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Crossing Boundaries: Contemporary Figurative Perspectives

Hong Kong Wong Chuk Hang Space

May 17 – June 19, 2024



Tang Contemporary Art Hong Kong is honored to present: "Crossing Boundaries: Contemporary Figurative Perspectives," a group show curated by Michela Sena with works by: Aniela Preston, Benzilla, Geoffrey Bouillot, Giuditta Branconi, Giuseppe Mulas, Jon Burgerman, Quinten Ingelaere, Studio Lenca, Wedhar Riyadi.


Showcasing a melange of different expressions united by the common artistic generation the artists on show belong to, the project aims to display a fresh snapshot of contemporary painting. Specifically, what emerges from the works on display, is the intersection between a new way to conceive figurative art and the themes that characterise our contemporaneity. Not only the show has the value of documenting an era, by freezing its art in a determined instant, viewers are also captivated and driven to embark on a journey of introspection which leaves us with further inquiries and input of reflection. 


By realising an iconography based on her unique interpretation of the human form and its relationship with the world, Aniela Preston's (b.1998, UK) introspective canvas offer a glimpse into the complexities of human feelings. A sense of surrealism emerges from her works and the dreamlike atmosphere her painting is imbued with, lets us dig into our own subconscious, inviting us to introspect our own sensibility.


Like Presto’s works, Quinten Ingelaere's (b.1985, Belgium) paintings initially appear familiar, drawing on the imagery and techniques of old masters. Yet, beneath this surface lies a deeper exploration of our subconscious and collective memory. While rooted in a shared visual vocabulary, Ingelaere's works defy expectations, presenting seemingly recognizable elements—such as garlands, doves, and flowers—that upon closer inspection reveal themselves as distorted, abstract forms.


Despite their figurative nature, Ingelaere's paintings challenge our understanding of reality. Through reinterpretation and decontextualization of classic themes and iconography, his art serves as allegories of alienation. Ingelaere's work invites viewers to reconsider their perceptions and expectations, engaging them in a dialogue about the complexities of representation and meaning.


Close to Presto’s and Ingelaere’s approach is also Wedhar Riyadi's (b.1980, Indonesia) art. Riyadi captures the essence of everyday life, inviting viewers into a world where reality and imagination intertwine. Through his mastery of color and form, his vibrant palette and meticulous attention to detail generate scenes that lie in a surreal dimension. 


Riyadi's figurative art consists of a visual tapestry that speaks to the complexity of contemporary society, in highlighting the element of randomness, he drives our consciousness to reflect on the complexity of today's society and universal themes of loss, and longing through a sense of nostalgia often subtly emerging from his paintings. Riyadi's art resonates with viewers on a deeply personal level, forging a connection that transcends cultural boundaries.


Geoffrey Bouillot (b.1990, France), seamlessly, blurs the specifics of cultural boundaries, merging French aesthetic, inherited by his own culture with Japanese influences, from the artistic language of his chosen culture. His contemporary style, blending Manga, Pop Art, Cubism, and Italian Futurism, evokes a sense of longing and reminiscence. This latest series, inspired by cartoon pop culture, combines geometric designs with colors, creating a poignant development in his aesthetic, mostly characterized by black and white and grey tones.


Perhaps the most explicit transgression from the “conventional” painting aesthetic is offered by Jon Burgerman’s (b.1979, UK) works on show. Transforming the underlying emotional chaos of abstract expressionism into vibrant bursts of color, infusing cuteness with a hint of ferocity, and embracing childlike aesthetics while rejecting any other explicit or even subtle conventions has become a central tactic of the avant-garde art scene, Jon is part of. By embracing this fresh perspective, we open our minds to an art scene guided by a newfound inner logic.


