Sharon Lee (b.1992) was born and raised in Hong Kong. She was granted scholarships and graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2016. She was selected as the New Light of the year and debuted her solo exhibition ‘The Presence of Absence’ (Lumenvisum, Hong Kong, 2017). Lee participated in several art residencies and group exhibitions in Austria, Germany, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
This all began with an aged photograph.
As I was leafing through the photo albums my grandmother left us after she passed away, I unearthed a chapter of our family history previously not known to me: that my grandparents once ran a small grocery store in Chai Wan, Hong Kong in the 1970s. Today, Man Lee Store, as it was called, has already morphed into a concrete wall structure facing the underground train station.
I attempt to re-visit history – be it personal, family or collective. Stores, best described as a form of ordered chaos in the diverse community, have come to be the home for generations of people. But their home is fading into the mists of time. Phases after phases of template redevelopment ceaselessly blot out little traces of history and push the community out of the picture. The city whitewashes itself to be on a par with its global counterparts.
I ‘fossilised’ an assortment of goods from local stores into concrete boards – half-moulds-half-specimens. I took moulding as a process of creating these images. The reversed light and shadow trace the obverse of the ‘opportunities’. The void of the moulds are captured in negative images, which reveal the ever disappearing cityscape through the presence of absence.
The names of these stores may be remembered and unremembered. But there will always be a place for them – a place at the corner of the street we visit daily.