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March 1 - April 15, 2023

Hong Kong — Odds and Ends is pleased to present Ad Astra, a debut solo exhibition by Hong Kong artist Lio Sze Mei. On view will be new works by Lio, from March 1st to April 8th 2023, with an opening reception on March 1st (Wednesday) from 6-9pm. 

Derived from the Latin phrase “per aspera ad astra”, meaning “through hardships through the star”, Ad Astra is an exhibition heavily inspired by J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. In the book, Peter Pan gives directions to Neverland by instructing “second [star] to the right, and straight on till morning”, a journey Lio associates with her personal pursuit of a utopic dreamland. The allure that Neverland holds for Lio is in its phantom nature and the infinite potentiality in childhood. In Lio’s utopia, a child is permitted to inhabit a boundless world of dreaming, they’re free from the pressure of committing to a path or definite self. The illusive nature of such place is encapsulated in A Floating Planet, 2023, an otherworldly planet where a child can be all things, yet remain nothing — a multitude of possibilities without the burden of actualising any of them.

Lio Sze Mei_The Night Ocean (Detal), 2022, Ink on brass plate, 14x30cm.jpg

Lio Sze Mei, The Night Ocean, 2022, Ink on brass plate, 14 x 30cm

Working with canvas and metal plates, Lio creates hauntingly beautiful dreamt up landscapes. Emulating the hazy effects of dream recollection, Lio scratches the surface of brass and copper plates to create a glistening effect, then processes it with ink and oil to create contrast and depth. Her intricate technique is juxtaposed by simple, often isolated subject matters such as a single child, a lost duck, or in Ad Infinitum, 2023, a carousel. In an effort to metabolise the waking world, Lio’s usage of these subject matters serve as a language of symbols and metaphors that often appear in dreams. These imageries are universal archetypes intrinsic to all human consciousness that illicit thoughts of childhood, dreams and fantasies.

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