Ada Leung @ Pearce Gallery

There is a subtle, aesthetic sense of humour in this show; I stared at the lonesome teabag hanging on the wall for some moments before discovering its gimmick, its quip, its playfulness. The exhibition is so mellow and quiet: the meditative, labour intensive tone of the work’s construction seems to hang in the air like a residue, the moments of humour are a surprise and a relief.

The centre piece of the show, oddly titled Badonka-Bonks, encapsulates that pensive and studious mood; I cannot imagine the care, the steady hand and the patience what would have been required to make it. The work is sculpted out of pencil shavings – the act of sharpening the pencils, the creation of the debris, would have been a respite from the construction! Wildly understated, Badonka-Bonks deserves a massive audience. Not only for the appreciation of its construction, but for the defamiliarisation of form and the associations of alien or biologic life petrified, crystalised or fossilised, frozen in the opening of it. What was in its interior before it unfolded?

The show, as a whole, is reminiscent of the work by Tom Friedman, a similar humour and similar materials (Untitled, 1992 Pencil Shaving Friedman.) The difference seems to be in the overall tone, Leung’s work meditates in the act of patience and the repetitive motions of systematic formation (as explored in the xerox video projection and the degradation acrylic drawings.) Even the humour is purposeful, analytic, and accompanied by a constant awareness of the repetitive act to the means of creation. 

The titles of the works seem to mock the viewers ability to be absorbed in their forms, Badonka-Bonks, Newstruck, Butter-stick station; a subtlety could be afforded to the titles to let the works act on their own. (I was disappointed by the title of the teabag – which I won’t share – and was glad to have viewed it before reading its title.)  Nonetheless, Leung’s show is enthralling and contemplative; I strongly recommend a visit to Pearce Gallery before the show ends.

ada leung


Accusations and Assumptions
Pearce Gallery
130 St Georges Bay Road, Parnell
Sept 30 – 5 Oct 2013 (The gallery closes at 4pm on Saturday)

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