I say Marco, you say Polo - A Solo Exhibition of Chan Wai Lap


  • Fri 28-06-2019 to Sat 20-07-2019

Anita Chan Lai-ling Gallery

Free Admissions


Do you remember the games you used to play as a child?  Hide and seek, catch, tag? They helped us mature into adulthood.  But the game of hide and seek that we played as children has not yet ended.  Instead, it has become a game that we play with ourselves.

Here, the Hong Kong artist Chan Wai-lap presents his milestone exhibition, “I say Marco, you say Polo”.  He uses the classic swimming-pool game of the same name to explore public spaces, architecture and interpersonal relationships.  On show in the exhibition, for the first time, are more than 30 works of art and a series of absurd decorations by the artists’ group Dirty Paper.  It is the culmination of the artist’s maturing ideas that were nurtured after a residency in New York. He invites you, too, to engage in an endless game of hide and seek with him.


Chan Wai-lap has a habit of swimming for an hour every day.  Before he jumps into the pool, he likes to sit in the poolside bleachers.  From afar, he gazes down at the miniscule swimmers who move about in the water like insects.  From a high-up, godlike perspective, he lets out a cry to initiate the game of hide and seek: “Marco!” (in the game, the catcher cries “Marco”, then the prey calls “Polo” to hint at his location).  But as he waits, counting from one to a hundred, he doesn’t hear the responding cry, “Polo!” The catcher fails to catch his prey and the game ends in disappointment, resulting in a change in the artist’s subjectivity.  The exhibition describes this change of subjectivity, from that of the gazer to that of the swimmer, from that of the catcher to that of the prey. What binds the exhibited works is the process of hiding and seeking, a repetitive process of vanishing and appearing. The audience cannot truly tell when the game starts or ends.  The artist vanishes and appears, and the resulting contrast of perspectives opens up the audience’s imagination.


Best known as a founder of Dirty Paper, one of the few alternative artist groups in Hong Kong, Chan Wai-lap lives and works in Hong Kong.  He is a painter who has held exhibitions at the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences (2019), the New York School of Visual Arts (2018), the Hong Kong K11 CHI ART SPACE (2016) and the Hong Kong Osage Gallery (2013).  His works have been widely collected by private collectors and galleries in Hong Kong. This exhibition is supported by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.


“I say Marco, you say Polo” is curated by Jims Lam.


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