Pékin Fine Arts is pleased to present Daphné Mandel’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, as she continues exploring Hong Kong’s man-made urban landscapes juxtaposed against a backdrop of lush tropical greenery. The close-knit cohabitation of edifices and foliage, the natural vs. the artificial, provide the starting off point for her representations of a Hong Kong both real and fantastic. The Hong Kong of her imagination, is familiar yet surreal; ultimately rendered as an exquisite city of the artist’s imagination.
Hong Kong, for me, is a city of densely packed contrasts, by virtue of its compact urban fabric that coexists and intersects with its lush and abundant natural environment. Organic City presents a series of works that transpose and reinterpret this paradox in my own visual language: A city, simultaneously man-made and “organic” as living breathing matter, alive, and natural. – Daphné Mandel
Daphné Mandel’s latest works depict deliberately imaginary and incongruous scenes of intertwined relationships between the city’s manufactured and natural elements. In Oasis and in Pink Lady, luxuriant tropical foliage and rock formations infiltrate and wrap Hong Kong’s archetypal building facades.
Tree Metamorphosis and Roots evoke the tenacious vegetation surviving in the city’s concrete jungle; the relentless roots perforating walkways, stairs, retaining walls and edifices, exploiting any gap or void to reconquer lost territory.
In the triptych Densities, (Wanchai, North Point and Sham Shui Po), the creative process began with urban plans of building footprints. Contours and shapes of blocks are juxtaposed; density is visually exaggerated and manipulated; and finally, a land saturated yet perpetually renewed is revealed as a uniquely Hong Kong urbanscape. Neighborhoods of building clusters are re-imagined as abstract entities, now re-assembled, miniaturized, scattered, and perforated, like splashes of ink or pieces of an organic puzzle.
Ms. Mandel’s latest artworks are mixed media imaginary portraits of Hong Kong, and rely on a combination of skills, utilizing hand cutting and collage, painting, photography, urban design, and photomontage.
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Daphné MANDEL was born in 1975 in Lausanne, Switzerland to a French father and a Dutch mother and grew up in Paris. She credits her Dutch grandmother, a respected textile artist, with instilling in her a deep appreciation of art and painting. Daphné studied architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning in Versailles and graduated in 2000. She co-founded the Paris based landscape architecture and urban planning firm Gilot & Mandel Paysage. She and her partner were named “Best Young Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture Professionals” by the French Ministry of Culture (2006). As a result, a number of public parks, city centres, cultural sites, and sports venues in France and abroad bear Daphne’s touch. She found inspiration in her move to Hong Kong in 2008 to explore other means of creative and artistic expression. Daphné’s artworks explore old Hong Kong’s urban and natural landscape while introducing imaginary and whimsical elements as a way to exploit the incredible urban paradoxes of this city in constant metamorphosis.
Daphné has been featured extensively in local and international press including the Wall Street Journal, the South China Morning Post, RTHK Radio4, BlouinArt Info, Home Journal, Zolima CityMag, Elle Décor and Architectural Digest.