Tobias Klein

VFX Artist: Alexey Marfin

Team: MOU Peijing, FONG Hin Nam

MetaMorphs is a concept to articulate a new understanding of landscape within the manufactured realities of Hong Kong and within the global contemporary artifice we live. It is the title of site-specific installations on the grounds of Oil Street Art Space, also known as ‘Oi!’. The work is firmly placed in the artistic lineage and context of Chinese gardens and landscape painting – both being constructed simulations of the actuality of the wild nature – a construct of reflection and adoration, danger, and uncertainty. Throughout the development of Chinese landscape painting, the meaning of the depicted, and largely constructed, landscape shifted from a universal longing of cultivated men to escape their quotidian world to commune with nature to a more sophisticated cultured understanding of landscape as a metaphor for specific social, philosophical, or political convictions. MetaMorphs negotiate, extend, and evolve that notion of the constructed landscape – a combination of the two characters 山水, mountain and water. They work through imitation, representation and transformation, gradually dissolving the perceived physicality of the landscape concept and the associated garden.

Metamorphs are set in the outdoor spaces, the garden of Oi!. The garden's ground is artificially reclaimed land. The trees and lawns are located where once the shoreline was, about 100 years ago. The intervention consists of four carefully placed stones, completing the first garden – a rockery 假山, of fake mountains – mystical scholarly rocks in the classical garden analogy.  The four mountains are Metamorphs. Each is made from Chinese Bluestone carved by industrial-scale robot arms based on a 3D-scanned Chinese ‘scholar’s rock’. Each explores the tension between form and aura, man-made objects of perfection, and complex, chaotic forms of nature. They are a fabricated metamorphosis of the original, emerging through tooling marks – unfinished striations of the fabrication forming a discourse of technology as an expression of the brush in the landscape painting. The Metamorphs are mathematical processes in computer-generated geological formations. They are ‘emerging’ sculpted reductions of the scanned original, articulating the Gestalt within the found and computational – bridging the traditional with the contemporary.