Meet Gudrun Kittel-Thong. The artist who believes in the attraction of polarity – colour, personality, life and everything in between – had me sat down with her one Sunday afternoon in January at her house in the dissimilar tranquil area in Hong Kong.
Inside her house, four 1m x 1m canvases filled with free flow colours hang on different sides of the wall. They belong to the same series – flow graphic. Started as an experiment, the artist later continues the concept in correspondence with the unanticipated events in life. ‘Everything is in flow,’ she says, ‘nothing stays the same. If you control things too much, they walk against.’
With such a strong life reference, do you see yourself as an optimistic person from the use of vibrant colours in Personality?
G: Do not interpret it too much. Personality is an intricate product from various experiences, beliefs and observations over the years. Sometimes you expect life to be straight-forward and well-behaved, but most of the time it goes sideway, knitting the visible layers on top and the invisible layers beneath together. And that makes a person.
When you work on a piece of art, do you have a vision in mind beforehand or just let the colour play as it pleases?
G: When I start, I have a picture in my head. And as the colours develop, I can see the work goes into a different direction. I didn’t know how will they behave but I accept and follow the sideways. At the end, it’s always slightly different from the original result in mind. It’s the uncontrolled outcome that makes every single one of them unique.
Just like life?
G: Yes, there’s no right or wrong. I provide them the space, the opportunity and the time to flow. Let it flow and see how it develops. Opposite attracts. And whatever you fill in is what you see.
I saw that you restrict the canvases a little bit in these two. Tell me about it.
G: This one is my impression of the beach. I used the three prevailing colours you find on the beach – blue the water, red the sun and yellow the sand. And of course, pinches of real sand. No specific meaning to it, just a holiday spirit. And that one, I call it Octopus Garden Legs. Again, I use strong colour straight out from the tin, let one colour flow on the canvas at a time, dry for 24 hours, then another one. It takes weeks to finish.
Wow, that’s long! I guess time is much needed in the creation of harmony from the opposites. Thank you so much for having me today and I am looking forward to your next piece in the series.
G: Thank you so much.
“Paradoxically though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” ― Oscar Wilde
Featured artist – Gudrun Kittel-Thong
Photography and text – Hong Hiu Ching