The same personal approach is present in Benzilla's (b.1984, Thailand) art. His artistic style draws from a mix of pop culture, street trends, music, and fashion, blending seamlessly across various mediums like mural art, sculptures, toys, and product designs. His iconic creation “LOOOK”, the subject of the work he realized for "Crossing Boundaries: Contemporary Figurative Perspectives”, featuring three eyes, serves as a central figure in his work, inspired by sci-fi and enigmatic entities. “LOOOK” symbolizes hope and forward-looking vision, reflecting the artist's emotions and intuition.


Very different is Giuseppe Mulas's (b.1995, Italy) perspective. Sexuality frequently emerges as a theme in his art, prompting him to delve into the depths of the human psyche and blur the distinction between the public and the private spheres. This intimate essence permeates his compositions, reflecting his exploration of the significance of intimacy within contemporary Western culture. In an age where social media amplify the urge to digitally broadcast one's daily life, he scrutinizes how this phenomenon erodes the boundaries between the personal and the public.


Unique, like Mula’s alphabet, is Giuditta Branconi's (b.1999, Italy) language. Her artworks serve as modern-day fairy tales, inviting viewers into a captivating and diverse female realm depicted through her brushstrokes. Within this realm, mythological or fantastical figures coexist with occasional portraits of real individuals. Branconi employs a technique of "accumulation," layering paint on both sides of the canvas until the pictorial space brims with symbols, details from paintings, engravings, and tattoos sourced from her continuously evolving personal archive. Her aim, as expressed by the artist, is to construct a fresh lexicon capable of conveying narratives of innovation, freedom, and tranquility.


Autobiographical is also Studio Lenca’s (b.1986, El Savador) poetic. The figures he depicts project confidence and boldness while adorned in vibrant attire and stylish hats, this creates a paradoxical reference to his Salvadorian origins. His artwork cleverly weaves together personal stories, introspective musings, and elements of folklore, reshaping visual symbols to assert control over a fractured narrative of history.



Benzilla Reborn Acrylic on canvas 120 × 100 cm 2024

Aniela Preston Midnight Promenade Acrylic on canvas 120 × 150 cm 2024

Aniela Preston The road to ruin Acrylic on canvas 150 × 120 cm 2024

Geoffrey Bouillot Knuckles Boom Acrylic on canvas 162 × 130 cm 2024

Geoffrey Bouillot Sonic Boom Acrylic on canvas 162 × 130 cm 2024

Geoffrey Bouillot Vincent's lris Acrylic on canvas 162 × 130 cm 2024

Geoffrey Bouillot Vincent's Sunflowers Acrylic on canvas 162 × 130 cm 2024

Wedhar Riyad Domestic Dear Oil on canvas 200 × 150 cm 2023

Wedhar Riyad The Branches Oil on canvas 150 × 115 cm 2023

Giuditta Branconi X Oil on canvas 130 × 100 cm 2023

Giuditta Branconi Untitled Oil on canvas 130 × 100 cm 2023

Giuseppe Mulas Amazon Acrylic, spray paint, charcoal, and pastel on canvas 150 × 115 cm 2024

Giuseppe Mulas The Dragonfly Flew Away with a Raspberry in its Wings Acrylic, spray paint, charcoal, and pastel on canvas 120 × 100 cm 2024

Giuseppe Mulas The Memory of that Dream is Disheveled by the Long Black Hair Acrylic, spray paint, charcoal, and pastel on canvas 240 × 200 cm 2024

