Out of Frame (Wai Lun Kwok) Hong Kong. Official Section

Out of Frame
Wai Lun Kwok
Hong Kong. 2016. 95 min

Over the years, Tang has insisted on painting in black. These so-called ‘Black Paintings’ are created by splashing black paint on black canvases; thus, all finished works look the same. Like most of the artists, he lives hand-to-mouth by selling his paintings one at a time. Life in the East Village is not any easier. There are tens of thousands of artists competing for an elusive kind of breakthrough. Tang, his fellow artists and dear friend Gold, must seize every single chance. However, the first exhibition they try to organise is shut down by the government. Tang starts to use his own blood to create Black Paintings as a protest to all kinds of violence and oppression. A female filmmaker Mary comes to the East Village to make a documentary called Real Artist and gradually becomes Tang’s anchor. Unfortunately, Tang was once again arrested during a private party/exhibition organised by Mary. Since then Tang starts to utilize the form of ‘Performance Art’ and his own body to express his reflections on this ruthless world. Tang finds the audacity to unleash his inner powers to fight for his artistic ideals till the end, amidst extreme oppression and introspective struggles, and becomes a prototype of free spirit.


Born in 1969 in Hong Kong, he studied Theatre Design at Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, pursued Film-making at School of Visual Art (New York). In 1997, he made his first feature, ‘In the Dumps’, which won the Silver Award at the Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Award. It was also be invited to the 3rd Busan international film festival and nominated in the main competition of French Amien’s film festival 1998. His second feature and ‘so and so’ (2000), was likewise selected for several international film festivals. ‘Darkness Bride’ (2004), his third feature film, was invited to the 54th Berlin Forum, as well as the 8th Busan IFF, the Seattle Film Festival and many other festivals. He has self-produced all of his features.


“In China, many artists, i.e. poets, writers, painters, filmmakers, are at high-risk … of course, not everyone will get into trouble, as long as you obey the rules of the game. For me, the essential nature of art is precisely NOT to subject to any authority or institutions. But this principle does not apply in China. Official shackles on the freedom of expression and more insidiously, self-censorship both suppress the nature of the genuine artist. Market value becomes the only recognised value in the art world. Certain factions of society might even believe that these so-called ‘troublesome artists’ are only putting on a political show to profit themselves and so on. I do not want to argue with them. Shouldn’t we focus our attention to discuss and respect the art itself, rather than to suspect the artist’s intention, in the first place?”


Wai Lun Kwok :   wailunkwok7@gmail.com