As a part of the annual window display commission, Hermès has invited Zora Mann to adorn the six windows of their store at Landmark Prince’s, 10 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong with her interpretation of this year’s theme of the Human Odyssey. Within their framework, Mann has created impressions of various travels that expand and contract through a hypertext of visual language. This kaleidoscopic approach mixes her epic visual language into a lookingglass of time, trends and eras. Within her work, we find futuristic creations inspired by architecture; the fragments of biological models; symbols resembling spiritual elements; and compressed landscapes of post-internet microgenres. These various elements become fractals of abstract, universal memories or possible futures cultivating countless untold stories. But these travels are not linear and have no distinct sequence of progression. Mann instead sees the Human Odyssey as a journey that is complex and uncertain; with no start or end. “We return home from our travels, but what is home in our journey through time and space?” A recurring motif are the portholes of the airplane windows, but they all look into different time zones. They create a collage of different times of day, spiralling and expanding past the limitation of the enclosed storefronts.
Colourblocked with a crayon-like saturation, each window radiates psychedelic curiosity with imagery of travel and movement. The flat surfaces upon which roads, city maps and patterns are made form artificial vantage points that distort our perspective of what is near and far. These broad and geometric shapes are drawn to broaden their dimensional limitations, creating an illusion of infinity much like the perpetual spiral of a kaleidoscope. It is a type of progress that continues to evade us and goes on and on.
Window decoration, for Mann, was once a youthful dream career and now, as a contemporary artist, she has found her way to the medium for this occasion. The Hermès objects have been staged throughout her displays to intersect with the seemingly two-dimensional structures Mann has created. Surrounding these pieces is the rich biodiversity of natural and spiritual elements that tumble into an ever-expanding megapolis visible behind each of the shop’s window panes.
In one window, a lanky three-wheeled vehicle is used as a display table. Three-dimensional in its construction, this custom build is decorated with lines and grids, using forced perspective for a paper-like illusion. In the front, two interwoven figureheads steer the vehicle like an elongated torque suspension. It is not a reality we are familiar with, but in it are elements that we might encounter in glimpses along the way. And within this plausible Odyssee, Zora Mann continuously shifts our gaze at a world that might already be happening around us.