SUZIE WONG Vincent Fantauzzo in collaboration with Barney Howells 80 x 170 cm oil on canvas


From October 6, 2011 to October 29, 2011 – 10 Chancery Lane Gallery

Australian based artist Vincent Fantauzzo is collaborating with film director Barney Howells to create a new set of works. The collection, comprising fifteen major pieces, will be showcased at a unique exhibition that merges painting with narrative story-telling creating a fully experiential installation.

Vincent’s long standing interest in Hong Kong cinema introduced him to the book and film “The World of Suzie Wong.” The original story is of an artist settling in the red light district of Wanchai in Hong Kong. He finds himself staying in a hotel that’s primary trade is as a bar where sailors come to meet ‘working girls’. The artist, Robert, falls in love with one of the girls, Suzie, and the film revolves around their relationship.

Realising the story had a resonance with audiences today, 50 years after production, Vincent had the idea to reference the themes in a series of paintings.

The pair travelled to Hong Kong in search of the modern interpretation of the narrative.

The movie was a success in its day, connecting with a previous generation. Viewed in the present, it has dated in its telling of fairly controversial subjects. The worlds of art, prostitution and the white establishment in colonial Hong Kong seem somewhat sanitised by the Hollywood production.

Vincent and Barney realised the great potential in re-telling the story, through the art works, set in modern day Hong Kong.

The idea for the exhibition is to present the collection, which will represent key moments in their reworked narrative, alongside illustrative storyboards that flesh out the story. When taken as a whole, the exhibition will allow the audience to experience the narrative as if they were viewing the movie itself. The works will have the scale and resonance of cinematic pieces, while the storyboards evoke the pre-production process, and have the feel of a graphic novel.

Further to this the pair are working with composers on a score to compliment the exhibition, and with a highly regarded production designer to make the gallery space fully experiential.

‘Suzie’ will be an exhibition showcasing Vincent’s celebrated technical style and eye for the cinematic aesthetic. Barney has been working to craft the narrative and has brought his film making background to shape the preparation. There have been castings and location scouts to create the pool of references that the paintings will draw from. In many ways the pair have been following the workflow of movie making in the creation of the works.

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