Dr. HO, Siu-kee

 洪強作品中的現實與不現實

The Real and Unreal in Hung Keung’s works

看洪強的作品,總有如虛似幻的感覺,儘管,他的作品由取材以至場景選擇,很多時都來自現實生活。

《樓上|樓下》是洪強新近的錄象作品,不過,說是錄象,又不完全恰當,因為在近七分鐘的作品裏,八成是由硬照拼合而成的片段。畫面從現實的連續動態中被切斷、抽離與重組,無疑為觀眾營造了與現實不一樣的知覺經驗,構成了不一樣的現實。

《樓上|樓下》的主要情節,是一個女性角色,穿著多套左右半身各象徵不同身份的服式,在旺角一帶的新舊樓宇間上下流連。左右不均的異服在不同場景中穿梭更替,據作者說,這分別代表了十二種身份,包括化裝小姐、性工作者、家庭主婦、學生妹、地盤工人、OL、南亞裔人士、茶餐廳待應、售貨員、少婦、作中性打扮的人、阿嬸。只是,這些零碎的影象拼合,又不能算是甚?情節,作者亦一再?調,他的興趣不在於拍攝具社會批判意味的紀錄片或是寫實劇情片。

看洪強的錄象作品,感覺更近於看歐洲巴洛克時期的繪畫,作者對營造畫面光色氣氛的興趣,似乎遠超過對現實題材的關注。現實的題材,可能只為作品提供一個起步點;視覺的詮釋,或許更能將作品導向一個抽離於現實、一個直接挑動作者與觀眾內心的私密世界。

試圖進入洪強作品的私密世界,有兩點(又可能是一點的兩面)我最感興趣:一是作品中的女性角色;二是作品本身的陰柔特質。

在《樓上|樓下》的女性角色雖然被作者刻意安排喬裝易服作不同打扮,但實際上仍脫不掉時下年青人潮流雜誌中的女性典型,青春、叛逆、還有一種與實際年紀並不相配的艷,這除了反映作者在選角上的喜好以至流行文化的影響外,裏面亦可能投射了作者對女性的某種觀點。在洪強另一件較早期作品《神遊》中,角色雖然是一個上了年紀的婦人(是洪強母親),但前述的女性典型,仍是有跡可尋。透過角色對夢境的讀白,一種想飛、想擺脫羈絆但又徬惶無措的情緒相當明顯,只是「與實際年紀並不相配的艷」,就更深層地顯現為一種不服氣的倔強。此種女性典型不一定出於作者有意識的營造,但總覺得這方面的探討在洪強作品中仍有很大的發揮空間。

我認識的洪強有他相當陰柔細膩的一面,這或許與他的名字並不相配,但卻恰當地反映在他的作品之中。在《樓上|樓下》中好些驀然回首、輕扣(解)羅衣的畫面,亦容易令人聯想到五代詞人的綺麗詞風。我想,作者在運用這些影象時或有一定的象徵意義,但作為觀眾,我似乎沒有很大意欲去深究其竟,大概畫面所形構的氣質氛圍,已蓋過了它所要指涉的世情現實 – 那十二種角色身份。

假如潮流雜誌中的模特兒與自己的母親同是洪強作品中女性典型的現實參照,一種並不現實、透過影象處理而呈現的氣質氛圍,就為作者與這種女性典型的親密共處,提供一個更為隱閉迷離的私人世界。

Hung Keung’s works somehow manage to give a sense of the unreal, though from theme to setting, they are often based on the real life.

Upstairs/Downstairs is his latest video work. Well, not exactly a video work. In this almost 7 minute long work, 80% of the footage is made up of a collage of stills. The frame is a reconstruction of a sliced up reality that is alienated. It does give the viewers a sensual experience different from real-life, thus creating a different reality.

Most of the time, Upstairs/Downstairs shows a female character in various dichotomic costumes, the distinctive left and right side of which represents a distinctive role, roaming up and down the old and new buildings in Mongkok. These dichotomic costumes are seen in and out of the various settings. According to the auteur, they make up twelve personalities, namely a cosmetic saleslady, a sex worker, a housewife, a student, a construction site worker, an office lady, a South Asian ethnic, a restaurant waiter, a salesperson, a young wife, a man in unisexual attire, and a middle-aged woman. A collage of broken images doth not a plot make. But then the authur often reiterates it is not his interest to make a critical documentary or cinema verite.

Watching Hung Keung’s video work is like looking at paintings of the European Rococo period. He is more interested in mise-en-scene, the composition of light, colour and ambience than the realist theme. The realist theme serves only as a starting point for the work; the visual interpretation, alienated from reality, directly evokes the secret world of the auteur and the viewers.

In the attempt to enter Hung Keung’s secret world in his work, I am more interested in two points (may very well be two sides of the same coin): one is the female character in his work,; and the second is the feminine characteristics in the work itself.

Though deliberately put into different disguises, he female character in Upstairs/Downstairs still carries a look of the modern woman typical in vogue magazines, young, rebellious and a glamour beyond her age. Besides a reflection of the auteur’s preference in casting and the influence of pop culture, it can also be a projection of how the auteur sees woman. In his earlier work Transmigration, the character is a woman more advanced in age (Hung Keung’s mother), but there is still traces of the above described archetype in her. In the character’s monologue on her dreams, the desire to fly away, to break away and the hesitation is obvious. “The glamour beyond her age”, then, is more like stubbornness, a refusal to succumb. This female archetype may not be a deliberate creation, but I think there is room for exploration in this direction in Hung Keung’s works.

The Hung Keung I know does have a feminine and delicate side, though it doesn’t fit his name (the name Hung Keung in Chinese has a strong sense of masculinity), it is appropriately reflected in his works. Some flashbacks and disrobing scenes in Upstairs/Downstairs evoke the ornate Five Dynasties lyrics. I think that there must be some symbolic meaning behind this visual manipulation, but as a viewer, I don’t have too great a desire to go deep into it. The ambience exudes from the frame has overwhelmed the real world it depicts – the twelve roles.

If the model of vogue magazine and his mother are the real world prototypes for the female in Hung Keung’s works, the unreal ambience created through visual manipulation provides a reclusive and elusive, and intimate private world for the auteur and this female archetype.

“the lab” brings you local video/film artists’ old and new works starts from this Jan. Hung Keung is the artist-in-focus in this August. Please refer to P.XX for details.

文 /Text: 何兆基 / Dr. HO, Siu-kee
前香港藝術中心藝術學院高級講師 / 藝術碩士課程主任。
Former Senior Lecturer / MFA Course Coordinator, The Art School, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2005

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