Mak2 (aka Mak Ying Tung 2, b. 1989, Hong Kong) is a conceptual artist. Her work contemplates 21st century issues through the study of philosophy, art history, culture, shifting socio-political environments, the internet, and new technology. The aesthetic experience she crafts is bound by the dualism of humour and intense inquisitiveness. She creates, installations, paintings, drawings, video work, YouTube videos, stand-up comedy routines, and Instagram filters.
Originally named Mak Ying Tung, the artist added the ‘2’ to her name in 2018 after visiting a Fengshui master in the hopes of gaining fame and fortune by perfecting the number of strokes in her Chinese name. To streamline the Fengshui master’s prediction from three years ago, Mak Ying Tung 2 shortens her name to Mak2 in 2021.
Her iconic Home Sweet Home (2019-) series are triptychs on canvas that make use of the popular American life simulation video game “The Sims” and are each painted by three separate painters on the Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao. She uses “the Sims” as a virtual construction tool for her ideas of both utopia and dystopia in the context of Hong Kong.
In the game she builds bizarre environments such as bedrooms filled with CCTV cameras, lonely millennial hangout spots, and pools on roofs filled with flowers. She takes screen-captures of these digital fantasies and divides the resultant images into thirds. Each third is subsequently painted by a separate painter via the Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao. The painters are given as little instruction as possible, including only the medium they are to use and the size of their respective panel. Through fracturing the process of production and allowing external factors to intervene in the actualisation of her artwork, Mak 2’s “Home Sweet Home” series not only elucidates the inevitable disparity between fantasy and reality, its also crafts a comment on authorship, “copy-cat” culture, and narratives of home.
Mak 2 is also well known for her conceptual installations. Her work You Better Watch Out (2017), was included in an exhibition presented by MoMA PS1 and K11 Art Foundation titled “.com/.cn”. Through the use of a giant snow globe, colorful balls, QR codes, and a CCTV camera, the artwork explores the troubling duality between contemporary modes of entertainment and the growth of surveillance states across the globe.
Mak 2 lives and works in Hong Kong.