HOME AND NONHOME 家.不家 | Hong Kong, Eaton Hotel

Hong Kong artist Leung Chi Wo has installed a free micro-exhibition, occupying two rooms of the nineteenth floor of a hotel in Kowloon. Hong Kong locals will already be used to seeing exhibitions in hotel rooms, but what makes this exhibition different is its express intention to examine the nature of a hotel, and what we might allow ourselves to call “home”, particularly in this time of cancelled travel plans, abandoned hotels, and the rise of “staycations”.

The first room features a new installation of Leung’s 2007 “Open Room”, which sees thirty plastic pipes standing upright, each blurting out different excerpts from interviews in different languages, about what each speaker deems to be home. Each monologue is quiet, calm and considered, and the smooth white pipes convey the tranquil elegance of a pipe organ: but the effect on entering the room is overwhelming cacophony.

The second room showcases other interviews, with teenagers, in a video display. There is also a small self-portrait, which Leung sketched of himself as a younger man, again trying to reconnect with the idea of “home”. A small Mickey Mouse toy is installed upside down on the bed, its head encased in a reflective metal sphere.

On the ground floor is perhaps the exhibition’s most arresting work: what looks like a hotel lobby public phone, from a previous decade, has had the phone replaced with petrified wood. A literal relic, the installation is both comforting and alienating at the same time; in situ, a visual metaphor for whether a hotel is a “home” or a “nonhome”.

Free admission 20 November – 11 December 2020 at the Eaton Hotel Jordan.

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