When you first see Chloë Cheuk’s works, new media art may not be the first thing coming to mind. Instead of flashy screens or complex computer coding, the artist embraces the beauty of simplicity. She transforms ordinary objects in daily life – from printer to light bulbs, into intimate dialogues with the viewers in a way minimalist and, at the same time, poetic.

Angel Leung  |  Ed Kiran Sajan  | 9 November 2020

Her work I am fine, I am good, I am happy. (2016) consists of only two elements – a printer and a very long paper loop. The printer, which can only roll paper in and out, robotically repeats the cycle of an infinite statement of ‘I am fine, I am good, I am happy.’ This robotic positiveness sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

During the early period of her career, Chloë often worked with electronic and kinetic media. For instance, her graduate piece The Burst of Pleasure (2012) turns bursting a balloon into a lengthy, tense, yet cheerful anticipation through an electronic installation. Graduated from the School of Creative Media (SCM) at the City University of Hong Kong in 2012, she has a strong background in exploring the possibilities of new media art. She, however, sees technologies as the means to bring her ideas into reality, not the goal.  “Studying at SCM made me focus on digital art,“ Chloë said. “But fine art also interested me, not only digital or technology. […] For me, I always put the concept first, then consider how to use the technology.”

When she majored in sculpture at Concordia University in Quebec, Canada, the fine line between visual and new media art became blurrier for her. The turning point was Dependence (2015). In this work, two light bulbs are put together, barely touching each other. One is connected to electricity while the other is not. When light is on, the connected light bulb will warm up the other, as a metaphor of an unbalanced relationship. “Now, my works have become more emotion-driven… But it is not only sentimental or expressive but also involves a lot of thinking.” Conceptual yet emotional, her works resonate with the experience that we all had at some point in our lives.

“For me, meaning is critical.” Instead of sitting on a particular form, she prefers exploring a great variety of materials and technologies during the creative process. “I want to know what the medium means to the work.” For instance, in the installation …Until I am found (2017), Chloë expresses her complicated feelings toward the city through movable glass spherical lenses, showing a constantly changing image of the town when the globes move away or near each other. “I collaborated with an engineer on this, and we used software to draw the graphic, calculate the weight, maintain the balance, confirm its safety, etc. I found it quite interesting because it is not a standard sculpture,’ she explained, ‘but a time-based medium that shows changes with the time. When you look at it from different angles or light, you see different things.”

“For me, meaning is critical.” Instead of sitting on a particular form, she prefers exploring a great variety of materials and technologies during the creative process. “I want to know what the medium means to the work.” For instance, in the installation …Until I am found (2017), Chloë expresses her complicated feelings toward the city through movable glass spherical lenses, showing a constantly changing image of the town when the globes move away or near each other. “I collaborated with an engineer on this, and we used software to draw the graphic, calculate the weight, maintain the balance, confirm its safety, etc. I found it quite interesting because it is not a standard sculpture,’ she explained, ‘but a time-based medium that shows changes with the time. When you look at it from different angles or light, you see different things.”

Often considered a media artist, Chloë has seen a broader definition of the art form. So, to her, what is new media art? “I think the term ‘new media art’ helps people who are not so familiar (to media art) to identify this type of art.” Yet, in the digital era, the definition of this category has become more ambiguous. “With the media evolving, what is new? And what is old?” It is true. From television to 3D-printer, the evolving media have become an essential part of our daily life today. Perhaps we shall rethink what new media art is and can be.

About the artist

Chloë Cheuk is a graduate of the School of Creative Media, City University, Hong Kong and has majored at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec. Working simultaneously in the mediums of installation art, interactive media, photography and video, Chloé Cheuk focuses on the “structure of feelings” between people and society by reconstructing objects through metaphors using a pared-down vocabulary based on spirituality and aesthetics. Her artworks often touch upon spectators’ everyday experiences and memories, on both an individual and collective level, which lay the groundwork for an intimate conversation. Carrying various implications, the ordinary objects she chooses frequently echo the personal, social and political facets of our contemporary world.

Artist Website

Past Shows and Fair booths

Solo Shows

2020 Deep Cleansing, Elephant 

2019 MFA Thesis Show, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

2017 Side Effects, Dienstgebäude Zurich Art Space, Zürich, Switzerland

2015 She, herself Experiments from Chloe Cheuk, Things that can happen, Hong Kong

2015 After Blossom, 100ft. PARK, Hong Kong

2015 Every Every, Videotage, Hong Kong

2015 A Little Bit Different, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste ZHdK, Zurich, Switzerland

Group Shows

2020 Hong Kong: Tales of the City, Curated by Isaac Leung, Denny Dimin Gallery, New York

2019 Site of the Not Yet, Peripheral Hours, Montreal, Canada 

2019 University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

2019 Matter,  curated By William Lim, Seoul Auction Hong Kong, Hong Kong

2019 Nevertheless, History Continues, Korean Cultural Center (co-presented by MMCA, HK Art Center, ifva and Korean Cultural Center), Hong Kong

2019 Art Central, Hong Kong

2019 Exit Strategies, H Queen’s, Hong Kong

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