29. Paintings of money by Dong Yuan and Lam Tung-pang

Over the summer there was an exhibition of paintings “Transitions: Dong Yuan, Lam Tung-pang and Lao Tongli” (转变:董媛,林东鹏, 劳同丽)at Chambers Fine Art (前波画廊) in New York (22 June – 2 Sept 2017).

Dong Yuan and Lam Tung-pang both feature banknotes in their paintings.

From Chambers Fine Art website:


Paintings by Dong Yuan 董媛 (source: Chambers Fine Art)

In one of her less ‘subconscious’ compositions, Dong Yuan’s creatures coalesce into an image of Chairman Mao on the 100 renminbi note. The painting is meant as a critique on an ‘ugly by-product’ of China’s fast-paced modernization, the writhing mass of creatures representing the greed-obsessed, ‘awful side of human nature’.


Union – by Dong Yuan (source: Chambers Fine Art)


Painting by Lam Tung-pang 林东鹏 (source: Chambers Fine Art)

Lam Tung-pang employs similar currency-related imagery in his recent works. Two Hong Kong currency notes, printed onto Xuan paper and then mounted on canvas, have been methodically ‘erased’, leaving the faded images of a 10 HK dollar note from the British colonial era and a contemporary 100 HK dollar note issued by the Bank of China. In a 2012 article in the Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Lam mused that ‘Administratively, much of Hong Kong has returned to the way it was mandated by China, but its culture and lifestyle won’t return for at least fifty years… We are exactly in the moment of the shift… After one hundred years, there may no longer be a Hong Kong dollar bill, and our identity will not be found anywhere. Perhaps that’s why so many possibilities could happen at this moment.’


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