Agnes b's Librairie Galerie is a precious gem hidden amongst the myriad of bars, restaurants, shops and escalators in the chaos and confusion of the Mid-Levels Soho area in Hong Kong. I have visited it on numerous occasions, enjoying the delicate balance of combining a book shop with an exhibition space in a minute environment and have enjoyed in equal measure their curitorial choices. So what happened with their latest show?

Pierre La Police is the current exhibitor in agnes b. The show, entitled Traumavision, consists of three videos and a series of prints based on b-movie stills and clips. The prints have images taken from horrors, each one has various drawings placed within it, as in the layout of a comic book page. They depict a plethora of monsters, lagoon creatures, gory beings of various shapes and forms, scenes of violence and of course, screaming women. All drawn in pseudo cartoon style, they are slickly printed on glossy paper and exhibited as photographs would on mounted sheets of aluminium. The whole show is very polished and professionally presented but it lacks depth. It is not that the work is particularly feeble, you can see that a lot of care has been taken in its final presentation, but just that it requires more clarity of message. The subject matter and end product seem rather discordant. The attractive, bright colours are at odds with their theme. The images are taken from vernacular sources, so why not present them printed on cheap comic book paper and take them back to their original source? The drawing style is that of badly drawn wood carves so why glorify them in a medium that does not belong to them? Equally if they are supposed to be highly finished pieces of work then they lack conviction and the line becomes too sloppy, lazy and should be left to depict an episode of Beavis and Butthead.

I did try to spend a while in the gallery to see if anything was going to ooze in, but in the end I could not even be 'traumavisionized'. By the time I got to the videos I was exhausted from looking at the prints and trying to justify the expense of the two taxis I had taken to get me there. Maybe it was because of jet lag, maybe because I had just landed in Hong Kong that day and I should not have visited the gallery that same afternoon; I was not in a particularly receptive mood. Overall the show left me feeling rather indifferent. I would suggest that if you find yourself in those parts of the world, have a look at the pleasing gallery space but if you are seeking artistic inspiration, a visit to the Nepalese restaurant on the other side of the road is a much more successful choice.

Gaia Persico


Above: image from invitation card, courtesy of Agnes b's.

Agnes b's Librairie Galerie,22 Elgin St, Central, Hong Kong.