Mei Foo Station (1)
Mei Foo Station (2)
Mei Foo Station (3)
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Life in Mei Foo – Now and Then

In this series on Art in the MTR Stations, we present installations in the Tsuen Wan line. The definition of what is art or artistic may change from one person to the next. One general definition postulates that “art is the conscious creation of something beautiful or meaningful using skill and imagination.”

Ng Yuen Wa’s work is reminiscent of the early twentieth-century style made prominent by Fauvism artists, notably Henri Matisse. “Les Fauvres” (French for “the wild beasts”) were a group of artists whose work emphasised strong and bold colours. Paint is applied seemingly straight from the tube, there is minimal blending, and there is a stylised rendering of subjects and objects. The Fauvism artist favoured an idealised interpretation of a subject rather than a realistic representation. Now and Then originated as a series of sixteen paintings divided into four scenes. They are titled On the Night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, Memory of the Seashore, Apartment in the Starry Metropolitan and A Delightful Weekend. Each is painted with bold blue, green, orange, or yellow colours. Rather than portraying ordinary people in plain places, the characters are fashion models posing in lavish locations. In contrast with the backgrounds, the numerous mostly female models, although simply rendered, are elegantly dressed and recognisable. Now and Then is a fantastical idealised portrayal of the people and places in Mei Foo. Instead, the artwork offers a brief and beautiful respite for those who pause to enjoy the artist’s interpretation of the neighbourhood.             

Creating art for public space requires materials that last. Now and Then are lithographs transferred to vitreous enamel (VE) panels. Vitreous enamel is a construction material that is extremely hard-wearing, fireproof, and can withstand abrasive materials. Although not typically used to render artwork, VE panels are one media that can withstand the tests of time and are ideally suited for placement in the MTR station.

Text: Martin Wray / Photos: Dave Chung