Author: Artomity Magazine

Jeffrey Shaw 邵志飛

WYSIWYG / By Brady Ng / Sometimes, art can leave its viewers scratching their heads. Much of it is staged to be seen from a distance in sanitised rooms, short pieces of text pasted beside it lazily flicking at pre-verbal notions. You might not engage with these objects beyond mental acrobatics or passive sensations. What you see or feel is often exactly what you get. Though that plight persists, the emergence of participatory art in the late 1950s and early 1960s shook things up. One of the artists who sought to transform the process of viewing art into active participation in its creation, Jeffrey Shaw developed a practice that riffed off the technological developments of the day. Anyone who approaches his work is meant to handle the apparatus he designed and built – clunky monitors (now slimmed down), stationary bicycles (now more robust), dials, knobs, switches, sensors. Shaw has been based in Hong Kong for 11 years. In 2009, he joined City University of Hong Kong as its chair professor of media art, and was dean of the …

Various Artists & Josh Haner

Disruptive Matter & The New York Times: Carbon’s Casualties / K11 Atelier HACC / Hong Kong / Jan 17 – Feb 16, 2020 / Ellen Wong / Two exhibitions inaugurated HACC, the new venue run by the K11 Art Foundation that opened in Quarry Bay in January: Disruptive Matter, a group show of works about sustainable and innovative designs; and The New York Times: Carbon’s Casualties, a prize-winning collection of climate photography. Following in the footsteps of Murakami vs Murakami at Tai Kwun last year and the recent Hong Kong Museum of Art exhibition A Sense of Place: from Turner to Hockney, K11 experimented with a pay model at the new venue, charging HK$80 for admission. While the appeal of the former two exhibitions lies in the renown of the artists, the exhibitions at HACC were bolder, featuring less famous names. Curated by Anouchka van Driel, Disruptive Matter brought together works from 12 designers and artists addressing environmental issues, while The New York Times Carbon’s Casualties showcased the climate photography of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Josh Haner. …

Howie Tsui

Parallax Chambers / Burrard Arts Foundation / Vancouver  / 10 Jan – 7 Mar, 2020 / Elliat Albrecht / Two years ago, while passing by Aberdeen Fish Market after it had closed for the night, Howie Tsui wandered inside to consider the tanks in the dark. As the artist stood there alone, he noticed inky liquid steadily sloshing over the market floor and into his shoes, later realising that it was part of a nightly ritual in which stagnant water is flushed out of the aquariums. A similar teeming tank is a recurring motif in Tsui’s exhibition Parallax Chambers at Burrard Arts Foundation in Vancouver, where Hong Kong-born Tsui is based. The centrepiece of the show is the fantastical animation Parallax Chambers (2018-), made from scans of hundreds of Tsui’s ink-and-marker drawings. Projected against one wall in a darkened room, the work features spectral imagery inspired by the wuxia martial arts fiction series Legend of the Condor Heroes, Hong Kong cinema and a grisly fish in a tank with a fluctuating water level. Various haunted-looking characters are seen impaled by …

Gordon Cheung

Tears of Paradise / Edel Assanti / London / Jan 17 – Mar 18, 2020 / Margot Mottaz / Geopolitics. If a single word summarises the theme of Gordon Cheung’s latest series of works (all 2020) on display at Edel Assanti in London, that would be it. In the single-room exhibition Tears of Paradise, a large hanging installation and five equally sized paintings-cum-collages confront us with the major infrastructural initiatives in China that represent the foundation of Xi Jinping’s “Chinese dream” of global hegemony. The scale of these developments is unprecedented in human history and simply unfathomable for most people, especially those of us living in the west.  Three works that deal with hyperconnectivity – bringing people and goods closer together than ever – hang side by side on one wall. The first is String of Pearls, a map of the coastal countries along the US$1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative. Its key hubs and ports appear as luminescent jewels that shine with the promise of direct trade routes between China and more than 70 countries across Asia, Africa …

Kong Chun Hei

Raise the Dimness / TKG+ Projects / Taipei / Feb 15 – Apr 12, 2020 / Brian Hioe / Kong Chun Hei’s solo exhibition at TKG+, Raise the Dimness, stands out for its adaptive use of space and effective creation of tension between works. Thenine works which comprise the exhibition prove highly complementary, echoing similar concerns also seen in other works by Kong. Non-stop Stop (2019), a single-channel video work depicting two hands in continual motion, as if clapping but never fully meeting, frames the viewer’s entrance into the gallery space. Attention is next drawn toward Flooding (2019), which runs diagonally through the length of the exhibition and consists of 20 stainless steel water gauges placed on the gallery floor. Flooding and another piece, Signature Work II (2020), an acrylic LED lightbox showing a grey static field affixed to a barrier in the centre of the gallery, which has two rooms, further divide the exhibition space. Standoff (2019), a large installation that occupies an entire wall, consisting of several dozen darts attached to it, occupies the viewer’s attention in the first …

