How can people tell if a work is by Tang Kwok-hin?
They can tell from my frequent appropriation of objects. I bring unrelated things together and transform their predefined nature into something else.
When did you begin to focus on appropriation?
I think it’s the first year of my MFA programme. Lee Kit was drinking a lot of wine at the time – and so I did too. I began to pay attention to the design of wine labels, becoming especially interested in the predefined information given out by graphics.
Describe your work with one phrase.
What kinds of media do you usually work in?
I use everything. My mixed-media work is conceptual-based.
Where can collectors find your work?
Collectors tend to prefer my two-dimensional works and contact me through Amelia Johnson Contemporary, which keeps on presenting two or three shows of my work every year. Apart from that, I exhibit my more experimental – and unsaleable – works in a lot of other places too.
Did you ever manage to sell an unsaleable work?
I sold what was originally a pile of rubbish at my Goethe-Gallery exhibition [last year] – I just turned it into an artwork. It’s called Bodies. I was so happy it’s being collected.
What’s the most memorable encounter you’ve experienced as an artist?
Once I helped out a Singaporean artist at the Guangzhou Triennial. When we visited a dubious massage parlour after work, I had a strange encounter in a private room: it turned out that the massage girl was pretty good at sketching (but quite bad at doing massage). I ended up paying her to do a sketch of me instead.
Tell us about your latest show.
As part of ART HK 12, I’m having a solo exhibition, titled I Call you Nancy(through May 26), at Mandarin Oriental’s Clipper Lounge.
What’s this exhibition about?
It’s actually about my mother. She had an abortion some 25 years ago, and this show is hypothetically recreating the entire life of this child – had it lived.