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The Green Messenger by Trevor Yeung

As we have seen a shift in the global conversation about environmental issues, we are keen to deep dive into the work of Hong Kong artist Trevor Yeung and get more insights about Art & Environment. To which extent the art community should also be part of the global conversation? How can the artist use her/ his inspirations to convey or express the changes of our time?

Born in 1988 in Guangdong Province in China, Trevor Yeung graduated from the Academy of Visual Arts at Hong Kong Baptist University in 2010. Trevor currently lives and works in Hong Kong.

Trevor uses botanic ecology, horticulture, photography and installations as metaphors that reference the emancipation of everyday aspirations towards human relationships. Trevor draws inspiration from intimate and personal experiences, which culminate in projects that range from image-based works to large-scale installations. Obsessed with structures and systems, he creates different scales of organizations that allow him to exert control upon living beings, including plants, animals, and spectators as well.

Cactus… Humidity, water, light control: microclimate… Picky plants…  I was warmly welcomed in the artist’s studio, or should I say, his botanical garden. This is the takeaway of the lively discussion we had that afternoon.


I have always used plants as my artwork, in fact plants are what I use to create because when I was an art student, we had the freedom to choose any media, and so I chose what I liked the most. I can express myself through plants, use them for photography or installation projects.

Hong Kong

Im a typical guy who grew up and has been educated in Hong Kong. In the past, the art education system was very different in a sense, since we did not study contemporary art. In fact, we focused more on traditional art forms such as sketching, drawing, and painting. As a result, there wasn’t much critical thinking about art forms. Of course, those elements are part of the arts fundamentals. They give you some entry points in Art History, but when I went to university I started to explore beyond those fundamentals.

I went to college in Hong Kong, where I discovered local art forms. Seeing different local artists triggered my curiosity. Therefore, I tried to question many things in order to deepen my understanding, I endeavoured to do many different things, to experience different directions.  


I studied science in high school so I have a tendency to admire art installations because they involve so many mechanisms: Olafur Eliasson is someone I find very inspiring. Im impressed by his work. It is very sentimental and I focus very much on emotions, so his works speak to me.

Sophie Calle is another great influence: when I was in school I studied her 1986 project Blind” whereby she interviewed blind people about their imagination of beauty. It was really amazing to have their perspective on aesthetics and imagery. I love that approach because its all about curiosity.

Define you art

I dont like to be classified and to be put inside a category. Lets put it this way, Im against this idea to be put in a box. My art is approachable, my art is about curiosity and finally, it is about accepting your emotions. When Im using plants or other media, the topic is always about the relationship between people in the society. I focus on the struggles and communications that people experience daily. My artworks drive emotions, especially those emotions we want to hide.


My inspirations come from two different sources. First, Im very much influenced by what surrounds me. The cultural encounters I make and the emotions they create drive my creativity. Secondly, I also have my personal struggles and some fulfillments I havent achieved yet in my life.  I try to deal with these feelings and taking care of plants is my gateway. I can use it as an escape to study them and their eco-system. I study plants to get an understanding of these living creatures. It takes time to build some knowledge and this time spent is also a way to handle my unfulfilled sentiments as well. From the time I devoted to comprehend plants, I learned to observe: I mean, how to look at plants. In fact, this is a great way to revisit how I can handle my struggles. How do I observe my personal issues? In communicating with people, how do I look at the communication system between individuals? These are questions I integrate into my artworks. I dont believe my work is a way to solve my problems, but it is a way to look at situations and it is a way to connect with people facing the same issues. I force myself to face the issues I need to deal with.

Environmental issues

As an artist who uses plants as a subject its funny because not all my works are about Nature, although this is something I have concern about. I think when we talk about Nature it should be very rational because we know for a fact that things are happening now. In the artwork Im not a direct person, I prefer to use a poetic way to address my audience hence I would leave different possibilities to allow the audience to interpret my message. For example the work I did in Paris in 2018 is about Nature, but the narrative is about typhoon. I dont take the informative data about the damages of the typhoon, the fatalities, the material costs, nor the weather specificities. I chose in fact to focus on how people feel during a natural event like a typhoon. It became an interesting point of view because that typhoon exhibition took place in Paris, where there is basically no typhoon. In a way, we can say that Parisians people have never experienced such kind of natural disasters. However, when they see what happened in areas struck by that natural disaster, they can feel and sense somehow the manifestation of Nature. This is a first step to elaborate on how to connect one to another. Its a great experiment to touch people sensitivity because they can put themselves in the context of Hong Kong or Asia thanks to this exhibition.


