Octomania (On drawing the number eight)

Chu Yun, Bianca Lei, Duan Jian Yu, Otto Li, Zhou Tao, Curated by Christina Li

Sep 07 – Oct 08, 2006

Inspired by our home-grown genre of gambling films, Octomania (On drawing the number eight) takes a look at gambling and its role in contemporary Chinese society and issues around popular traditional forms of folk beliefs and myths and the extent they structure our lives. The show features artists from the Pearl River Delta region, including Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Macau, with works meditating on the nature of bookmaking and how the quest for good luck, a fundamental component of Chinese life, is related to the gambler's spiritual belief to be able to break through the established order of the game.

The very first accounts of gambling were recorded in China. With the Chinese as the biggest gambling population in the world, raking up an annual expenditure of 600 billion Yuan alone on online gambling last year; gambling is perhaps more predominant in our culture than we think. Set in the context of the PRD region, the exhibition, sets out to reflect on the population's fanaticism in superstition for fortune-seeking and life reversals, a prevalent belief in China and augmented in the Guangdong region. Gambling, essentially a Chinese invention, like divination, both seeks for spiritual affirmation, attempts to predict, manipulate and to an extent, change one's fate. From spatial arrangement and interventions, idol worship to rituals, gamblers and the masses share the same hope for change and liberation, and the spread and creation of these acts work intermittently to consolidate a belief system where people seek solace in.

Octomania (On drawing the number eight) will feature paintings, installation and mixed-media works aiming to examine the ways beliefs are created through icons and myths and the sanctity that connects the two activities together. Taking cues from the Chinese everyday life and media fueled icons, they are transformed by the artists, to present a humourous, and sometimes somber view of gambling and fanaticisms.

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