Up Close – Hollywood Road II / Oct 11 – Nov 14, 2021 /
The second road in Hong Kong to be built under colonial rule, Hollywood Road earned its reputation as an antiques market after merchants and sailors travelling from China back to Europe would put their wares up for sale here. In Up Close – Hollywood Road II, works from six contemporary artists and artist groups were shown alongside rare objects across five different Hollywood Road locations, sparking a conversation between the traditional and the modern. Curated by Hilda Chan and Iven Cheung, the artists worked with the respective galleries to develop pieces that not only complemented but also respected the antique collections. The presentation also encouraged new ways of looking at antiques, generating a novel appreciation for these objects within a contemporary context.
At Nan Fung Place, Lau Hok Shing’s installation gave audiences a glimpse into the history and development of the Hollywood Road neighbourhood. Abnormal Institute of History and Culture of Hollywood Road (2021) was made using documents, books and various decorative objects from Lau’s personal collection, arranged on a table to recreate the look and feel of a scholar’s studio. A vintage Hong Kong print depicting Central in the 1850s provided historical context. Of most interest were the well-preserved handwritten and stamped receipts that document business transactions during the early part of the 20th century (though there were no English translations for non-Chinese readers). They also demonstrated how graphics and typefaces of the past have inspired elements of design today.
At Hon Ming Gallery, director Bonnie Lau was keen to highlight the quiet grandeur, expert woodworking and pleasing symmetrical lines of Ming dynasty (1368-1644 AD) furniture. Artists Sammi Mak and Morgan Wong worked closely with Lau to come up with works that pay homage to this golden era. Mak’s two abstract landscapes, Continuum and Growth (both 2021), which hung above elegant consoles, beckoned the viewer to enter the paintings and journey through the bold, gestural colours. A closer look revealed that through the abstract brushstrokes, meandering paths, gnarly rocks and mist-covered peaks abound – elements that embody the spirit of classical Chinese literati painting.
On the other hand, Morgan Wong’s How should I live with them when you decide to walk away (2021) could easily be disregarded as just books piled up on the floor, complementing the real books on an exquisite huanghuali table. As a keen observer of time, he uses books as a metaphor for cultural heritage and knowledge, passed down from one generation to the next. It is apt that Wong chose to use concrete to create his book installation, forever immortalising the age-old symbol of learning and enrichment that was so prized by Ming dynasty scholars.
At both Wing Hing Co and Bonnie Lai Antiquities, veteran artist Wilson Shieh created pieces on cardboard carton boxes in his iconic gongbi technique for Box Story (2021). At the former, Shieh produced 16 hand-painted cartons with classical Chinese Ming and Qing dynasty (1644-1912 AD) porcelain patterns and motifs, including the auspicious twin fish, ruyi-shaped clouds and meandering lotus scrolls. Stacked in four rows where director Terry Lee would normally store his catalogues, the utilitarian and decorative cartons are an impressive sight. Perched on top of the cartons were the real antiques from which Shieh’s images derive.
The artist continued the series at neighbouring Bonnie Lai Antiquities, a specialist in ancient ritual bronzes (13th-10th centuries BC), and Han dynasty (202 BC-220 AD) and Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) figurines. With the carton paintings here depicting the antiques that they are supposed to hold, the works prompt viewers to find humour in the playful images and text, which come complete with item descriptions and assembly instructions. Bold and colourful, the presentation also provides a quick history lesson about what the objects were used for, giving audiences a glimpse into the customs, routines and traditions of daily life in ancient China.
At Gallery149, Leelee Chan’s presentation of 11 works, Present Relics (2021), was an extension of her series from the first edition of Up Close – Hollywood Road in June 2020. The only artist to have shown at both editions, Chan juxtaposed mundane present-day objects such as steel nuts alongside natural stone artefacts and random terracotta remnants dating as far back as the Northern Wei dynasty (385-534 AD). Hailing from a family of antique dealers, Chan’s understanding of antiques allows her to repurpose these superficially unwanted terracotta pieces while respecting their cultural history. Although the fragments – mostly broken-off appendages from human and animal figurines – are not worth anything by themselves, they gain new art-historical and commercial value from being a part of a contemporary artwork. Chan’s works not only showcase the personal and tactile nature of her practice but also encourage a newfound appreciation for otherwise disregarded antiques.
