‘Wing Shya: Female Trouble’

by Mio Yamada

Gallery Speak For

Closes March 2

Hong Kong-based Wing Shya is primarily a fashion photographer, known for edgy editorial spreads in Britain’s iD, French Vogue, Japan’s Men’s no-no magazines and more, so it’s not surprising that he has chosen stunningly beautiful women as the subjects of “Female Trouble.” Many of the women’s poses are reminiscent of those found in fashion magazines, and, in fact, some of the photographs on display are from editorial shoots.

But these images, personally selected by Wing, focus more on ambience and aesthetics than selling clothes. Though beautiful slim Asian women could be considered a cliche, Wing’s subjects express a strength and modernity in both their expressions and their styling.

Wing is also well known for being the exclusive still photographer for film director Wong Kar-wai, and like the vivid photos he has taken for films such as “Happy Together,” “In the Mood for Love” and “2046,” his editorial and art images are just as cinematic, alluring and enigmatic, each hinting at a hidden narrative: What is she thinking about? Where is she going? Who is she waiting for?

Wing’s color palettes — ranging from hyper-radiant and saturated to blurred and muted — also recall the atmospherics of Wong’s acclaimed movies. Though these are also traits of candid retro-style photography, Wing’s highly stylized compositions, carefully posed models and impeccable styling put his work somewhere between art and commercialism. One editorial image is simply a blurry figure of a woman, arms outstretched to touch the walls of a hallway, suffused in a glow of red and orange, while in a personal photo taken by Wing, the woman, posing with a parasol in falling snow, could easily be a shot from a film set.

This blurring of genres could be the key to his success. His first solo exhibition was at the Mori Art Museum in 2006 and he has since held several exhibitions in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Now he has also moved onto feature film with the release of “Hot Summer Days” in 2010, which he co-directed with Tony Chan.

Gallery Speak For is a 2-min. walk from Daikanyama Station (Tokyu Toyoko Line); admission free and images are available to buy; open 11 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Thu. For more information, visit www.galleryspeakfor.com
(Japanese only).