top of page

Escape - Reconstruct

Mathilde Brandi, Hwichan Ko, Celine Lam, Qi Zheng

A Space Gallery is thrilled to announce the opening of the Escape-Reconstruct group exhibition, featuring works from its first-ever artist colony residency program. Four young artists escaped the city and joined a private tour to a mysterious haunting site built for the physically and mentally disabled in the early twentieth century near the Hudson Valley. Despite being abandoned, this health care center undergoes a transformation into a colorful secret basement for these like-minded punk artists and adventurers.Without romanticizing the relics, these young scavengers ventured into the uncanny site that inspired them. They explored the dark chambers with their torchlight, searched for fragmented historic pieces, and documented their experiences with cameras before reconstructing the physical space on canvas, breathing new life into it.

Hwichan Ko continues his practice with spray paint to express the theme of rebellion in the group show. He utilizes animation techniques, such as Deformer, which exaggerate specific elements. However, this time, his hero is trapped in an unidentified cabinet within the ruin. Laying on the ground with eyes staring into space, the central figure rebels against inner anger and uncertainties. According to Ko, the only weapon he can use to defend himself is his sight: “Eyes are more eloquent than lips. Eyes have become a symbol in my work as a representation of emotion. They convey agony. Desires, curiosity, and ignorance.” He was trapped in this tiny space. The only thing he could do was to look around and search for any corners with excitement but in vain. There is NO EXIT in the ruin.


Qi Zheng presented a large piece along with four small pieces for this show. Utilizing craft lines and vibrant colors, she aims to recreate a chaotic scene embedded with city memories. Moss, dead leaves, tangled wires, broken glass, and traces of rain are the central objects in her artistic excavation of the site, which were integrated into her art. Her work juxtaposes the remnants and brings the historical past of the 80s, the roaring age for the growth of punk culture, to life as a city archive in the deserted ground. In her own words, she seeks to evoke the broken emotions and heartbeat of the ruin.

Danish artist Mathilde Brandi manifests her ‘reconstruction’ through the use of photographs and 8mm footage collected during the escape, reworked at A Space Gallery using painting, drawing, and other multimedia expressions. She delves into the theme of transition, portraying the ruin as a peripheral space between the city and the suburb, past and present. The site is timeless, and their journey is dreamlike with surrealist qualities. Additionally, she uses body parts taken out of place, enmeshed between themselves and their environment, creating new configurations of disembodied anatomies. Brandi also incorporates figures who do not have any identities, mirroring travelers who have lost their sense of directions. This vividly describes her personal experience at the site- a mix of dislocation and surprises.

Celine Lam’s mixed-media practice does not view the ruin as merely an outside space. Instead, she believes that the ruin is the bridge between awareness and unconsciousness, the actual connecting point between these two polarities. Some parts of her pieces are faithful depictions of what she saw during the excursion, while she left a large part of her work as impressions that are crude, fragmented, and unrecognized. This blend overall evokes a shocking experience, both for Lam herself and for passersby.

bottom of page