Typhoon is a natural disaster that requires moving to a shelter. So people exposed to typhoons are people who have experienced lockdown. That exhibition revealed the anxiety of uncertainty. When it comes to the virus its more extreme: being isolated, living with high uncertainty, quarantine, travel restrictions, stress, fear…

Does that mean I can do an artwork today about the COVID-19 lockdown situation? No I dont think so. We are still living the moment and I think it takes time to process all the impacts and implications of the crisis. Its an interesting material to address our relationships, to reflect on our feelings and our struggles, but I would like to step back first and to wait for more time to digest the whole event. As I said, Im not a direct person so I would indulge myself first in slow process thinking.


Artist in residence: I was travelling, I was experiencing different things. I always travel with my camera, taking pictures, interacting with people… I use these insights as inspirations. Today, artists do not receive invitations any longer, exhibitions are cancelled, art galleries shut down, and trips are discouraged…

I dont necessarily see it as negative because my creative process requires time: time for me to nurture my artistic direction and time as well to perform and work on my subjects. When you use plants, you have to follow Nature’s cycle, and time becomes a key element. I can rebalance my focus and for some artworks that need my presence, Im more effective. In addition, I also recognize some downside to mobility. I was talking to some Scandinavian artists friends who are rethinking the way they travel because it damages the environment. For example they will travel by train when it is more relevant environmentally speaking compared to flying. As an artist, how much do you care about your impact on Nature and environment: is it necessary to travel all the time? At the moment, Im working on an exhibition project in Cologne in Germany and we are trying new ways of working. Technology is a key enabler: now we do video calls and we can somehow execute the work remotely. Its not easy because a lot of things we do for that exhibition are site-specific so it creates new challenges but also new ideas to face the current situation. The new normal is here and we cant produce and ship artwork like in the old days. The world is changing.

Art & sustainability

Being a Hong Kong artist is very interesting because as you know, space in Hong Kong is luxury. The cost for spacious locations is very very expensive for everyone, including artists and art community (i.e. art galleries). For instance, I use wrapping material for my artwork and it is in plastic. With the awareness of environmental issues, I cant rely on this high consumption of plastic in my artwork or color printing anymore, for the obvious reasons of the impact on environment and sustainability. Im in the process of rethinking my waste because this has a huge impact on producing or shipping artwork. To be honest, its a long process – sometimes more expensive – but I understand the urgency and I try to make my contribution at my level but Im not yet at zero waste.

Next projects

Im working on several art pieces I wanted to make for a long time. Now I have more time to do things because I dont travel and I can stay in Hong Kong and focus on my fishes & plants projects.


在藝術的氛圍中楊沛Trevor Yeung

正如我們看到的有關環境問題的全球對話轉變一樣,我們熱衷於深入了解楊沛Trevor Yeung的作品,並獲得有關藝術與環境的更多見解。藝術界反應在多大程度上參與全球對話?藝術家如何利用她/他的靈感來傳達或表達我們時代的變化

楊沛Trevor Yeung1988)出生於中國廣東省。2010)畢業於香港浸會大學視覺藝術學院。目前在旅居在香港生活和工作。

楊沛Trevor Yeung使用植物生態學,園藝,攝影和裝置作為隱喻,指的是對與人際關係的日常追求的解放。從親密的個人經歷中汲取靈感,其最終結果是從基於圖像的作品到大型裝置的項目。他痴迷於結構和系統,創建了不同規模的組織,使他能夠控制包括植物,動物和觀眾在內的生物。

仙人掌濕度,水,光線控制:微氣候挑剔的植物在藝術家的工作室,或者我應該說他的植物園中,我受到熱烈歡迎。 這是我們當天下午進行的熱烈討論的主要內容。



我一直以植物為藝術品,事實上,植物是我創造的東西,因為當我還是藝術系學生時,我們可以自由選擇任何媒體,因此我選擇了最喜歡的媒體。 我可以通過植物表達自己,將它們用於攝影或裝置項目。