Justin Wong Chiu Tat

Normal Life / A Concept Gallery / Hong Kong / Feb 13 – Mar 14, 2020 / Valencia Tong / Philosophers, artists and musicians often contemplate the meaning of life, asking why we exist and whether there’s a higher purpose for what we are doing. Aristotle’s well-known reflection on how to live a good lifeinspires many people to see the eudaimonia he advocates as something worth achieving. On the other hand, some perfectionists embody Sisyphus in his never-ending quest to pushing a rock up a mountain. While all these manifestations of the desire for self-actualisation can be cliched, the exhibition Normal Life at A Concept Gallery is surprisingly refreshing, as it unshackles itself from the burden of maintaining a facade of such lofty ambitions. Prompting us to consciously re-examine and re-engage with our experiences in daily life, comic artist Justin Wong Chiu Tat’s illustrations offer us an alternative to what he deems “distorted human nature”, which arises from our culture of maximising everything. Instead, he takes a down-to-earth approach, presenting a sincere investigation of what normal life is. On entering the dimly …

Ho Sin Tung 何倩彤

The Optimism in Swamps / 沼地裡的樂觀 / By Christie Lee / At the opening of Ho Sin Tung’s Swampland, one wades (pun intended) through paintings and installations, taking care not to bump into a furry wall or knock over a ghost sculpture. Sufjan Stevens’ Mystery of Love, the theme song to the 2017 film Call Me by Your Name, washes over the crowd, who chat and clink glasses. The title of the show evokes the uncertain state that Hong Kong is in after eight months of protest, with the dimly lit gallery and cobalt walls conveying moodiness – although Ho says they weren’t her decisions. The setting looks markedly different from previous exhibitions by the artist, known for intricate drawings of her obsessions, usually borderline characters aspiring to reach an idealised state, only to find that it inevitably ends in failure. The artist, who was born in Hong Kong in 1986 and is a fine arts graduate from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, says she’s always been interested in the same themes. “This work is about the desire …

Tseng Kwong Chi

East Meets West / Ben Brown Fine Arts / Hong Kong / Jan 10 – Mar 9 / Christine Chan Chiu In 1979, Tseng Kwong Chi was meeting his family for dinner at the upscale Windows on the World restaurant in New York’s World Trade Center. Jackets were required for men, and Tseng decided to wear the Chinese-style Mao suit he had bought at a thrift store. Mistaken for a Chinese dignitary, he was treated as a VIP at the restaurant, and from that moment the artist, then 29 years old, would don the sartorial attire of the “ambiguous ambassador” for his self-portraits over the next decade. Presented by Ben Brown Fine Arts, East Meets West is arguably the late artist’s best-known series of photographic works, in which he poses with famous landmarks around the world in the signature Mao suit and reflective sunglasses. Tseng realised his outfit not only offered him the anonymity of taking on another persona but also a semblance of power when he was mistaken for an important Chinese government official. Back then, …

Lam Wong

the world is as soft as a volcano: a moving composition / Centre A: Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art / Jan 24 – Mar 14 / Elliat Albrecht / At Centre A, a few blocks away from Vancouver’s Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, where Lam Wong is currently artist-in-residence, is Wong’s solo show the world is as soft as a volcano: a moving composition, the artist’s most personal to date. Dealing with intimate traumas and memories, the show features 18 works including several new paintings and a sculpture. It would do the reader little service to describe the arrangement of works in the room as they’re repositioned at weekly intervals – a shuffling undertaken at the suggestion of curator Henry Heng Lu in order to allow the exhibition to “live and breathe”. Having said that, in early February a waist-high pile of dark, rich cedar mulch held court in the centre of the room. Topped with a white plaster mask of the artist’s face, the sculpture Self-Portrait as Volcano (2020) was motivated by Wong’s sense that …

Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMoA)

Savour art at home with virtually@HKMoA Wish to lose yourself in the world of art for an afternoon? The Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMoA) presents virtually@HKMoA, a platform that makes available a variety of multimedia resources for the public to enjoy art anytime anywhere. It ranges from exhibition pamphlets to audio guides, from documentaries to animations, through which visitors can discover the most exciting stories of our collections. Members of the public can also have free access to the images and information of the four core collections of HKMoA, namely Chinese Antiquities, Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, China Trade Art, and Modern and Hong Kong Art, through our Collection Databank and Google Arts & Culture.  The platform provides a wonderful opportunity for the public to reach outside the four confined walls to enjoy art through a wide range of multimedia resources. As Hong Kong’s custodian of fine art, HKMoA aspires to connect art to people by curating a world of contrasts with the Hong Kong viewpoint, offering refreshing ways of looking at tradition and making art relevant …