Month: May 2017

Trevor Yeung

The Darkroom That Is Not Dark Magician Space Beijing Dec 17, 2016 – Feb 26, 2017 Nooshfar Afnan Trevor Yeung has explored voyeurism since his earliest works, such as the Sleepy Bed series, in which he took photographs, without permission, of sleeping hostel roommates. But in his solo show he no longer focuses on photographic images of voyeuristic subjects; instead, fleeting glances immediately blur the lines between who is watching whom, as the audience uses an L-shaped, mirror-clad locker room at the entrance of the show. Artist Studio Party (2012), a digital projection work, continues this theme. Faced with the image of a couple embracing, audience members might feel they are intruding on an intimate moment, as did the artist when he took the photo, causing them to quickly move along the hall, past the image and into the next room. The work touches on the key Yeung theme of audience control, and throughout the show the audience is manipulated in its movement through the exhibition space, stopping, slowing down and kneeling, and is sometimes also manipulated …

Gerard d’Alton Henderson

A Total Embrace By Alexandra A Seno In the autumn of 1963, a new luxury hotel opened in the heart of Hong Kong’s Central district. The 27-floor Mandarin Oriental boasted state-of-the-art amenities such as the city’s first phone system that allowed guests to make direct calls to outside numbers, and switchboard operators to activate an in-room light informing occupants of missed calls. Befitting such a cosmopolitan operation, the hotel’s owners chose an artist based in Spain to create the property’s most prominent features. A rising star with a growing international following, he was of European and Chinese descent, and seemed to have just the right style for the large, dramatic murals in the lobby and the Mandarin Grill restaurant, as well as mosaics for the rooftop swimming pool area. This is how most of Hong Kong was first introduced to Gerard d’Alton Henderson. In the final two decades of British rule, Henderson — who was born in Malaysia and grew up in Singapore — was the artist to know in the Crown Colony. The best households had to …

Matjaž Tančič

3DPRK  Pékin Fine Arts Hong Kong Nov 19, 2016 – Jan 31, 2017 Elliat Albrecht Apparently some North Korean officials harbour a fondness for 3D photography. That, at least, is the explanation given for Slovenian photographer Matjaž Tančič gaining access to the notoriously secretive, restrictive country in 2014 to take stereoscopic photographs of its citizens — images that were recently displayed in the exhibition 3DPRK at Pékin Fine Arts in Wong Chuk Hang. Tančič obtained permission through a contact to take photographs for a temporary exhibition in Pyongyang, which later travelled to Pékin Fine Arts in Beijing and then to Hong Kong. The photographs, which include images of waitresses, shop clerks, factory workers, athletes, nurses and farmers, were shown in the gallery alongside a video documenting Tančič’s 10-day trip. He was accompanied by two local guides as he documented ordinary people in restaurants, hospitals, laboratories, factories and “children’s palaces” – community centres for extracurricular activities. Adhering to a strict, breakneck schedule punctuated with requisite museum visits, Tančič managed to capture some captivating, albeit highly structured and …

Fabien Merelle

Étreindre Edouard Malingue Gallery Hong Kong Dec 9, 2016 – Jan 14, 2017 Caroline Ha Thuc The setting for this exhibition, of 10 ink and watercolour drawings and three sculptures by French artist Fabien Mérelle, is very sober, and there is enough empty space between each piece to get the imagination working. The drawings are meticulous, while the pale pink sculptures made from acrylic resin look pretty rough. Yet an unlikely balance and an interesting dialogue lend harmony to the whole gallery, dominated by a feeling of floating and emptiness. Étreindre, the title of the exhibition, means to embrace warmly. It also means to hold someone so tightly that there is precisely no space in between. The title comes from a drawing, at the end of the exhibition, of two almost nude men holding each other tightly. They are actually the models for the three sculptures, which represent them in a fragmented way, scattered all over the space: the legs to begin with, then the torsos and finally the heads, all life-size empty moulds. There is a strong …

