Cargo and Decoy, 1989 - 2010

Hong Kong 2016
Osage Gallery
Plywood, acrylic, wooden sawhorses
Cargo and Decoy is colored by the artist’s experience during WWII: He and his contemporaries looked up at the skies anticipating bombs from fighter planes and the impending destruction they would bring. The material choice of plywood is significant as an emblem of reconstruction. The title references the South Pacific cargo cults, which South Pacific islanders perceived as the source of wealth and power of the Europeans and Americans. It was held that if proper ceremonies were performed, shipments of riches would be sent from some heavenly place. The artwork questions realism and tradition as well as the shuffling of geopolitical powers in the construction of ‘modernity’. Cargo and Decoy is exemplary of Chabet’s contribution to the development of contemporary art in Southeast Asia and the complex questions raised that have since shaped contemporary discourse in the region. 《Cargo and Decoy》突出藝術家在第二次世界大戰的親身經歷:他與那一代 的人不時要抬頭仰望天空,時刻擔憂戰鬥機投下炸彈,造成毀滅性的後果。 藝術家在材料上選用了膠合板,意味著「重建」的重要象徵。作品的標題顯 示對南太平洋船貨的崇拜,因為在南太平洋島民的眼中,船貨是歐洲人和美 國人權力與財富的來源。人們認為,如果舉行特定的儀式,財富會從天堂般 的地方運送而來。作品就建立中的「現代性」而言,對現實主義、傳統及重 組中的地緣政治權力提出疑問。《Cargo and Decoy》是 Chabet 對東南亞當代 藝術發展之貢獻的示範,作品提出的種種問題後來也塑造了該地區的當代對 話形態。