The Empty Gallery is proud to present ‘Ancestor Bone Hug’, an exhibition of new works by Indian-American artist Amit Desai. This will be Desai’s third exhibition in Hong Kong and his second solo show at The Empty Gallery. Rejecting the notion of objective reality as inescapably wedded to Western patterns of thought, Desai’s metaphysical photographs aim to destabilize conceptual binaries such as time/space, illusion/reality and subject/object. His artistic practice investigates the nature of perception and attempts to make visible the paradoxical truths of Eastern metaphysics through a variety of media. In step with these themes, Desai’s studio sessions often take the form of ritualistic "happenings" in which photography, theater, and therapy session become indistinguishable from one another, challenging the notion of individual authorship.
For ‘Ancestor Bone Hug’, Desai has ventured beyond his preferred medium to create a suite of thematically interconnected works including installation, single-channel video, and large-format photographs. Inspired by the Hindu ritual of ‘Kapala Kriya’, the titular Bones of the exhibition are large-format photographs of human skull fragments which have been enlarged almost beyond the threshold of recognizability. At once futuristic and archaic, these luminous sheets of ivory matter, scarred and pitted through the action of time resemble asteroids floating through the darkened space of the gallery. By deciding to shatter the skull and emphasize its materiality through enlargement, Desai transforms a symbol of the individual ego and the negativity of death into a metaphor for the timelessness and generative power of the universe.
The Empty Gallery is a 3,000 square foot space located at the edge of Aberdeen Harbor in Tin Wan, Hong Kong. With a strong emphasis on the experiential and experimental, exhibitions are curated within the context of the gallery’s unique space. Founded by Stephen Cheng, the gallery showcases established and emerging artists alongside a programme of experimental and pioneering multimedia commissions, performances and music.
It features an allblack interior with a single window that frames the verdant foliage on the side of a mountain and allows a shaft of light to enter the gallery foyer. Once inside the main room, this light recedes into a black void space. The Empty Gallery’s dark space evokes an environment reflective of an underground experience, placing a focus on the exhibitions and performances, bringing the space to life through art.