In 2022, Hong Kong artist Tik Ka held an exhibition titled “Gazing into the sky…” in Hong Kong documenting his experiences of relocating from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom and the feelings of leaving his homeland. Centered around the theme of “clouds”, the exhibition conveyed the unpredictability of life. Settling in a serene independent house in the fresh and tranquil English garden, away from the dense concrete forest of Hong Kong, he found the vast space and boundless sky to be a refreshing experience. Each day, he enjoyed lying in a corner of the garden, watching the ever-changing white clouds, reminiscing about the rapidly transforming generations, recalling Hong Kong and missing the past. This inspired the conceptual theme of his exhibition “Changes in appearance. Changes in situation…”
Fast forward to 2024, Tik Ka presents his first solo exhibition in London, titled “Smoke gets in your life”, marking 2 years since his previous exhibition. From the point of departure to the destination, he meticulously records the contrasting environments, rhythms and cultural lives, sharing his insights into changes. Echoing his exhibition in 2022, the title is inspired by the lyrics of a Cantonese classic by Anita Mui “Years flowing like water”. From the expansive clouds in the sky of the past to today’s wisps of smoke, he reflects on how to navigate through the emotions of meeting and parting.
Please briefly introduce yourself.
I am TikKa, an artist from Hong Kong. I have previously created works that blend Eastern and Western cultures, primarily focusing on paintings. I have also collaborated with commercial entities on art projects. My works have been exhibited in solo exhibitions and group exhibitions in places such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Paris.
What are the differences between creating art in the UK and creating art in Hong Kong?
The biggest difference is a change in mindset. Moving from Hong Kong to live in the UK has brought about significant changes in all aspects of life. Regarding artistic creation, this impact has expanded the creative space, enriching ideas and inspiration compared to before.
What is the theme of this exhibition?
The theme of the exhibition revolves around impermanence and change. It reflects the changes experienced in Hong Kong over the past few years, including dispersion and adjustment to entirely different living environments. Facing change, the exhibition explores the realization of impermanence. Clouds, smoke, and similar elements symbolize emptiness, change, and dissipation. It questions how we should approach all these changes, both tangible and abstract.
The exhibition features two series of works, one in grayscale and the other in colour. Why this concept?
This exhibition combines two phases of the same series of works, created at different stages after living in the UK for three years. The first phase, in grayscale, reflects adaptation to change, experiencing lows, and contemplating impermanence. It suggests that despite facing the bleakness of impermanent changes, there is an eternal belief or value deep within us. This stage prompts reflection on the impermanence of worldly affairs.
In the subsequent phase, the works gradually become colorful, symbolizing a perspective on life derived from contemplating impermanence and change. Knowing that the world is constantly changing, should we not cherish what is before us, our loved ones, friends, etc., as everything can change or disappear in an instant?
Acrylic with gold leaf on canvas
60 x 60 x 3.8 cm
How do you choose the elements for your creations? For example, the grayscale series features cartoon or movie characters, while the color series focuses on objects. Do they hold any special significance for you?
In the past, the works in the first phase were primarily based on my own experiences and the cultural influences of anime, movies, etc. It was a process of self-reflection. In the subsequent phase, I expanded the focus to encompass the cultural experiences of the masses, incorporating memories of the past, hopes for the future, and the steps we take in life. Everything we encounter in the past has shaped who we are today, but every moment of ourselves is also changing, just like every person and environment.
Is there any special meaning behind the incorporation of gold and gold leaf in each piece?
In each painting, different color tones are used, but a portion of the entire series is adorned with gold leaf. Gold, among the myriad of colors, symbolizes preciousness and rarity. These golden hues represent our core values, or amidst the impermanent changes over time, there are certain beliefs and values that remain eternal. Just as humanity throughout history has pursued truth, goodness, and beauty, these are our most precious possessions. Every object, culture, and so forth, carries its enduring core values, which can stand the test of time. Truth, goodness, and beauty are defined by everyone’s hearts.
What messages do you hope the audience will receive from the exhibition?
Through familiar cultural references, the exhibition conveys weighty messages to the audience. I believe everyone has their own thoughts on change and impermanence. The exhibition aims to remind everyone to live in the moment and cherish what they have.