Quinten Ingelaere I used to buy you roses I Oil on canvas 30 × 20 cm 2024

Quinten Ingelaere I used to buy you roses II Oil on canvas 30 × 20 cm 2024

Quinten Ingelaere :O Oil on canvas 21 × 14.5 cm 2024

Quinten Ingelaere :( Oil on canvas 21 × 14.5 cm 2024

Studio Lenca The Journey Becomes You Oil and acrylic on canvas 206 × 305 cm 2022

Jon Burgerman Strengths and Weaknesses Aerosol on canvas 163 × 183 cm 2022

Jon Burgerman Vapour Trails Aerosol on canvas 163 × 147 cm 2023

Jon Burgerman Melt Aerosol on canvas 61 × 45.7 cm 2023

Jon Burgerman Sunflower Aerosol on canvas 61 × 45.7 cm 2023





b. 1998, Coventry, UK

Lives and works in Rugby, UK


Aniela Preston was awarded her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Leeds in 2021. Having spent her final year at university in lockdown, Preston’s paintings often reflect figures contained within walls, located in front of windows through which you can see luscious vegetation, or conversely, motifs of environmental destruction like oil rigs. Metaphorically, her paintings serve as these ‘windows’ to the natural beauty of the outside world, while drawing attention to current environmental threats. In this way, the artist aims to inspire a sense of responsibility towards the natural world.


The artist reimagines classical elements in contemporary settings to create a sense of mythology in the mundane, blending contemporary elements portrayed in unearthly colour palettes with classical motifs like grandiose columns and medieval attire. Influenced by the religious works of Italian Renaissance Painters, narrative is also an important aspect of Preston’s work, encapsulated by the contemplative relationships between elements in her compositions which demonstrate the potential of a painting to truly say 1000 words. 


In 2022, Preston was selected as a finalist for the Ingram Prize, and she was also shortlisted as a finalist for the Royal Society of British Artists’ 2023 Rome Scholarship. Selected solo exhibitions include “Cheaper than therapy” (2024), at L.U.P.O, Milan, Italy, and “Vanity” (2023), at Black White Gallery, London, UK. Selected group exhibitions include “Figure this (I)” and “Figure this (II)” (2023), at Sarah Kravitz Gallery, London, and “Hunting the Dawn” (2023), at Liliya Gallery, London.



b. 1984, Bangkok, Thailand

Lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand


Now one of the most renowned streets artists from Thailand, Benzilla graduated with a major in Fine and Applied Art from Bangkok University in 2007. The artist is most well-known for his signature character ‘LOOOK’, a three-eyed alien of unknown origins that conveys the perspective of an outsider. Benzilla immerses the character in colourful compositions depicting pop-culture influences from his childhood, as well as elements of street art, mythology, and science fiction – references to skateboarding, and 90’s fashion and music culture are especially pervasive in his works. His works thus reinterpret nostalgic themes into new and whimsical stories, seen and experienced for the first time through the eyes of an unfamiliar alien.


Through his multidisciplinary practice, which spans painting, drawing, and sculpture, Benzilla introduces the viewer to ‘LOOOK’s’ journeys in these vivid landscapes. The artist has exhibited widely both locally and internationally. Selected solo exhibitions include “Alter Ego” (2023), at Thinkspace projects, Los Angeles, US; “Lost in Paradise” (2023), at Trendy Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand; “Diamond in the desert” (2023), at 333Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan, and “MUSIC ON” (2022), at The Waluso Gallery, London, UK. Selected group exhibitions include “A Better Tomorrow” (2024), at Thinkspace projects, Los Angeles; “Love Endures” (2024) at StolenSpace Gallery, London, and “A Christmas Carol” (2023), at Maison Ozmen, Paris, France. 



b. 1990, Chalon-sur-Saône, France

Lives and works in Japan


Born and raised in France, but now based in Japan, Geoffrey Bouillot’s international background has deeply influenced his technical approach, in which he constantly strives to merge different styles and techniques to create unique pieces that bear his unmistakable signature. While specialising in creating monochromatic works, Bouillot has recently begun to incorporate colour, adding a new dimension to his artistic practice. Passionate about portraiture, the artist has developed a recognisable style characterized by clean lines and a streamlined aesthetic, drawing inspiration from both Japanese popular and traditional culture, as well as the visual language of manga. 


