Ekphrasis (Recto/ Verso)


Extracted from a curatorial statement by Steven Lam for the show “Spectral Evidence” at 1A Space, Hong Kong:

The anti-monument is explored in Premnath’s Ekphrasis (2010), which consists of a series of folded-open images made to the scale of a broadsheet newspaper.

During WWII many of the statues in Hong Kong were dismantled and melted for weaponry. The statue of Queen Victoria was removed from its original location in Statue Square, Central for this purpose but survived and is currently placed in Victoria Park. The only remaining statue in Statue Square is that of Sir Thomas Jackson the Chief banker for HSBC at the turn of the century. Ekphrasis narrates these multiple intersecting histories but does so through a poetics of material experimentation: an image of the Queen Victoria Statue in storage is fused with an 1897 image of the Queen in the flesh; a crudely rendered HSBC logo references the history of abstract painting; text carved on the surface of a marble slab doubles as a missing persons report of Victoria; a digital composite of the pedestal creates a hallucinatory blur of the site. Through these projective images, the gaze of the viewer is refracted through Rorschach-like operations, folds, and detours that mirror the complicated knot of globalism, colonialism, and memory as suggested by the metonymic narrative of the statue.