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Michelle Fung Harper's Bazaar_25 June 2024_thumb.jpg

below is an English translation of the interview transcript

click here or on the image to access the original interview in Chinese on Harper's Bazaar

Compared with numbers and facts, stories , music, film and

other artistic media have the ability to touch people's hearts

 

Packaging facts with absurdity is one of the characteristics of fables. The fictional countries written by Hong Kong artist Michelle Fung seem peaceful, but is full of various environmental problems, and the solutions are even more absurd. Such a bizarre scene is surprisingly similar to the reality.

 

Origin of the Work

 

Most creative inspiration comes from a sudden flash of inspiration, and Michelle's most well-known works "Plastic, plastic, every where!" and "The World of 2084" series sprouted from dreams. "In 2015, my boyfriend and I went to an outdoor cafe in Tai O, fell asleep in the hot weather, and had a unique dream. After waking up, I immediately wrote the outline of "Plastic, plastic, every where!" It also gave rise to the birth of “The World of 2084."

 

Dystopia and Reality

 

As the name suggests, “The World of 2084" is set in 2084, and the story revolves around five fictional countries: Dreamland, Northlandia, Contradictoria, The Republic of Strata and  The Aristocratic Union. Delegates from each country come up with unique ideas to solve problems such as climate change and resource shortages. The work reveals various environmental and social issues in a humorous and satirical way. For example, in order to solve the problem of waste accumulation, the country decided to let children learn to eat plastic, and "delicacies" such as "lifesafer donuts" and "marble candies.” This absurd narrative technique is inspired by Dystopian Literature. "I have always been deeply interested in dystopian literature, and I will pay attention to how authors interpret reality with stories and images. I also used it as a reference when designing “The World of 2084." The work is presented in a fictional way, but everything is based on my understanding of reality and observation of the world.

 

 

Speaking Up for the Environment

 

From "Plastic, plastic, every where!" to "The World of 2084", Michelle has been committed to bringing out the importance of environmental conservation through her works. She believes that art is one of the keys to creating change. "Miranda Lash,  the Ellen Bruss Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, mentioned that climate change is an issue that the museum industry wants to discuss in recent years, but it lacks an entry point, and art can be a platform. Compared with numbers and facts, stories , music, film and other artistic media have the ability to touch people's hearts. As an artist, I have the responsibility to promote people's dialogue on environmental issues."

 

 

The Beauty of Wood Carving

 

In addition to drawing, printmaking is also a common medium in Michelle's works. Informed by the "New Woodcut Movement" at the beginning of the last century, Michelle began to try woodcut in 2018. "At that time, I relied on a box of tools and wooden boards to create, and failed countless times during the process. I produced more than 100 woodblocks in 5 years , and later combined painting and woodcarving to form a unique technique."

 

Her award-winning work "Red Bean Stalk" is an extension of a woodcut print created by Michelle in 2023." At that time, I went to the Guanlan Printmaking Base in Shenzhen for an artist residency. It was like a printmaking library, storing many Collections from around the world, such as Japanese ukiyo-e, a style I later applied to Red Beanstalk.”

 

"Red Beanstalk" depicts the only portal to the suspended art community "Polluta". The painting explodes with different elements such as animals, clouds, mille fleurs vegetation, etc., symbolizing the scene of a hundred flowers blooming. It seems beautiful, but it hides contradictions. "The stems grow from the ground, but Polluta floats in the sky. Does this mean that the road to perfection does not exist?" Michelle did not give an answer in the end, but left space for viewers to find their own answers.

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