Noble Rot

Dec 4, 2021 – Feb 20, 2022
22/F, Wing Wah Industrial Bldg.
677 King's Rd, Quarry Bay
Hong Kong
Opening Reception
Part One: Dec 3, 7–9pm
Part Two: Jan 28, 7–9pm

Herman Chan Ho Wang, Natasha Cheung, Chu Hoi Ding, Koel Chu Ka Kiu, Chung Wing Shan, Hong Wah, Rannie Ip Ka Man, Florence Lam, Man Ting Vanessa Lam, Wing Sze Ng, Michelle Tam Man Ching, Tam Rafael Vun Kwan, Hou Lam Tsui, Ice Wong Kei Suet, Wong Pak Hang, Wong Winsome Dumalagan, Jennifer Yue Yuen Yu, and Yuen Nga Chi


To draw Para Site’s first 25 years to a close as we look ahead to the next, Para Site presents ‘Noble Rot’, a two-part exhibition of all new commissions by the 18 artists participating in the inaugural edition of 2046 Fermentation + Fellowships. The artists are invited to revisit Para Site’s founding ethos of deep play and experimentationtaking a big leap of faith, together. 

At its core, ‘Noble Rot’ is a pipe dream: an impractical unfolding of what it means to make space for a felix culpa. Rapid-fire series of unfortunate events spell disaster and disenchantment as a matter of course, but there may still be ways for us to make room for happy accidents and secret pleasures. In viniculture, exceptional if not unsettling flavours of decay may reveal themselves at select moments in ‘noble rot’, a paradoxical and meticulous yielding of unusually concentrated and refined sweet wines from ripened grapes that have been compromised by a destructive fungal infestation. Noble rot, put differently, undermines the routine effects of infection and invasion by way of metabolic transformation. A happenstance in the mythologies of vinification, noble rot gives us a taste of fundamental contradiction. Ruined clusters belie an uncorrupted sweetness, but who will harvest the fruits of fermentation at the right moment?

Deep-diving into these byproducts of fermentation as an explicitly public practice, the artists of the exhibition expose the seams of cultural production in the midst of crisis. The shifting minutiae of fermentation emerge as a material study, an improvisational process, and a critical lens into times of fracture and emergency. Each fissure in the depths of the oldest metabolic pathway known to the anthropocentric age fizzles and morphs from one moment to the next; any given door may well lead to worlds as far-flung in form, shape, and time even as they remain sutured together by collective memory and historical rupture. Other portals open up to newly solidified ideas and extensions of those that were abandoned as they find curious overlaps and uncomfortable intimacies with each other. 

The new commissions in ‘Noble Rot’ unearth ostensibly concrete relations of ruling, labour, and capital as lines drawn in the sand, soon to be swallowed up and spat back out as foam and froth with vigorous action. Just as nebulous are boundaries and borders only felt, heard, sensed, and intuited: what scars and bruises does a learned alienation leave behind? In an increasingly airless terroir, feral cultures surreptitiously locate other futures on unruly lands. Under airlock, accumulated affects creep and advance like invasive species, but a second glance tells us that they were never as injurious as they appeared. 

What fermentation manages to offer at this current moment of vulnerability, then, is as much a checking of the pulse as a steadying of the hand, in anticipation of revelations both welcome and dreaded, and of gestures and marks we have never made before.

Divided into two exhibition arcs, the exhibiting artists of Part 1 (4 Dec 2021–16 Jan 2022) are: Herman Chan Ho Wang, Natasha Cheung, Chu Hoi Ding, Koel Chu Ka Kiu, Rannie Ip Ka Man, Florence Lam, Man Ting Vanessa Lam, Hou Lam Tsui, and Wong Winsome Dumalagan; the exhibiting artists of Part 2 (29 Jan 2022–Feb. 20 2022) are: Chung Wing Shan, Hong Wah, Wing Sze Ng, Michelle Tam Man Ching, Tam Rafael Vun Kwan, Ice Wong Kei Suet, Wong Pak Hang, Jennifer Yue Yuen Yu, and Yuen Nga Chi.

The exhibition catalogue will be launched at the opening of Part Two on 28 Jan 2022.

‘Noble Rot’ is organised by Cusson Cheng, Celia Ho, Kobe Ko, and Ellie Tse.

