Au Ka Wai obtained his Bachelor & Master of Fines Arts degrees, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Chelsea College of Art & Design, London, in 1996 and 2000 respectively. In 1995, when Au was still pursuing studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, he held his inaugural solo exhibition at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, and was invited to organize another solo show the next year. Right upon graduation, his works were featured at the Hong Kong Museum of Art three times in 2 consecutive years. Au received the Fine Arts Award at the Contemporary Hong Kong Art Biennial in 1996, and he also won the Vermont Studio Center Freeman Fellowship, USA in 2002.
In the process of creating artworks, some could regard materials as a ‘tool’, used solely as a means of achieving an outcome; paying due attention to idea and form as opposed to material. Au, however, with a more avant-garde perspective, envisages the role of arts through the delicate use of materials; as he endeavours to explore the possibilities of ‘material’, to transcend his views of aesthetics.Through paper, Au stretches and expands the physicality of paper by tearing and thinning it into delicate sheathes, and lays them layer upon layer to illustrate the softness of the material- to allow the material to be viewed through another perspective, besides its usual form of manifestation.
For instance, by tearing paper into irregular shapes, and layering them into different tiers, Au not only stretches the potential of the Chinese paper, but illustrates interactivity between the visual image and spatial sculpture. Layer upon layer, line after line, Au creates a three-dimensional plane which is formed through undulating lines. Playing with the ‘softness’ and ‘hardness’ of the material, Au manipulates the papers through liberal movements, creating a structure that appears solid, or thick.
To Au Ka Wai, art need not be a means of conveying an idea or vision, one could also create art based on one’s abilities to explore the possibilities of material. The artist may express oneself through painting and sculpting, with the intention of freeing the hidden potential of material; embracing the limitless opportunities that allows the artist to manipulate and showcase its qualities. The repeated use of a single element reveals the artist’s attentiveness and absorption for his works, while unfold in the compressed space is the traces of a repetitive creation process, all done by a pair of bare yet artistic hands. In Au’s works, images of the Hong Kong local streets are made visible pieces by pieces, as a record of his ordinary days in town.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
- Yathabhutadarsana, 1996, Hong Kong Cultural Centre Exhibition Gallery
- Exhibition by Au Ka Wai, 1995, Sir Run Run Shaw Hall, Chinese University of Hong Kong
- Art Exhibition by Au Ka Wai, 1995, Hong Kong Cultural Centre Exhibition Gallery
Selected Group Exhibitions
- Four Symbols . Eight Faces, 2012, iPreciation, Hong Kong
- Cheung Yee and Hong Kong Contemporary, 2002, iPreciation, Singapore
- The 3rd International Festival of Experiment and Performance Art, 2000, Manege Central Exhibition Hall, St. Petersburg, Russia
- Chelsea 2000, MA Graduation Show, 2000, Chelsea College of Art & Design, London
- Public – Sculpture – Exhibition, 1999, Agfa Gallery, Fringe Club, Hong Kong
Images of artworks