I created “Tsunami–Oblivious” in spring 2009 for The Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial, which opens May 21 thru August 1, 2010 at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. This paper cutout has not been exhibited anywhere before until now. I believe the timing for it to be seen is truly uncanny.
The composition of “Tsunami–Oblivious” is nearly identical to its prequel – “Tsunami–Enmeshed” but the attitude of its central figure – a young girl – is just the opposite.
As usual, I put together all the parts and narratives on the computer:
The foreground involves a sort of kids fight, surrounded by giant jellyfish being rushed to shore by the crashing waves. The mid-ground consists of two oil drilling platforms, collapsing, exploding, and catching on fire. The main figure is the girl on the couch who is unaware of what’s about to happen and laughing away. In the back, the threatening waves are in full throttle, while elephants balance on beach balls at the edge of a wall of water.
It took me two full months of hand cutting. The complexity of the piece makes it difficult to see and digest what’s going on but that is precisely the point. If it feels overwhelming, I consider the message delivered. In the light of the April 20 explosion at a rig 50 miles off Louisiana, this piece eerily reminds us our decision bears consequence.
My Web site offers larger images in stills, where you can also find images of the prequel, “Tsunami-Enmeshed”: