Playful yet incisive, Kwan Sheung Chi’s work is heavily defined by the liberal economic and political set up that is the autonomous and prosperous city-state, Hong Kong. A flourishing coastal trading town for centuries, Hong Kong, much like Kochi, was one of the places where early European traders from Portugal established themselves. Since then, it has witnessed a flurry of regime changes, culminating in the establishment of Chinese rule in 1997 ending more than 100 years of British domination. Post-1997, while its institutions continue to remain heavily anglicised, Hong Kong has attempted to negotiate for itself an identity and a place within the iron grasp of Chinese sovereignty. This search for self figures prominently in Sheung Chi’s work.
A work denied exhibition in China, A Flags-Raising-Lowering Ceremony at my home's clothes drying rack (2007) captures the city’s chequered history of regime changes and illustrates with a sense of the absurd the identity confusions this has engendered. The performance consists of the artist’s parents unfurling and then pulling back on a clothesline the flags of the United Kingdom, China and, sandwiched between the two, the regional flag of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong (2012) is made of a paper-cut globe with only a map of Hong Kong printed on it. Beside it are posters with the same map that viewers can take home and assemble into globes themselves. ONE MILLION (2011), is a looped video of one shot of a Yuan bill containing Chairman Mao’s portrait being flicked. By multiplying the same shot to count to a nonexistent million, Sheung Chi points towards the spectral nature of money in a financial economy and the links that exist between politics and finance, whether in communist China or anywhere else in the world.