A Photo Exhibition on Lotus by Amy Pang 彭麗雯藝影展

Date: September 23 to November 19, 2016

Venue: Galerie Ausmeyer & Gerling

Address: Fedelhören 89, 28203 Bremen, Deutschland

Lotus Rendezvous


LOTUS RENDEVZVOUS : Fusion of the Art of Subtraction and Addition, Chinese Philosophy to Western Art Form

Amy PANG Lai Man


Traditionally, photography is a means of recording the outside world using different perspectives under the lens and the camera. It is a selection of momentary actions, a decisive moment. This is very different from paintings, which reconstitute and reorganize symbols into an empty canvas. As summarized by British critic John Berger in "Way of Seeing", "The photographer’s way of seeing is reflected in his choice of subject. The painter’s way of seeing is reconstituted by the marks he makes on canvas or papers". There are also sayings that "Photography is an art of selection or Subtraction" while "Painting is an art of Addition".

Since the invention of camera some 170 years ago, this media as an artistic expression has been rapidly developing.

As Hong Kong Chinese born in the era of Colonial British rule, I naturally adopted photography, a modern media of western origin, as my way of expression. After the handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China, I gradually discovered the root native to my bloodline, and treasures in Chinese culture, traditional Chinese literati painting and calligraphy, and its relation to Chinese philosophy. Under the philosophical umbrella of Lao Tzu’s Taoism, the “freehand style -「寫意」” in traditional Chinese literati painting does not emphasize narrative accurate replication of reality. Instead, it stresses the hidden meaning and emotion, an abstract reinterpretation of the visual realism in the paintings. The development of “poetic world -「意境」” beyond the visual reality as represented in the paintings is not to reproduce the appearance of nature exactly (realism), but rather to grasp an emotion or atmosphere, and capture the "rhythm" and "harmony" of nature. It is a form of expressionistic art that captures the unseen -「景外之景」,「立象盡意」.

The integration of the ideals of Taoism into this Western media of photography, the combination of the essences of photography "capturing of decisive moment and choosing of perspective", with the thinking behind Chinese art, painting and calligraphy is my goal. This, I wish to accomplish by infusion of this Chinese philosophy into my photographic compositions. This, I wish to create the fusion of photograph and Chinese brush painting and calligraphy style, but using photographic techniques.

This had been attempted in the last century by Mr. Jingshan LANG, generally considered as the father of photography in China, who used dark room techniques such as superimposition of negatives films, to put calligraphic Chinese characters onto the photographs, creating photographic images that resembled traditional Chinese paintings. This is an art of fusion of Subtraction and Addition. In the 1980s, Mr. Fuli CHEN, another protagonist of this fusion art form, demonstrated another form of fusion of Subtraction and Addition by inviting contemporary accomplished artists to paint and write on his photographs.

In this exhibition, I have chosen Lotus as the subject matter. "Lotus" is a favorite and much adored subject in Chinese culture. It is considered a symbol of noble character. Multiple art forms including poetry, painting are the media used to express the "Love of the Lotus". I approached my goal of artistic presentation using the subject matter "Lotus" by three photographic expressions: "Colour", "Light", "Shade", to feature a gradual transition from a dazzling lotus pond in a more direct and concrete realism, to a more abstract and conceptual manners figuring a monochromic and yet infinite representations.

In the "Colour" section, I intended to present the sensible beauty and elicit the traditional Chinese esteem for lotus ponds. The works are taken by a conventional approach, with visual images enriched through the application of both eastern and western scenic compositions, and the combination of traditional and modern multiple exposure photographic techniques, recreating the visual aesthetic of "freehand style" painting, depicting the "poetic world". This is the art of conventional photography, mere "Subtraction".