Luis Chan

Jazz with Luis By Winnie Lai A marriage between impeccable technical skills and confident spontaneity, jazz is a fitting musical analogy for Luis Chan’s fantasy world of colours and imagination, and provides the title of the veteran Hong Kong painter’s two-part retrospective at Hanart TZ Gallery, Jazz with Luis. It is divided into Landscape Fantasy, which opened on February 17, followed by Urban Figures on March 10. With a focus on his landscape paintings, Landscape Fantasy presents Chan’s works from the late 1950s to the late 70s, showing how he dealt with the subject in different media, and following the metamorphosis of his style from his early realist sketches to the iconic stylised works for which he is best known. The exhibition also features a detailed timeline and video interviews with the curator, scholars, and friends and the daughter of the artist. It paints a vivid picture of the fun, playful, passionate, carefree Chan, and illustrates the multifaceted impact he made to Hong Kong as an artist, writer, critic and cultural promoter and organiser.   Hong Kong became Chan’s home …

Hi! Houses A rejuvenation of Hong Kong heritage

In Hong Kong many heritage buildings have been destroyed or neglected, and the government has only had a heritage-preservation policy since very recently. Its Art Promotion Office invited four Hong Kong artists to revitalise four centuries-old houses in different corners of the territory, using art as a subtle but powerful tool to link the past with the present and revive collective memory. The exhibitions recall in particular the Hakka heritage of Hong Kong, the commercial prosperity of the city during the 19th century and its role during the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty through the figure of Sun Yat-sen. All the heritage buildings connect Hong Kong with the history of China from different perspectives, at a time when the question of identity is particularly strongly contested. The artists’ research involved meeting descendants of the clans, neighbours, guards and village elders, in order to collect micro-histories, which they mixed with their own stories and historical events. They thus became storytellers, weaving fiction and reality to transform archives, empty walls and facts into vivid contemporary experiences. The cultural heritage consists not …

Tang Kwok Hin

By Caroline Ha Thuc Born and educated in Hong Kong, Tang Kwok Hin keeps questioning his background, and systematically looks with suspicion at the immediate environment around him. A conceptual artist and a very fine draughtsman, he uses ready-mades and collages with the aim of decomposing reality, mixing fiction with in-depth research and personal stories. After concentrating on everyday objects, which he tried to deprive of the social meanings and functions attached to them, he has recently expanded his exploration of the discrepancy between objects’ packaging and their contents to the whole of society, considering rules, laws and traditions as wrappings and containers, allowing for very different contents. Caroline Ha Thuc: When we met after the Umbrella Movement, you said that you felt your practice had to become more political. Two years later, and after Needs, a solo show at Gallery Exit that functioned almost like a retrospective, how has the movement affected your work? Tang Kwok Hin: This exhibition helped me review my path of growth in life and art.Somehow my practice shifted very quickly after the events …

Sylvain & Dominique Levy

Sylvain Levy, co-founder with his wife Dominique of DSL Collection, chooses his favourite pieces from their collection. Levy nominates Untitled  Calligraphy by Tsang Tsou Choi as the most iconic work by a Hong Kong artist in the collection. Known as the King of Kowloon, the artist, who was often mistaken for a homeless person, wrote critical messages on walls and utility boxes around the city. He went on to become Hong Kong’s most recognised artist, with his calligraphy displayed at the Venice Biennale in 2003. This piece was included in the seminal solo exhibition The Street Calligraphy of Kowloon Emperor at the Hong Kong Arts Centre in 1997. Its historical significance meant the Levys were particularly happy to have it in their collection. Another artist that symbolises Hong Kong for them is Chow Chun Fai. They were introduced to the artist by Roberto Ceresia from Aike-DellArco and Aenon Loo from Gallery Exit, and immediately felt a connection to Chow’s works. Levy also remembers visiting the artist’s studio and being impressed. He and Dominique have always …