Scene III: Chris Huen Sin-kan, Forwards & Backwards, Back & Forth

11 Apr-25 May 2024

Matt Carey-Williams​​​​‌‍​‍​‍‌‍‌​‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‌‌‍‍‌‌‍‍​‍​‍​‍‍​‍​‍‌​‌‍​‌‌‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‌​‌‍‌​‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍​‍​‍​‍​​‍​‍‌‍‍​‌​‍‌‍‌‌‌‍‌‍​‍​‍​‍‍​‍​‍​‍‌​‌‌​‌‌‌‌‍‌​‌‍‍‌‌‍​‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‌‌​‌‍‌‌‌‍‍‌‌​​‍‌‍‌‌‌‍‌​‌‍‍‌‌‌​​‍‌‍‌‌‍‌‍‌​‌‍‌‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌‍‌‌
London W2 2BS


For an artist whose practice has consistently engaged with the prose of his everyday life, a gentle – yet no less cogent – poesy perfumes the air of Chris Huen Sin-kan’s achingly beautiful paintings. His is a melody of paint that weeps in the gardens to which he and his family make regular visits together and trembles – sometimes in disquiet, other times in adventure – in the woods where he walks his two dogs. Huen’s insistence on unveiling what he calls ‘the ordinariness of my unsubstantial experiences’ thus sits at odds with the fugue-like polyphony of his compositions, nourished by a delicate, tremulous mark making that seems to hover over his subject, eliciting a metamorphosis of form and nuance that sees the ordinary effloresce into the remarkable.

This wedding of an unadorned description of one’s usual life with a painterly vernacular ordinarily associated with dreamy descriptions of wish and wonder is the hallmark of Huen’s art. By concentrating on protagonists and routines with whom he is most familiar, the artist empowers himself to both divulge and indulge in a painterly craft that offers more than the mere registration such regularity or ordinariness requires. Huen is blessed with a faculty that enables his brush to accentuate and comfort his subject, even as it inveigles the mood and atmosphere that occupies them, but without ever shifting their material status as real people in a real world or our basic experience and understanding of that status. Huen wants his viewer to knowingly drift between earthly, grounded prose and empyreal, magical poetry, as if lifted by a gentle hallucination, yet remain anchored to the reality of his figure and focus.