Documenting Passing of Time Adrift in Time – Photography by Chun Wai

Seine River
Chun Wai
France, 1980s-1990s

Seine River

Chun Wai

France, 1980s–1990s

The University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG), the University of Hong Kong (HKU), is honoured to work with photographer Chun Wai and the French May Arts Festival to present Adrift in Time—Photography by Chun Wai, an exhibition of photographs taken by the artist in France in the 1980s–1990s. Born in Hong Kong and educated at the École supérieure des beaux-arts de Mulhouse in France, photographer Chun Wai toured Europe on a quest for the beginning of time, understanding that everything he photographed had a finite start and end.

This physical and philosophical journey caused the artist to realise that his insights into the relationship suspended between predestination and chance were leading to an expansive form of loneliness—a state he felt was similar to the torment experienced by the ancient Chinese poets. Chun wandered the streets and alleys of great cultural centres like Paris discovering the collections of its great museums, art galleries and flea markets, along with the vast memories contained within, preserved and passed on through the course of time.

For thirty years, Chun kept his images of France stored away in a box, as if preserving these treasured memories in a corner of time; a souvenir from which he can now extract memories. Since the ’90s, some of the negatives have deteriorated to the point that the original images are no longer recognisable. They have become tangible illustrations of the passing of time, while the artist’s memories reactivate his endless associations. Whereas it has been said that photography freezes time, Chun’s images and their varying states of damage attest to the flood of time. The reading of these images now leads to another journey, crossing the boundary between memory and forgetting, towards the subsequent truth of chaos.

For more images and captions of the exhibits, please click here.

Details of the Exhibition

Period: May 20, 2022 (Friday) to September 25, 2022 (Sunday)

Opening Hours:

9:30 am–6:00 pm (Tuesday to Saturday)

1:00 pm–6:00 pm (Sunday)

Closed on Mondays, University and Public Holidays

Venue: Fung Ping Shan Building, UMAG, HKU, 90 Bonham Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

Tel/Email: (852) 2241 5500 (General Enquiry) / [email protected]

Admission: Free


Connect with UMAG on Social Media:


Instagram: @umag_hku, #UMAG, #AdriftInTime

Weibo: @香港大學美術博物館UMAG



About University Museum and Art Gallery of the University of Hong Kong (UMAG)

UMAG was founded in 1953 as the Fung Ping Shan Museum. It was originally established as the Fung Ping Shan Library in 1932 in honour of its benefactor. For more information on UMAG, please click here.

Media Enquiries

UMAG Curator (Education) Ms Elena Cheung, Tel: (852) 2241 5512, Email: [email protected]

UMAG Junior Curatorial Assistant Ms Lorraine Choi, Tel: (852) 2241 5506, Email: [email protected]

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