The work of Tsang Kin-Wah can be characterised as a sustained and constant search for meaning in life, with a full understanding of its potential futility. The title of Tsang’s solo exhibition as well as of the suite of four new video projections created for it, The Infinite Nothing continues this artistic and philosophical exploration. The title is derived from a passage in Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Gay Science (1882), in which appears the notorious pronouncement of the death of God: ‘Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space?’ Around this central idea, Tsang brings together a host of philosophical concepts expressed through metaphors and allegories, along with religious symbolisms and popular cultural references.
Included in this panoply of ideas are Heraclitus’s river into which ‘one cannot step twice’; Plato’s Cave Allegory; and Nietzsche’s notions of ‘Camel Spirit’, ‘slave morality’ and ‘the Overman’. The Hindu/Buddhist notions of karma and reincarnation, which are important influences in the artist’s practice, play a role here as well, and two films — Béla Tarr’s The Turin Horse (2011) and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) — also provide sources of inspiration. Altogether, the exhibition manifests Tsang’s continuing inquiry into systems of religious belief and the human quest for self-betterment. This search is realised in this exhibition in the form of a cycle of four stages of transformation, titled 0, I, I̶ and 0̶ respectively, with the end of the journey leading back to its beginning, thus giving physical shape to another Nietzschean concept, that of ‘eternal recurrence’.
Artwork / exhibition website: 2015.venicebiennale.hk
The Infinite Nothing (2015)
Hong Kong Pavilion, The 56th Venice Biennale 2015
Multi-channel video & sound installation
Commissioned by M+ Museum
The Infinite Nothing : 0̶, 4'32"
The Infinite Nothing : I, 6'20"
The Infinite Nothing : I̶, 8'12"
The Infinite Nothing : 0, 6'19"
Video documentation - Hong Kong Pavilion, The 56th Venice Biennale, 2015