Art Basel Hong Kong, Encounters Sector, Hong Kong
Fourfold Threshold, 2015
Spell, powdercoated steel, silk
Steel structure (outermost measurements): 6000mm x 6000mm x 7500mm
5 at 1346mm x 3708mm each
Fourfold Threshold at Encounters at Art Basel Hong Kong 2015, sees the viewer happen upon a structure closely resembling an area squared off with museum stanchions, in which reside further stanchioned spaces — this four-fold cordoned zone (perhaps readable as four dimensions) was effected by the workings of a skilled practitioner to cast a spell during installation — then left to be negotiated as a zone of suggested forces.
The artist employed the skills of a Villain Hitter to realise the work — this is a form of sorcery specific to Hong Kong (it has been preliminarily included in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage by the Home Affairs Bureau). Villain Hitters predominantly work to curse one’s enemies. Fourfold Threshold saw the Villain Hitter come to work up a spell, (‘performed’ during the installation of the work). The spell was cast in order to both intensified the atmosphere around the work and moreso, to curse the enemies of the work.
Above the large sculptural floor-based work hung large silk banners (100% pure habotai silk), which act as a point of access to the unseen forces activated below. The artist’s hand is scanned and printed — the flatbed scanner is used as a camera in this instance (the artist has regularly employed the flatbed-scanner-as-camera over the past ten years).
In one banner the artist’s hand holds a piece of paper, which reads ‘A Spell Is Cast Here’. Parallel and also hanging from above are four further banner-like inkjet prints on silk, on which the artist holds his hand in poses, that with practice, supposedly may activate certain magical powers — documented by various mystical system of belief as opening up astral perception — allowing one to witness images and hear voices.
It is suggested that those well-connected whilst performing these hand gestures may be able to build around themselves a very strong ‘odic mist’. In the words of one mystic, “whoever physically forms and experiences [these gestures] in a pure and conscious manner, will have great secrets opened to him, if he practices, vibrates, and dances in the radio waves, subtle currents and flowing energies of the all [will be available to him/her].”
These gestures have come from various systems: from Mudra (Hindu and Buddhist ritualized/stylized hand poses) (no. 1 & 2); Candomblé (no. 3 & 4); Runes (no. 1, 2 & 4); Chiromancy (no. 1); ancient Roman tradition (no. 3); Padonkaffsky jargon (no. 3) — and simultaneously find home in these opposing systems.
Further information on gestures can be found in their individual titles:
Non-verbal Gesture 1, (Here one feels a fine tingling and a gentle prickling in the thumb; the outstretched fingers begin to vibrate lightly. Thoughts are focussed on receiving fire and solar powers. This sign particularly affects the forces of life, in a rejuvenating and strengthening manner.), 2015
Non-verbal Gesture 2, (Here cosmic energies begin to collect in the hand, experienced as prickling in the extended finger-tips, as well as in the ring finger and the tip of the thumb. Thoughts are focussed on the reception of solar powers. The collected energies are circulated throughout the body by an act of conscious will. At the deepest moment they are focused in the feet.), 2015
Non-verbal Gesture 3, (Here one feels a tingling sensation throughout the hand, the thumb slightly vibrating. Thoughts are focussed to ward off the evil spirits of the dead and lure wishes of good fortune to protect oneself from a malevolent glare and distract those with the ability to curse you from the mental effort needed to successfully do so.), 2015
Non-verbal Gesture 4, (Thoughts are focussed on the development of magical powers. You strongly feel the influx of cosmic energies into the tip of your index finger. Often after this exercise the smell of ozone can be detected from the hand.), 2015