Tracing paper (laser print) and fish tackle thread
150 x 600 cm
Han Fengâ€™s Floating City plays with deliberate contradictions from its title on down. Neither sculpture nor drawing, Fengâ€™s piece is composed of hundreds of tracing paper buildings of various sizes, their laser- printed details deriving from images of city architecture, which are grouped in dense clusters and hung from the ceiling with transparent fish tackle thread. Hovering a couple of inches off the gallery floor, Floating City has an ethereal, almost spectral quality; it shivers and sways with the movement of visitors. Depicting a city â€“ something we associate, especially in recent times, with population density, atmospheric pollution, architectural diversity and multicultural vibrancy â€“ as something weightless, depopulated, semi-transparent and fragile, Fengâ€™s work asks us to consider the city as something imagined, an idea as much as a place. This might be what a utopia looks like â€“ a notion expressed in language, impossible to realise in reality.
The cityâ€™s pale palette certainly appears drained of life, as though emptied of occupants; the use of tracing paper implies preparation, a stage before completion. Looking down on this ghostly apparition, weâ€™re separated from it both physically and conceptually: itâ€™s perpetually distant, a mirage.
Text by Ben Street