跨越2018到2019年，藝術界絕不可能錯過小克，香港著名漫畫家的展覽。其展覽作品帶動全城的熱烈討論，讓我們反思藝術的價值和本質。展覽標題「Affordable Art Like」中的「Affordable」，有著實惠的意思，好讓觀眾去思考作品的價值，自行判斷是否多麼的實惠。一直以漫畫為名的小克，現在亦能賦予他多一個藝術家的身分。以「聾貓」為漫畫和此作品系列的主題，小克特意採用它來喚起香港人的共鳴。聾貓乃是小克的最經典的主題。在此系列裡，聾貓仍然擁有圓潤的特徵，以生氣蓬勃的姿態來模仿人類性格與特徵，正正描述和反映香港人的縮影。
在「Affordable Art Like」展覽中的二次作品確能促使我們去敏銳思考畫作的重要性和藝術市場價值。當然，匿名藝術家的作品沒有正規的歷史背景，但仔細研究便會發現每幅畫都擁有高度的靈氣和質量，同時，亦應該能通過一般評核藝術價值的幾個要素。那幾個要素包括：起源、狀況、真實性，曝光時間及質量。經典紀錄片《中國梵高》便是一個貼切的例子來呈現大芬村匿名藝術家多年沈澱的傑出技巧。這系列是以油畫展出，而作為傳統藝術媒體的一種，也是經常與畫廊及拍賣行等場地掛勾的。話雖如此，有這樣的批判思考都是源於這個展覽來激發的，讓觀眾去思索誰才有這個權力去判斷這些畫的價值。
Bridging 2018 to 2019 certainly includes an outstanding, controversial and popular exhibition by Siu Hak, a reputable Hong Kong based comic artist. Titled “Affordable Art Like”, it entails a vivid conversation and dialogue that questions the value of art. Respected and widely known for his comic works, this exhibition certainly adds a new identity, an artist, for the comic illustrator. While “Panda-a-Panda” is an ubiquitous character and signature of Siu Hak’s work, he intentionally incorporates such rich character to evoke a deeper resonance with his viewers. Panda-a-Panda continues to be an essential part of his oeuvre, as the highly animated and illustrated panda possess humanistic quality and personality. Composed of rounded features with distinctive comic brushstrokes, Panda-a-Panda emulates humanistic gestures in daily mundane and stressful situations, an animated epitome of Hong Kong citizens.
In his recent exhibition, Siu Hak carefully moulded a platform that gives attention to anonymous painters from Dafen Oil Painting Village, as well as Panda-a-Panda. Presented at the 海港城。美術館 Gallery By the Harbour, the series evokes our initiative to question the nature of art. In particular, a few of the paintings contains symbolism of the digital world, which in turn asks us to evaluate the inclusion and impact of social media in relationship with art creation. As part of his creating process, Siu Hak brought a lot of paintings from the infamous Dafen Oil Painting Village, an active community in Shenzhen with artists that can easily paint requested paintings that buyers consider fake, touristy and cliche. With these paintings, Siu Hak then painted the panda as an add on. Together, the appropriated version of the oil painting collapses with the concept of the digital world. The digital, something that is intangible has since been well represented using visual symbols, such as two blue ticks that translates as well received. Yet, it still takes the form of the traditional, a canvas, a two-dimensional medium to express profound messages.
“Sealed with a Bit”, an acrylic and oil painting is a fine example that translates the impact of symbols. Composed of a landscape background, with artistic style similar of the Impressionist, the bottom right corner shows an ubiquitous symbol of the “read” status. Look beyond the visual representation, the oil painting celebrates the dexterity of the anonymous painter. Simultaneously, the painting extends the reality of the digital world. As we take multiple photos daily, one can suggests we are creating art by the second. Anonymity not only applies to painters from Dafen Village, but also creators from the digital platforms. Intentionally exhibited at the Gallery by the Harbour in Hong Kong, the location of the series can be interpreted as a chance to bridge Hong Kong with the world of Dafen Village. It alludes an opportunity to offer proper ownership, respect and honour for the thousands of artistic painters who may likely be unrecognised for the rest of their lives.
While some may argue ownership and authority of these recreated classical works, upon close inspection, they do maintain a certain degree of spirituality and quality. Despite a lack in historical ownership, these works of art would likely pass 3 of the 5 main factors that determines the value of art. The factors includes provenance, condition, authenticity, exposure and quality. The infamous documentary on the “Chinese Van Gogh” is an excellent example that shows their gifted talent, accompanied by the years of practice and commissions.
With Affordable Art Like, the exposure of these recreated works critically questions the significance and market value of these works. While the value of art is often associated with the represented of galleries and auction houses, this series evokes our critical thinking in determining who has the actual authority to state the actual value of these works.
As Susan Sontag states, “real art has the capacity to make us nervous. By reducing the work of art to its content and then interpreting that, one tames the work of art. Interpretation makes art manageable, comfortable” (Findlay, The Value of Art, 118). Should we try and attempt to look beyond the artist of the piece, and truly evaluate its artistic value based on the skills and pictorial results?