Spotlight

Spotlight artist Gordon Cheung

Championed by sculptor Hew Locke OBE RA
The Wick - New Order Fruit Piece (after Jan van Huysum, c. 1722), 2022
Gordon Cheung
Above  New Order Fruit Piece (after Jan van Huysum, c. 1722), 2022 Gordon Cheung
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The Wick - Spotlight artist Gordon Cheung
Above  
Interview
Gordon Cheung
20 March 2024
Interview
Gordon Cheung
20 March 2024
You could spend hours scrutinising the many layers and rich intensity of Gordon Cheung’s paintings and sculptures. The London artist – born to Chinese parents – uses the Financial Times as his base material, building up his pieces with spray paint, inkjet, acrylic and wood-block printing to critique the effects of global capitalism and the effect that power structures have on our sense of identity and belonging.

The results have a magnetic charge – one that has long attracted his champion for The Wick, the artist Hew Locke OBE RA, who has been following his work for 20 years, drawn by his masterly “combination of painterly skill and message.”
Locke himself explores how different cultures fashion their identities through symbols of authority in his sculptures, which have transformed Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries and the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Armada, his flotilla of 45 boats festooned with everything from mass produced plastic toys and decorations to jewels, charms and military badges, is currently suspended from the ceiling at the Royal Academy – a standout work in the exhibition Entangled Pasts.

Says Locke of Cheung’s work: “It is rare to see a contemporary artist who is equally knowledgeable and comfortable within both Chinese and Western cultures and histories, referencing art history and global financial narratives. His personal background and genuine sensitivity enable Cheung to play with images and ideas that in the hands of a less perceptive artist could be clumsy. The work is beautiful and radiates energy, being both playful and political. He is an artist reaching the height of his powers.”

Cheung’s family heritage has played a big influence on his work. He says: “My ancestors are from two of the oldest villages in Hong Kong and I can trace my clan heritage back 29 generations. In the 1960s my parents emigrated and in ‘75, I was born in London. Growing up in-between cultures inspires me to search my roots while reflecting on the human condition in an increasingly technologised world within the rise and fall of civilisations.”

The artist roams happily between media, constantly evolving his work. He is currently casting new sculptures in bronze and working with marble in Pietrasanta, Italy, alongside 3D printing in porcelain in Jingdezhen, China, and developing a NFT collection using AI technology. But research into historical subjects and geopolitics forms the backbone of his work, which he “weaves into its aesthetics”, as he puts it.

Catch his work Art Basel Hong Kong (26-30 March), where it will be shown by Almine Rech, Richard Koh and Galerie du Monde.

About the champion

The Wick - Hew Locke. Photo John McKenzie © 2023 Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

Hew Locke explores how different cultures fashion their identities through visual symbols of authority, and how these representations alter over the passage of time. In 2022 Locke was awarded both Tate Britain’s Duveen Hall commission and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Facade Commission, Gilt. In 2019, Locke’s solo exhibition, Here’s the Thing, opened at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK, before touring to the USA. In 2022, he was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and was awarded an OBE for Services to Art.

“Growing up in-between cultures inspires me to search my roots while reflecting on the human condition in an increasingly technologised world within the rise and fall of civilisations.”

Place of Birth

London

Education

Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins

Awards, Accolades

Richard Koh Fine Art recently featured my large-scale sculpture installation in its Platform section at ARTSG in Singapore.

Current exhibitions

Hong Kong Art Basel with Almine Rech, Richard Koh Fine Art and Galerie du Monde.
Solo show in Shanghai with Almine Rech in September.

Spiritual guides, Mentors

My friends and Youtube nerds who philosophise about films that are spiritually reflective of our human condition.

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