly, the collective's initial intentions may change, as if it's a principle they follow.

Text by Moon-seok Yi

Translated by Gyeongtak Lee

Popo-Post Art Group (後後後藝術群)

Popo-Post Art Group is an artist collective founded in 2018 that is currently active mainly in Hong Kong. The group prides itself on having relative freedom in the composition and operation of its members. Initially, the collective claimed to use WhatsApp, a mobile messenger app, as its headquarters. However, they have since established a studio in Kwun Tong District and continue to engage in creative activities.

In the densely populated city of Hong Kong, Popo-Post Art Group invites audiences to become active participants in their artworks through flexible installation works, plays and games, and temporary service platforms. Their work includes Real Estate Zine - Bedtime Story (2019, JCCAC, Hong Kong), an installation consisting of leasing flyers and a booklet about getting a good night's sleep, which comments on the city's overheated real estate market. They also created Post contemporary Game Zone (2020, online), a flash game developed using Adobe Flash (which ended its service in 2020), distributed on the web as a means of communication for audiences during the pandemic shutdown. Their latest project, Mist Service (2022, Mist Gallery, Hong Kong), transformed a gallery in an old shopping center into a service center offering visitors services such as sewing clothes, nail art, and massage. Popo-Post Art Group has planned and produced multiple exhibitions, events, and publications.

In this exhibition, the members of Popo-Post Art Group include Lam Ka Man (林嘉文), who works at the M+ Museum of Visual Culture. Louis Wong (黃俊傑) describes his artistic direction as "issue-based art" and focuses on the relationship between art, life, and society by observing everyday life. Ma Wick (馬域) metaphorically conveys feelings of incompleteness and looseness through poetry and drawings based on personal experiences. Aaron Lam (林國鑫) sees personal experiences and social phenomena as interconnected, creating impulses and identities that he uses as themes in his art. Cheong Wing Shan (鍾詠珊) believes that a sense of camaraderie arises through collective activities and is interested in examining the geopolitical boundaries of Hong Kong through a historical and geographical lens. Together, the members showcase individual approaches infused with a sense of humor, depicting the fantasy and shadow of Hong Kong's urban culture.


Photo : Seungwook Yang