"To-Day Next change", a 3D photocollage art project dedicated to the HK movie theatres
In early 2017, I started to develop a deep interest for the Hong Kong cinema history and culture, through the work of local artists such as illustrator Rex Koo, through the movies, and finally, through the cinema theatres. When I discovered the endangered existence of the State Theatre on King's Road, the singular beauty of this building, no longer showing movies but still beautifully surviving the hustle and bustle, I decided to start a series dedicated to the Hong Kong movie theatres.
Like an ode to some places that might disappear in the coming decade, and to a flamboyant period (70's, 80's and mid 90's) when Hong Kong was the third cinema milestone (after Hollywood and Bollywood), I gather a collection of 3D photocollages.
Based on today's photographs, the theatres are completed with elements of the past (movie posters, street elements, people...), and references of some of the most iconic Hong Kong movies. The final reading of the multi layered and detailed artwork is confused by this mix of time periods and genre. Is this now or then? Is this real or not?
A ghostly young woman in white, dressed like in the 60's, is wandering, visiting all the theatres, and inviting the viewer to give a closer look, before leaving towards the left side of the frame, to the past, where she belongs.
Indeed, studying Hong Kong culture through its architecture and cinema, inevitably leads to some mysterious yet very popular ghosts stories. Hong Kong people strongly believe in ghosts and many movies are inspired by this popular belief. Working on that "To-Day Next change" project, I discovered that some theatres have not been demolished nor restored or turned into malls and churches, and there is no chance that they will be one day. In fact, they are "saved" for the only reason that they are supposedly haunted by ghosts who provoked some unexplained events, like fire or other dramatic accident, like the Lung Wah theatre for example. Nobody, no promoter, no matter how big the budget is, will take the risk to wake up the ghost’s fury by touching the haunted walls.
And just like this, some parts of the old Hong Kong cinema heritage are preserved.
The title of this work, "To-Day Next change" is directly inspired by the cinemas billboards of that time. Above or under the poster, these simple words indicated the current and upcoming program. This series is my current long-term project.