Spotlight: How Rising Hong Kong Artist Mak2 Uses Feng Shui and the Sims to Create Thought-Provoking Paintings

The artist's third solo exhibition is currently on view at de Sarthe Gallery.

Portrait of the artist Mak2 (2021). Courtesy of the artist and de Sarthe Gallery.
Portrait of the artist Mak2 (2021). Courtesy of the artist and de Sarthe Gallery.

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About the Artist: The conceptual artist Mak Ying Tung (b. 1989) contemplates philosophy, art history, politics, the internet, and technology through painting, sculpture, and installation. In 2018, the artist added a “2” to her Chinese name after visiting a Feng shui master who suggested that appending the extra calligraphic stroke would maximize her chances of fame and fortune. Ahead of her third solo exhibition, titled “House of Fortune,” at de Sarthe Gallery in Hong Kong, the artist has compressed her name to Mak2 (though she also goes by Mak Ying Tung 2). The show, which includes an ongoing series of triptychs and new multimedia installations, is deeply informed by Mak2’s interest both in Feng shui and technology. 

Why We Like It: Mak2’s paintings and installations are marked by humor and sensitivity, taking particular interest in ideas of domesticity, faith, and value in our contemporary age. The paintings on view represent a sub-series of triptychs within her broader “Home Sweet Home” series, made using the life simulation game “The Sims.” This time around, she composed strangely idyllic environments inspired by Hong Kong with the advice of a Feng shui master who offered guidance on color choices, décor, and positioning for each digital composition. The artist then divided these interiors into thirds, screenshot the sections, and sent each to a different e-commerce painter, adding elements of chance to the final artwork given the artists’ varying skill levels. In other works like her installations Feeding the Multitude and Clever Calculation I, also on view in the exhibition, Mak2 questions how longstanding beliefs in rituals, domesticity, and art can be translated into our contemporary times.

What the Gallery Says: “The added element of Feng shui in this new series of triptychs explores the idealization of home through the lens of superstition. By allowing a Feng shui master to intervene in a place as intimate as home, the artist implies the notion of belief over one’s liking. While the original ‘Home Sweet Home’ series forms a commentary on the ineluctable disparity between fantasy and reality, the use of superstition in the new paintings speaks to the influence of faith over perception. Utilizing Feng shui properties applicable to both the virtual environments and their resulting triptychs, the artworks are believed to bring good fortune to the exhibition.”

Browse works by the artist below.

Mak Ying Tung 2
Home Sweet Home: Feng Shui Painting, Water 2 (2021)
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Mak Ying Tung 2, Home Sweet Home: Feng Shui Painting, Water 2 (2021). Courtesy of de Sarthe.

Mak Ying Tung 2, Home Sweet Home: Feng Shui Painting, Water 2 (2021). Courtesy of de Sarthe.

 

Mak Ying Tung 2
Home Sweet Home: Feng Shui Painting, Earth 1 (2021)
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Mak2, Home Sweet Home Feng Shui Painting, Earth 1 (2021). Courtesy of artist and de Sarthe.

Mak2, Home Sweet Home Feng Shui Painting, Earth 1 (2021). Courtesy of artist and de Sarthe.

Mak Ying Tung 2
Home Sweet Home: Feng Shui Painting, Fire 4 (2021)
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Mak Ying Tung 2, Home Sweet Home: Feng Shui Painting, Fire 4 (2021). Courtesy of de Sarthe.

Mak Ying Tung 2, Home Sweet Home: Feng Shui Painting, Fire 4 (2021). Courtesy of de Sarthe.

 

Mak Ying Tung 2
Home Sweet Home: Feng Shui Painting, Metal 2 (2021)
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Mak2, Home Sweet Home Feng Shui Painting, Metal 1, 2021. Courtesy of artist and de Sarthe

Mak2, Home Sweet Home Feng Shui Painting, Metal 1 (2021). Courtesy of artist and de Sarthe.

 

Mak Ying Tung 2
Sweet Home: Feng Shui Painting, Fire 1 (2021)
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Mak2, Home Sweet Home Feng Shui Painting, Fire1 (2021). Courtesy of artist and de Sarthe

Mak2, Home Sweet Home Feng Shui Painting, Fire 1 (2021). Courtesy of artist and de Sarthe.

 

House of Fortune” is on view at de Sarthe Gallery through December 4, 2021.


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