More recently, the artist has ventured into creating pop art pieces. As the father of a young daughter, he experiences pop culture in a different way, rediscovering his childhood heroes through her eyes and being constantly exposed to these popular figures in Tokyo. This approach demonstrates a deeper reflection on the ultra-consumerism of today's society, where painting is often perceived as a standard consumer good rather than a sacred art form. Geoffrey believes that it is important for every artist to live in their time and be a privileged witness to it. To him, pop culture is not just a movement, but an integral part of our contemporary culture.


Selected solo exhibitions include “Tokyoverse” (2024), at Stolen Space gallery, London, England,  “OTOKO ONNA HANA”  (2023), at Galerie OVO, Taipei, Taiwan, and “Mr & Mrs” (2023), at Ascaso Gallery, Miami, USA.



b. 1998, Sant’Omero, Italy

Lives and works in Milan and Teramo, Italy


Giuditta Branconi born in Sant’Omero, Italy in 1998. She lives and works between Milan and Teramo, Italy. Branconi’s chaotic, turbid and howling painting is a coexistence of discharged colours and vivid masses of paint that outline shapes by scratching and consuming the surface. The works are characterised by a sometimes erotic, sometimes deranged atmosphere, suggested by the poses and attitudes of the characters. Through the use of strong colours, funny attitudes and lively composition, Giuditta’s painting is noisy, shrieking, and capable of screaming in the eyes of the viewer.



b. 1995, Alghero, Italy

Lives and works in Turin, Italy


Giuseppe Mulas was born in Alghero in 1995. After graduating from the Filippo Figari Institute of Art in Sassari, he moved to Turin where he completed his master's degree in painting at the Albertina Academy in 2019.


Mulas' work has autobiographical traits and is inspired by everyday life. In particular from his recent experience when he travelled for four months to the Amazon region and shared his habits and experiences with members of an indigenous rainforest community for a month. Impressed by the indigenous people's use of discarded and recycled tyres to create everyday objects, upon his return to Italy, Mulas created “The Vital Connection of a Creeper”, a large sculpture made of recycled tyre rubber. A contemporary version of the snake enveloping Laocoon, the sculpture is composed of scale-like rubber cuttings. Installed in Syracuse at the Antico Mercato di Ortigia, curated by Demetrio Paparoni, The Vital Connection of a Creeper also gave a twist to the artist's pictorial production, which in several cases replaced the canvas used as a support for his paintings with a weave made from recycled tyre scales.



b. 1979, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Lives and work in New York, United States


Jon Burgerman's art is characterized by fuzzy-edged characters that encapsulate the contradictions of contemporary life. Despite their seemingly simple appearance with googly eyes, these characters convey a range of complex emotions and anxieties. Through comically distressed expressions, his artwork explores various themes emphasized by titles like Xanax, Dualist, Lexapro, and Chameleon. Burgerman draws inspiration from various artistic movements and styles, including early 20th century animation, Abstract Expressionism, the CoBrA movement, Art Brut, and Pop Art, which are significant in shaping his artistic vision and approach. Through his artwork, Burgerman seeks to challenge viewers to perceive the world in fresh and unconventional ways. He firmly believes that engaging in simple acts of creativity has the power to not only transform one's personal world but also influence and reshape the broader world in which we live. 


The Artist’s works are collected and exhibited by world-renowned art institutions, including the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London, and the Oö-Kultur Museum in Austria, as well as the Tate Modern in London, M Contemporary Museum in Seoul, Ludwig Contemporary Museum in Hungary, and Chengdu Times Museum in London. The selected solo exhibitions of Burgerman's include "Sim City" at Omni Gallery in London; "Hotspot" at Ojiri Gallery; "Eye Candy" at Praise Shadow Art Gallery in Boston; "Group Therapy," "New Friends," and "Feel the Heat" at WOAW Gallery in Hong Kong and Singapore; "Don't Go to My Heart" at Galerie Silka in Lyon, France, and "Badass" at Dopeness Art Lab in Taipei. In addition, Burgerman has participated in various international art fairs, such as the BAMA Art Fair and Urban Break Art Fair in Busan, South Korea, the MISA Art Fair in Berlin and Cologne, Germany, and the Taipei Contemporary Art Fair in Taiwan.



