Blue Lotus Gallery is proud to present Sweet Sorrow, Wing Shya’s photographic ode to our desolate human condition that reads as a techni-colour love letter to the city that raised him: Hong Kong. The production from concept to the actual production took two years in the making and another two years to edit. Nine location where choosen from over 400 scouted locations, 32 models were selected form a cast of over 200 candidates, most of them not professionals but chosen for their unique features. This project in collaboration with Kanako B. Koga and Fantasista Utamaro and a whole orchestra close to a hundred talented people, Sweet Sorrow became an artistic feat of epic proportions never seen before. Wing Shya used Hong Kong as a backdrop to play out his spectacular vision of what is really going on in the psyche of the “Me Generation”; a generation who grew up with smart phones in hand and with a heightened attention to all things visual.
These characters find comfort in their strangeness, their sexual exploits, their subculture and its expressions and their dance with melancholy. To feel alone is an epidemic in modern city life and thus this series resonates not only with the young but all urban creatures. Sarah Greene, director of Blue Lotus Gallery mentioned: ‘It becomes increasingly hard to find strong Hong Kong related projects that are different to what is already out there. Yet Wing Shya’s work just blew me away on so many levels. Here is an artist that excels in photography, film, graphic design and set making, capable of a large spectacular productions such as this. But what strikes me most is his affinity and sensitivity towards our zeitgeist and the inner-life of our youth. I can’t help but think that Wing, not a stranger to the woo’s of glamour, fashion and fame, is not just portraying the angst of our youth but also expresses his own personal experience of the emptiness behind all what shines and glitters.
The cinematic is always present in the work of Wing Shya having started as the still shots photographer on the set of Wong Kar-Wai’s epic films. The perfection of design achieved in each scene is apparent from a photographer well versed in the language of fashion and cinema, and yet this body of work speaks volumes of something true to the artists’ heart: the human condition and the beauty in its’ messy endeavour to try understand itself. Cute yet dirty, gritty yet glowing, imagine dystopian scenes where a chain smoking Little Bo-Peep and Mini Mouse turn to Cosplay and bondage at a party with the Yakuza, My Little Pony and The Avengers in a Hong Kong urban wasteland reminiscent of Gotham City. Sweet Sorrow may be the most colourful and visually gratifying work to tackle a subject so intimate and personal, finding the sweet in the sorrow.
Wing Shya transmutes between film, art and fashion. Born in Hong Kong 1964, Shya returned to Hong Kong following his fine art studies at Emily Carr Institute in Canada and founded the award-winning design studio, Shya-la-la Workshop. In 1997, appointed as the exclusive photographer and graphic designer for Wong Kar Wai; Shya began his collaboration with the renowned movie director, on Happy Together, continued then on In the Mood for Love, Eros and 2046. A now-recognized director himself, Shya began his venture in filmmaking by collaborating with musicians and artistes like Karen Mok, Jacky Cheung and Vanessa Mae on music videos. In Spring 2010, Shya debuted his block-buster movie, Hot Summer Days and continued to work on the sequel, Love in Space, released in Fall 2011. Shya made his return to fine art in 2006. Invited by the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi Hill, Japan; Wing Shya was the first non-Japanese photographer to exhibit at the museum with his inaugural show, Distraction/Attraction. In 2007, he was selected to exhibit in In Fashion 07, curated by Marion de Beaupré at Art Basel Miami, and in October the same year, he had a solo exhibition, Jealousy, at Xintiandi, Shanghai. Shya also took part in China Design Now in 2008, which was exhibited at V&A Museum. In recent years, he has exhibited with Louise Alexander Gallery (Italy), +81 Gallery (Tokyo and New York) and Ooibotos Gallery (Hong Kong). Wing Shya frequently contributes to numerous fashion and art magazines, including i-D (UK), Vogue Italia, 32c (Berlin), Numèro (France) and TIME Style and Design (US). His clientele includes Louis Vuitton, Maison Martin Margiela and many more.