Art Basel Hong Kong 2019

29 Mar – 31 Mar 2019

Lubna Chowdhary subverts the traditional context and utility of her chosen medium – clay – to address a longstanding preoccupation with urbanisation and material culture in her art. Shaped tiles, sculptural objects, and spatial installations in ceramic constitute a distinctive oeuvre that bridges the disciplines of architecture, craft, design, sculpture, and painting. 

Chowdhary’s mixed heritage – born in Tanzania to Pakistani parents who migrated to the north of England in the 1970s – brings with it the memory of richly designed spaces and varied urban landscapes. In her work, she assimilates ideas and aesthetics from Eastern and Western worlds and examines the relationships between them, contrasting languages of ‘Horror Vacui’ (fear of empty space), commonly attributed to the visual traditions of the East, and the economy of Western Modernism. 

At Art Basel Hong Kong, Chowdhary presents a new body of work inspired by the architectural diversity of a sprawling Asian metropolis. Certain Times, a series as well as a site-specific installation, echoes the plurality of our built environment, offering a utopian vision in which cross-cultural confluence and fertilization are celebrated.

A body of tableaux on shelves are tightly installed in a line to recall a city skyline with its characteristically hybrid architecture. The tableaux bring together multiple two-dimensional pieces, made using industrial processes or moulded entirely by hand, many of which are carefully overlapped. The pieces operate in a space between painting and sculpture: their surfaces carry the softness and irregularity of vibrant hand glazes, testimony to the artist’s expert handling of colour. Special attention is paid to building, ordering, composing, and accumulating elements that are often metaphorical, but sometimes reference real objects, buildings and places. 

This is the first time Lubna Chowdhary’s work will be presented in Hong Kong.