In the "Light" section, I further applied this technique, and with the integration of different angles, focuses and apertures into one single picture, the vivacity of lotus pond under different weather, season and lighting conditions are consolidated into one image. Through these Cubism-like creations, I endeavour to translate the perpetuity and infinitude of lotus pond into comprehensible images. Thus the final images are not the narrative realism of the nature as in "traditional photography", but a reinterpretation of the virtual truth, an imaginary world of mine at the time and space when the images are taken. They are yet another interpretation of "decisive moment" of mine, while capturing the very moment of thoughts and emotions when the photos are taken. This is the art of fusion of Subtraction and Addition. The "Shade" section shows a collection of works with non-conventional photographic techniques applied extensively. The multiple exposure technique helps capture my emotion at the moment. This cannot be achieved through post-shooting development. In this way, lotus stems are transformed into forceful and exceptional lines that complement and supplement each other. Crossing over or running in parallel, the lotus stems created some discrete and artistic composition that is impossible to crystalize in reality. The resulting picture is the outcome of new angles and new perceptions that comes not from what we see with our eyes, but from what lotus pond transmitted to our mind. This mirrors the thoughts and rationale of calligraphy, which emphasizes forceful lines, structures, space, rhythm, harmony and infinite soul as far as one can imagine. In this way, I try to infuse the traditional valued beliefs into these images. The reality of the original lotus stems is limited, but through composition, it is infinite.

Lao Tzu said: It is like the eternal void: filled with infinite possibilities.

                     “Empty yet inexhaustible, it gives birth to infinite worlds.”

These compositions attempt to actualize and reinterpret these abstract concepts into a photographic image, not by area of void and emptiness, but by infinite and inexhaustible structures and spaces created by mere withered lotus ponds and ponds alone. It is another approach to the art of fusion of Subtraction and Addition. All the works collected in this exhibition resulted from my efforts to capture and magnify the unique picturesque beauty and features of lotus pond. I instituted the concepts, did the shooting, post-shooting refinement, and even photo development on my own, trying to apply new concepts and elements to portray my profound feelings towards lotus pond, and furnish readers with new ideas, new visions, and new experience. I sincerely hope that you will enjoy going through these works.

It is a great privilege to be able to share this work with you at this exhibition. This will not have been able to materialize if not for the invitation by the Ausmeyer & Gerling gallery. My wholehearted gratitude goes to Mr. Frank BUSS, director of gallery in organising this exhibition. I would also like to extend my gratitude to Mr. Muenkel WOLFGANG. His professional facilitation allows this exhibition to be held smoothly, and my artistic aspiration to be realized. Last but not least, I would like to thank all the co-workers who have participated in the organisation of the exhibition. The final result is a valid proof of your painstaking efforts.








傳統攝影是比較被動的。作者透過相機,利用光圈,快門,在鏡頭下,呈現自己的角度,從而表達個人感思,是攝影師按快門那決定性瞬間所捕捉的片刻面貌。這與在空白畫布上塗上符號來表達作者心思的繪畫有很大分別。英國藝評家約翰.伯格(John Berger)在《觀看的方式(“Way of Seeing”)》的形容最為一針見血:「 攝影師挑選的題材反映了他觀看的方式,畫家則透過在畫布或畫紙上留下的筆觸反映他觀看的方式。」亦有一種法,「攝影是選擇或『減』的藝術」,而「繪畫則是『加』的藝術」。











我嘗試在攝影構圖上將這些抽象的概念重新演繹出來,但不是以「道沖」 為本,而是借用荷枝和荷塘縱横交錯的姿態,呈現「淵兮似萬物之宗」 的面貌。「以無限為有限,以無法為有法」的思想為基礎。可以是另一種「加」與「減」藝術的結合。


今次能舉辦這個展覽,實在需要誠意向Ausmeyer & Gerling展館致謝。沒有他們的邀請,相信我沒機會將本人對荷塘的感思公開展出,與各位分享。另外我亦要多謝籌備今次展覽的展館總監Mr. Frank BUSS;以及向 Mr. Muenkel WOLFGANG致以衷心謝忱,在他協調與協助下,各項工作得以順利完成;本人希望透過今次展覽帶出的理念,亦得以充分發揮。最後,我想在此向各位參與今次展覽的同工致謝,每一件工作都是各單位不懈努力的珍貴成果,得到各方配合,今次才可以將荷塘的美用本人主觀但多變的角度一一呈現。