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Through the Office Window Looking Glass
Hero Apartment Building, 2022 

‘The main idea in my work is about the real and unreal and also the in-between.’  


While So’s Through the office window looking glass is firstly informed and fortified by the genuine history of the building, the expanded concept interleaves layers of real and fabricated histories that critique authenticity and characterise So’s practice.  


So references the Postal Hall’s first floor windows, which were bricked in – forming the billboard shape – when the mid-century Russell Street Telephone Exchange and Post Office became a residential apartment building in 2001. The windows provide a frame for his artwork, the backdrop for which transports the viewer to a 1960s Mad Men style corporate office, while referencing the building’s era and the nostalgic, lush aesthetic of Wong Kar-wai’s renowned film In the Mood for Love.  


The artwork features Scarlett So Hung Son, So’s drag persona, who was inspired by his Hong Kongese and Thai grandmothers. Scarlett appears as a receptionist, dressed in colourful cheongsam against the typical 1960s code. She strikes a series of different poses, but they all peer down to the footpath level, reminiscent of scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s cult film Rear Window. The building’s history is rewritten when So, in effect, reinstates the first-floor windows revealing a glamorous, performative secretary, expressing defiance of her 1960s cultural environment through bright and assertive traditional tailor-made costume and powerful presence. 


So states, ‘Adopting this historical narrative, I imagined six female figures in the 1960s looking down the street sensually from the Postmaster's Department office next to Chinatown to create a scene of watching and being watched, simultaneously shifting the power of the object and the audience.’ 

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