I Haven’t Said Goodbye Yet, 2021
Oil on canvas
About the Artist
Igor Chan (b. 1998, Hong Kong) produces constructions of tertiary reality, analysing boundaries between the rational and emotional. Chan’s works initially appear derived from logical observation, accurately capturing the mundane motifs of urban life. Yet, this illusion of distant examination quickly dissolves: the artist reveals his hand by toying with blank space and opacity, also poignantly commenting on the filters and omissions of contemporary media. Chan further reveals traces of human agency in his subject matter: the dull objects he depicts act as deposits of tension, storing struggles of the personal, collective, and environmental. These simple symbols take on even sharper meaning during times of social unrest, bottling omnipresent feelings of nostalgia and camaraderie. Testing the illusions of objectivity and reality, Chan captures the ritualistic and binding, establishing spaces for interrogation and reflection.
About the Artwork
I Haven’t Said Goodbye Yet is inspired by my friend who moved to Germany in 2019. He took a picture of a phone booth in Germany and sent it to me. I’ve started painting phone booths since my undergraduate studies. The phone booth is an icon in Hong Kong’s streets. Even though it is still present today, it is also an expiring icon because no one uses phone booths anymore. To me, the phone booth represents a space of forgetting and neglect. I like to imagine who would still go to a phone booth, and why would they even go there in the first place. This painting investigates the difficulty of human connection, and the barriers that separate us across space. I find it fascinating how phone booths serve as a bridge of communication, but also feel so isolated in their box-shaped, Hopper-like structure.