Sundew by Elaine Yan Ling Ng will present a dynamic contrast to the paintings and sculptures at Art Central. Christie Lee reports.
The two contending natures of the sundews plant have long fascinated botanists, hikers and nature-lovers alike. This carnivore simultaneously lures and ensnares prey with its glandular tentacles – and it is this duality that materialologist Elaine Yan Ling Ng hopes to capture (pun intended) at Art Central 2016.
“It is a dangerous yet luring relationship,” explains Ng of the sundews’ lethal mix of beauty and entrapment that draws prey in. “I want to re-create this complexity within the exhibition space.”
Ng, whose multidisciplinary practice The Fabrick Lab spans the realms of textile, biomimicry and design, conceived the idea for Sundew from hand-fabricated textiles that interweave natural fibres and 316 metres of Swarovski crystal fabric. The result is a kinetic sculpture that responds to movements within its orbit by twisting and curling, constricting and expanding.
Naturally, every aspect of the creative process required extreme precision: from the sourcing of material and fabrication process to engineering.
Sundew was first unveiled at last year’s Design Miami/Basel. As one of three recipients of the 2015 Swarovski Designers of the Future Award at that event, Ng was tasked with incorporating Swarovski crystals into her design. She rose to the challenge, creating a work that allows its audience to connect with it through sound, movement – and even smell. She collaborated with a chemist in London to create two scents, Entice and The Kill, which are designed to evoke very different emotions in Sundew’s audiences.
“The interactivity removes the boundary between art and design whilst blurring it at the same time,” says Ng. “A lot of kids interacted with the piece during Design Miami. As Art Central attracts many families, I’m hoping Sundew will provide a different way of looking at art and design. It’s not just about canvases!”
The designer promises that the Art Central installation will feature a more refined sound and kinetic system than the iteration at Design Miami/Basel, with the detectors expanding beyond sensing volume to frequency and pitch.
Art Central returns to Hong Kong for the second time on 23 March 2016, running until 26 March at Central Harbourfront. More than 100 galleries from 20 countries – with 23 Asian cities represented – will show contemporary works at the fair.
Elaine Yan Ling Ng