‘Noble Rot’ is financially supported by the Project Grant of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. The Hong Kong Arts Development Council fully supports freedom of artistic expression. The views and opinions expressed in this project do not represent the stand of the Council.


Supported by

Part One Artist Bios

Herman Chan Ho Wang

Herman Chan Ho Wang (b.1998, Hong Kong) graduated from the School of Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong in 2020. His art practice focuses on photography, especially documentary photography. His work revolves around the politics of photography, social phenomena, suffering, and relations of power. He has been taking street photographs since he was 18. As an observer on the street, he sees social injustice and speaks out against them via the medium of photography. In his works, he is often presented as a bystander, while he assumes the role of participant sometimes.


Natasha Cheung

Natasha Cheung (b.1998, Sydney) received her BA in Fine Arts and Visual Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 2020 and her MA in History of Art and Archaeology from SOAS, University of London in 2021. She sees paradox as a necessity and strives to make this visible and visceral through practicing installation, photography, video, performance, conversation, as well as drawing itself as forms of drawing. In particular, she is interested in the languages and belief structures constructed to describe sight and vision, and making visible how these non-neutral interfaces have contributed to continued colonial imaginaries as well as how to manipulate these languages to render the absurdity of our reality. She is currently thinking and working with the materiality of gelatin and its legacy as an ingredient in painting and photographic processes, in order to expose non-neutral frameworks of seeing and interpretation.


Chu Hoi Ding

Currently based in Hong Kong, Chu Hoi Ding (b.1994, Hong Kong) graduated from the Academy of Visual Art of the Hong Kong Baptist University in 2017. Focusing on ceramics and raw clay creations, she often combines mixed medium elements, such as ready-made objects and images, with clay. Through the proposition of ‘destructive construction’, she meditates on daily lives and beings.


Koel Chu Ka Kiu

Koel Chu (b.1996, Hong Kong) is a writer from Hong Kong. Her recent work has appeared on Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, Asia Art Archive’s IDEAS Journal, Fleurs des Lettres, SAMPLE, BIOS Monthly and Still / Loud. She is a full-time (disheartened) art administrator.


Rannie Ip Ka Man

Rannie Ip Ka Man (b.1997, Hong Kong) focuses on self-exploration and self-reflection in her family relationships. Her practice often centers upon video and photography with found objects and archival materials. She graduated with a BFA with Honors in Cinematic Design and Photographic Digital Art in 2021.


Florence Lam

Florence Lam (b.1992, Vancouver) is currently based in Hong Kong. Lam works with wonder and magical thinking to fuse together current moral issues with child-like worldviews through performance art, poetry, video and sound. Her practice explores the fertility and sterility of the mind manifested through the properties of the biological body. She is also interested in language as a hint to the evolution of human values and spiritual understanding. She obtained her MA in Fine Art from Iceland Academy of the Arts in 2017 and her BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins in 2014. She is the co-founder and co-curator of Per.Platform, a Hong Kong-based live art platform founded in 2021.


Man Ting Vanessa Lam

The practice of Man Ting Vanessa Lam (b.1997, Hong Kong) centers around the photographic concerns of light and time, presence and absence. Through prints and installation, she explores the meaning of these broad notions in specific terms of place and identity. Fascinated by abstractions in nature and language, her current research interest is the language and form of resistance, memory and protest. Drawing on photographic images of personal and often political significance, such as the dawn, erased graffiti, and torn posters, she explores the possibilities of these images and memories that inform our times. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art in 2020.


Hou Lam Tsui

Hou Lam Tsui (b.1997, Hong Kong) is a Hong Kong-based artist. Tsui received a BA in Fine Art and History of Art at the University of Leeds in 2018. Her practice centres around personal experience, gender politics, boundaries, and peripheral storytelling. She also writes poems.


Wong Winsome Dumalagan

Wong Winsome Dumalagan (b.1994, San Fernando, the Philippines) mainly works on videography and the sculpting of images. In moving along with her camera, composing and sculpting the texture and rhythm of images, she believes that art helps guide her in comprehending and stepping into daily life. Therefore, her practice is primarily about daily life and the people around her. Creating works as she moves around different cultural contexts such as Cambodia, the Philippines, and Hong Kong, she explores the authority of images and artworks, and acts as an ‘agent’ or ‘co-creator’ with people around her. She’s a member of Floating Projects Collective.  


Part One Installation Views