We must construct as well as destroy

Found objects, light installations, drawing, lightbox, marble sculptures, 2010-2012


Ashton Webb's Prophecy
Concept photo for Aston Webb's Prophecy

Consisting of photographic installations, lightboxes, print and sculpture the new body of work takes as its starting point, repaired bullet holes found in the Legislative Council Building. Built by English architect Aston Webb, the building is Neoclassical in style and one of the few remaining colonial structures in Hong Kong; the architect took his inspiration from many late 17th and early 18th century English architects and buildings, in particular the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. LEGCO was completed in 1912; fourteen years after the British and Chinese governments signed the Second Convention of Peking. The building originally housed the Supreme Court of Hong Kong, becoming the Legislative Council Building in 1985, with the British return of Hong Kong's sovereignty to China the name of the building was changed again to reflect the Council's Chinese name.

click images below for detail

I'm glad we have been boomedAston Webb's ProphecyIt was lovelyWe must construct as well as destroy
Stop useless resistenceENEMY BOMBINGTime is very tightWe still need to fight
Only time can tellDAMAGEDUntitled

The year prior to the completion of LEGCO, Aston Webb finished the Queen Victoria Memorial, which stands outside Buckingham Palace, the eastern façade of which he redesigned in 1913. The bullet holes in the LEGCO building are often thought to date to World War II during the battle for Hong Kong; when Japan occupied the island the building became the headquarters of the Hong Kong Military Police.

There is no official account of who was responsible for the hundreds of bullet holes. Historically they have simply been put down to ‘enemy fire’. In this instance – a site of shifting power and conflict - the ‘enemy’ remains anonymous and indefinite. Leung continues his interest in the relativity of perception; how certain histories - and memories -shape our understanding of the world around us; how history is represented and interpreted.

Photographs of the close up bullet holes form light installations which include texts (in English, Japanese and Chinese) etched upon them, these range from a statement by a Japanese tourist to Only time can tell, the response of Zbigniew Brzezinski former National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter, commenting upon the One Country Two Systems policy. Another quote includes I’m glad we have been bombed, the now famous quote by Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother after Buckingham Palace was bombed by Germany’s Luftwaffe in 1940.

Other elements of the series include a lightbox with a 1913 quote by Webb referring to his desire to beautify London south of the river and a set of twelve marble sculptures, each a letter spelling ‘ENEMY BOMBING’ modeled on a commemorative inscription on the Aston Webb facade of the V&A, London after it was bombed.