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Installation view
GINA TSANG
28/02/19 - 10/03/19
For the final exhibition of our current programme, OUTPUT is excited to welcome Liverpool artist Gina Tsang (b.1981) to the gallery. In her show ‘Fine Heart,’ Tsang is presenting a two-channel video installation utilising footage from a recent visit to China and Hong Kong. The video features old family and found photographs. She layers her own experience with her Chinese family’s, considering meaning, art and beauty in the new piece in an intuitive approach.

In her practice, Tsang creates large-scale installations and video collages based on themes of belonging, transformation and contrast. The artist was awarded this solo exhibition for her 2018 MA degree show ‘Reproduction’ at Liverpool John Moores University, where she received a travel grant from the Susan Cotton Family to both research and produce the work in ‘Fine Heart.’
Installation view
How did you get into studying and making art?

My Dad taught me how to paint by copying van Goghs on the doors and walls of our house. When I was studying Philosophy in London in my mid 20s, I applied for a part-time Art Foundation at Camberwell College. I craved doing something more creative than academia so I left London, moved back home to Liverpool and fell into being a chef/baker. I found a creative community here whilst working at Mello Mello and spending time at the Kazimier around 2010 onwards. I saw an article in the Double Negative about the MA Fine Art course at LJMU. I put in half an application. I don’t mind so much that I’ve come to being an ‘Artist’ later on in my life – I wouldn’t have had the confidence or experience to pursue it seriously when I was younger.

What was your experience of China like?

My grandad was Chinese (from Hong Kong) and my father was half Chinese so I’d grown up with a lot of Chinese culture and traditions at home. I wanted to meet family and connect with that part of my heritage. I naively thought I’d be able to wing it and get by. I didn’t. There’s something very calming about not being able to understand anything – almost like being a child or like I’d imagine all those abstract expressionists learnt to see the world. Just a flurry of movement and colours.

What do you think the UK could learn from the art scenes in China and Hong Kong?

There’s a growing movement of disused buildings being turned into art spaces. I went to a few galleries that were converted housing blocks (such as the Jockey Club). These felt so ideal, with open studios, artist run shops and events; properly inhabited and used by the artists. I sort of broke into lots of art schools as well in each city, and what really struck me was the learned craftmanship of students (and teachers) there. Schools were neatly divided into calligraphy, print-making, oil painting etc. It was clear that traditional techniques are still the basis of an art education in China. I know it’s been widely discussed, but I wonder if there’s still a place for such training in UK art schools (even if only an option). I remember when I was in Camberwell there was a petition from students to be actually taught how to use paints on the painting BA.