我是一個典型的人成長在香港接受教育的人。 過去,從某種意義上說,藝術教育體係是完全不同的,因為我們沒有研究當代藝術。 實際上,我們更專注於素描,繪畫和繪畫等傳統藝術形式。 結果,對藝術形式的批評就自然不多了。 當然,這些元素是藝術基礎的一部分。 它們為您提供了藝術史的一些切入點,但是當我上大學時,我開始探索那些基礎知識之外的東西。

我去了香港的大學,在那裡我發現了當地的藝術形式。 看到不同的本地藝術家激發了我的好奇心。 因此,為了加深理解,我嘗試了很多事物,做很多不同的事情,經歷不同的方向。



我在高中學習科學時,便傾向於欣賞藝術裝置,因為它們涉及許多機制:Olafur Eliasson(註:奧拉維爾·埃利亞松,丹麥裔冰島籍藝術家,以雕塑和大型裝置藝術聞名。他善在作品中使用光、水等元素或調節空氣溫度以增強觀賞體驗。 1995年,他在柏林創建了奧拉維爾·埃利亞松工作室,該實驗室專注於進行空間研究。)是我覺得非常鼓舞人心的人 他的作品給我留下了深刻的印象。 這是非常感性的,我非常注重情感,所以他的作品跟我有著共通的語言。

·卡爾Sophie Calle(註:·卡爾(法語:Sophie Calle1953109日-)是一位法國作家、攝影師、裝置藝術家和觀念藝術家。 卡爾的作品傑出之處在於使用隨心所欲受限制的攝影場景,喚起了1960年代名為「Oulipo」的法國文學運動。 她的作品經常性的描述出人類的脆弱,和身份與私密性的檢視。)是另一個對我深具影響的人在學校的時候,我研究了她的1986年項目“盲”(Blind),在那裡她採訪了盲人關於美的想像。 他們對美學和圖像的看法真是太了不起了。 我喜歡這種方法,因為這全是出於好奇



我不喜歡被分類,也不喜歡被歸類。 讓我們這樣說,我反對把這個想法放在盒子裡。 我的藝術是平易近人的,我的藝術是關於好奇心,最後是關於接受你的情感。 當我使用植物或其他媒體時,主題始終是關於社會中人與人之間的關係。 我專注於人們每天經歷的鬥爭和溝通。 我的作品激發著情感,尤其是我們想要隱藏的情感。






颱風是自然災害,需要搬到避難所。 因此,遭受颱風襲擊的人就是遭受封鎖的人。 那次展覽揭示了不確定性的焦慮。 當涉及到病毒時,它更極端:被隔離,高度不確定的生活,隔離,旅行限制,壓力,恐懼……

這是否意味著我今天可以製作有關COVID-19疫情影響的情況的藝術品?不,我不這麼認為 我們仍然活在當下,我認為需要時間來處理危機的所有影響和弦外之音 處理我們之間的關係,感情和鬥爭的有趣材料,但是我想先退後一步,等待更多時間來消化整個事件。 正如我所說,我不是直接的人,所以我會首先沉迷於緩慢的思考過程中。





成為香港藝術家非常有趣,因為眾所周知,香港的空間是一種奢侈。 寬敞地點的成本對每個人來說都是非常昂貴的,包括藝術家和藝術社區(即美術館)。例如,我將包裹材料用於藝術品,而包裹材料是塑料的。 意識到環境問題之後,由於對環境和可持續性產生影響的明顯原因,我不再可以在藝術品或彩色印刷中再使用這種大量的塑料。 我正在重新考慮自己造成的浪費,因為這對製作或運送藝術品有巨大的影響。 老實說,這是一個漫長的過有時會更昂貴但我了解它所代表的緊急性,在我還沒將之化之為零之前,我會盡我所能來做出自己的貢獻


我正在從事我一直一來想創作的幾件藝術品。 現在我有更多時間做事,因為我不再旅行,人可以留在香港,專注於我的魚類和植物項目。

Author: Sanza BULAYA

Translation by CHUANG Shih-Ning