b. 1985, Ghent, Belgium

Lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium, and Rosciszow, Poland


Since 2014, Ingelaere has taught painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. His paintings utilise 17th century old masters’ techniques to recontextualise classical themes and iconographies into uncanny and macabre compositions that subvert the traditional still-life genre. By abstracting recognisable objects into amorphous structures, Ingelaere’s compositions are alien and discomfiting, intended to question how classic themes and archetypes of art history have installed themselves in our collective memory, and subsequently how they influence our perception of contemporary art. 


Ingelaere’s works also reference Baroque, Surrealist, and Magical Realist pictorial traditions of the interwar period and beyond, conveying the artist’s intention to work his way forward in history as a practical historian.His paintings serve as a ‘pictorial archive’ of discovered and self-designed objects, wherein new connotations are assigned to objects that interact in strange ways. In this way, Ingelaere pays a pictorial homage to the art of painting of the past, while at the same time reinventing the pictorial illusion of lifelikeness. 


Ingelaere’s recent self-titled solo exhibition (2024) was held at Dauwens & Beernaert, Brussels, Belgium. Selected group exhibitions include “Oldskool” (2023), Dauwens & Beernaert, Brussels, and “Johs de Eyck me fecit” (2023), Dauwens & Beernaert, Brussels. The artist has also recently exhibited at Luxembourg Art Week (2021), and at the Brussels International Contemporary Drawing Fair (2021).



b. 1986, El Salvador 

Lives and works in Margate, UK


Studio Lenca (José Campos) fled his native El Salvador during the violent Salvadoran Civil War in the 1980s, travelling to the US by land with his mother, where he grew up as an undocumented illegal immigrant. Eventually settling in the UK, José received a Masters from Goldsmiths University of London in 2019. His work is collected and exhibited globally and was recently acquired by the MER Foundation.


Campos’ work focuses on ideas surrounding difference, knowledge and visibility. His colourful paintings depict Salvadoran figures adorned with costumes and ornaments that playfully explore masculinity, the colonial past of the country and its current violent discourse. The hats and costumes allude to the folkloric traditions of Los Historiantes. MS-13 markings and 18th street tattoos are made absent, instead, whimsical imagery and bold colours portray a softer more vulnerable experience.


The figures in Studio Lenca’s work embody vignettes of the artist’s formative years, escaping the civil war and reckoning with his reality in a hostile environment. The navigation of identity within Studio Lenca’s work sits in parallel with that of El Salvador and it’s neighbouring countries. Riotous layers of paint, flora, fauna, logos and artefacts represent untold stories and silenced voices. The painful legacy of colonialism, mass immigration and more recent cultural imperialism is writ large. Studio Lenca shares a maelstrom of unresolved narratives; himself and his culture displaced.

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b. 1980, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia


Wedhar Riyadi, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Indonesian Institute of Art in 2007. He is part of the generation of artists who grew up during the late nineties period of political reform in Indonesia, which saw the fall of the Suharto regime and the country’s subsequent transition into a democratic republic. Combined with the influence of the rapid influx of popular culture in local entertainment, these socio-political changes serve as the impetus to the artist’s practice, which appropriates and draws upon various forms of mass media to create surreal and distorted worlds. 


His wide-ranging practice spans drawings, paintings, murals, sculpture, and illustration, exploring the psychological symbolisms of popular culture iconographies. Wedhar has exhibited widely in Asia, Australia, Europe, and the USA. He participated in the 9th, 10th, and 11th editions of ARTJOG (2016, 2017, 2018) and the 7th Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art (2012). In addition to numerous private collections worldwide, his works are included in the collection of the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (Australia), National Gallery of Victoria (Australia), Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art (Australia).

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