On another floor within Gallery149, a cosy, intimate living space was staged to showcase the wearable woven creations of YanYan, an artist duo incorporating classical and traditional designs into contemporary knitwear. The visually striking pieces, which visitors were encouraged to touch, are rendered in bold, contrasting colours, with familiar trellis patterns and auspicious motifs such as the “hundred boys”. The capsule clothing collection enhanced the beauty and elegance of the accompanying Qing dynasty furniture over which it was draped, notably an antique four-poster bed and a quintessential mahjong table.
As part of a Nan Fung Group community initiative that aims to educate the public by connecting them to art, culture and history, Up Close – Hollywood Road II’s biggest success lay in bridging the gap between artisanal craftsmanship of the past and the art-making of the present, engaging new audiences and opening new channels of appreciation of traditional culture. For the third edition, the involvement of more Hollywood Road galleries would be further demonstrate how shared history allows for narratives that are not only varied but also culturally engaging and relevant.
走近 – 荷李活道貮 / 2021年10月11日至11月14日
荷李活道是英殖時期香港興建的第二條街道。它以古董市場聞名，商人與船員從中國回歐洲時會把貨物留下出售。群展「走近 – 荷李活道貮」將六位當代藝術家及創作單位的作品與荷李活道五個地點的珍品融合展出，觸發新與舊的交流。是次展覽由陳芍君和張耀輝策展。藝術家與幾間畫廊聯手創作出配合並尊重藏品的作品。是次展覽亦鼓勵觀賞者用新的方式看待古董，在當代從嶄新的角度欣賞這些藏品。
在Nan Fung Place，劉學成的裝置讓觀賞者可以一窺荷李活道附近社區的歷史與發展。在作品《非正常荷里活道歷史及文化事務所》（2021年） 中，劉學成用私人收藏的文檔、書本和各式飾品把桌面裝飾成學者的工作空間。其中一份舊香港報紙描述了1850年代的中環，反映了過往的社會景況，但其中最有趣的是一堆保存良好、蓋有印章的手寫收據。這些收據記錄了20世紀初的商務交易（可是展覽並沒有為非華語觀賞者提供英文翻譯），展示了以前所用的圖象和字體對今天的設計元素有怎樣的影響。
在瀚明，總監Bonnie Lau致力宣揚明朝 (1368-1644年) 家具的莊嚴風格、細緻木工和流暢線條。藝術家麥穎森和黃榮法與Bonnie Lau合作以藝術作品向這個黃金時代致敬。麥穎森兩幅掛在優雅架上的抽象風景畫《淼》和《森》（2021年），透過大膽奔放的色彩帶領觀賞者進入畫中的世界。走近看看的話，觀賞者會發現這些抽象的線條是在描繪山間小道、嶙峋怪石和霧氣環繞的高山等表現了傳統中國畫精粹的元素。
在永興行與乾馨唐，資深藝術家石家豪在紙箱上用他最標誌性的工筆技法創作《紙箱傳》（2021年）。他在永興行的16個紙箱上繪畫明清時代 （1644-1912年）的經典青瓷花紋和圖案，包括吉祥雙魚、如意雲紋和纏枝蓮紋。就像總監Terry Lee平時收納刊物般，石家豪把紙箱疊成四層。這些實用又美觀的紙箱非常引人注目，而放在紙箱頂的古董就是石家豪的靈感來源。
陳麗同在如壹藝術館展出了11件作品。她的《現在遺跡》（2021年）是2020年6月舉辦的「走近 — 荷李活道」的延續。她是唯一一位兩場展覽都有參與的藝術家。她運用現代常見物品如鋼螺母及天然物料，結合北魏時期（385-534年）的陶瓷碎片創作。得益於在一個古董商家庭中長大，陳麗同憑著自己對古董的認識為看似沒有用的陶瓷碎片找到新的價值，同時亦保留了它們的文化歷史。雖然這些從人物或動物陶像上掉落的碎片本身已經失去了意義，但是陳麗同把它們融入一件當代藝術品賦予了它們新的藝術史及商業價值。陳麗同的作品不只展現了她富有個性和質感的風格，更鼓勵觀賞者從新的角度欣賞被廢置的古物。
南豐集團的其中一個宗旨就是連結大眾與藝術、文化及歷史。「走近 – 荷李活道貮」最成功的地方就是填補了古代手工藝與現代藝術創作之間的間隙，吸引新的觀眾和開啟新的渠道欣賞傳統文化。下一季的展覽將會邀請更多荷李活道的畫廊參與，向觀眾展示更多樣、更引人入勝的歷史文化。