Author: Artomity Magazine

Fung Lam, Teriver Cheung, Anthony Lai

Hong Kong Episodes (Re-run) / JC Cube, Tai Kwun / Hong Kong / Jan 26–28, 2019 / Ernest Wan Hong Kong Episodes (Re-run) is a shorter, revised version of an October 2015 show that was conceived amid the social unrest in the city the previous year. The programme note describes the production as a “jazz-classical cross-over piece… accompanied by… video images”, but the visuals turn out to be just as important as the live music, if not more so. One reason is that the video depicts scenes with skyscrapers, housing estates, neon signs and people in a subway station, for instance, that are unmistakably Hong Kong — which makes it impossible not to take the title of the show seriously — whereas the music has about it nothing especially evocative of Hong Kong or, for that matter, any particular locale. Another reason is that the visuals, largely created by Anthony Lai, play with both time and space so effectively that the viewer’s attention is absorbed throughout. Among the eight “episodes”, each representing a three-hour period in a day, is …

Marcel Dzama

Crossing the Line / David Zwirner / Hong Kong / Jan 22 – Mar 9 / Katherine Volk / If artists are historians of our times, Marcel Dzama represents the present. Canadian-born, New York-based Dzama references the contemporary climate in the US under Donald Trump’s presidency; this was paired with influences from elsewhere, in particular Hong Kong, for his recent show at David Zwirner, which spanned both floors of the gallery. Dzama departs dramatically from his earlier approach of sparse characters on plain paper, with his style morphing into colourful, large-scale works that are bold and chaotic but meaningful. The new approach was influenced by the work and looser approach to creation of his friend Raymond Pettibon, as well as Dzama’s time living in and visiting large cities such as New York and Hong Kong, and the vibrancy and crowded energy of these places. The neon lights of Hong Kong aren’t Dzama’s only inspiration; the city’s iconic horse racing also features as a prominent theme across multiple works, including Ghost riders (or Watch out he don’t fall on …

Danh Vō, Isamu Noguchi

Noguchi for Danh Vō: Counterpoint / M+ Pavilion / Hong Kong / Dec 27 – Jan 10 / Christine Chan Chiu / Noguchi for Danh Vō: Counterpoint, the eighth show staged at M+ Pavilion, brought together the diverse works of two artists, Danh Vō and the late Isamu Noguchi. The word “counterpoint” refers to the two artists’ works being independent but possessing the ability to be interdependent, creating a harmonious rapport when juxtaposed. The exhibition lived up to its musical metaphor and more, highlighting the talent and ingenuity of one artist while exploring the imaginative, multi-layered approach of the other. Inspired by a leitmotif in traditional Chinese ink painting, Vō’s Untitled (Structure for Akari PL2) (2018), modelled after a Chinese Dong pavilion, took centre stage in the main gallery. Flanked and illuminated by Noguchi’s famous Akari lamps, visitors were encouraged to sit and rest there. Parallels soon became clear between Vō’s pavilion and Noguchi’s lamps: both are made from wood (cedar and bamboo respectively), are affordable, easily dismantled and rebuilt, and most importantly stand alone as sculptures in their own right, redefining their surrounding spaces.  …

Rei Hayama, Takashi Makino

Katherine Volk / The Pearl of Tailorbird / Memento Stella / Empty Gallery / Hong Kong / Dec 15 – Jan 26 / Katherine Volk / Two solo exhibitions, The Pearl of the Tailorbird by Rei Hayama and Memento Stella by Takashi Makino, took over the entire two-floor space of Empty Gallery. While both employ film, they provoke vastly different feelings and reactions. Spread across two floors, The Pearl of the Tailorbird took viewers on a journey. Winding through the top floor of the gallery’s iconic dark void were walls spiralling inwards like a maze; as visitors navigated the barriers, it felt as if they needed Ariadne’s silver thread to guide them out of the miniature labyrinth. This searching and disconnection are symbolic of Hayama’s exploration of the human condition alienated from nature. The layout itself was a structure within a structure, where perceptions were altered, and the spiral also alluded to other manmade or mythical cultural constructions of disorder, such as the Tower of Babel, from a biblical tale in which God punishes people’s attempts to build …

Chen Danqing

By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand / Shanghai-born artist Chen Danqing was only 14 when he started painting Mao propaganda posters in the 1970s. “I painted more than 100 portraits of Chairman Mao on the street walls in Shanghai and its suburbs and also on factory iron sheets,” he says. “During that time, there were millions of amateur and professional painters in China who painted millions of portraits of Mao Zedong.” Sent to live in the countryside in Jiangxi province for five years as part of a nationwide programme of forced collectivisation during the Cultural Revolution, Chen painted what was prescribed in the socialist realist style. The posters were part of a progression in a career that would eventually earn him accolades as a painter in China. After the Cultural Revolution he was admitted to the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 1980 and staying on to teach until he moved to New York City a couple of years later. It was during this period that he painted his series of seven Tibetan paintings, which would …

An open letter to the government from the International Association of Art Critics-Hong Kong (AICAHK)

We write with great concern after the violent events in Admiralty on 12 June 2019. The International Association of Art Critics-Hong Kong (AICAHK) opposes thegovernment’s proposed amendments to the fugitive/extradition legislation currently before the Legislative Council. AICA was founded in 1950 under the patronage of UNESCO, with the main objective to support worldwide art criticism in all its forms. AICA has over 4,600 members, grouped into 61 different sections around the world. The Hong Kong section of AICA was established in 1996. One of the main objectives of AICAHK is “to defend freedom of expression and thought and oppose arbitrary censorship.” AICA-Hong Kong and AICA-Taiwan are currently the only AICA sections located in greater-China as, currently, the People’s Republic of China does not fulfil AICA’s human rights and freedom of expression criteria. It is an unfortunate and embarrassing reality: the mainland is not able to be a member of AICA. Hong Kong has the rule of law, freedom of expression and assembly and an independent judiciary. The mainland, seventy years after the founding of the People’s Republic ofChina, doesn’t. …

Free to Express – Fresh Wave International Short Film Festival

By Karen Chu / The impact of dementia on a family; a straight-A student’s struggle with a speech impediment; kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of repairing ceramics; premature ejaculation; prostitutes, rappers and farmer-robbers – the 2019 edition of the Fresh Wave International Short Film Festival is a kaleidoscope of youthful creativity. Alongside an international selection, a Japanese and Taiwanese talent showcase and the opening gala premiere of feature film The Pluto Moment by Chinese sixth-generation director Zhang Ming, the festival’s heart is its local competition, where 20 short films by aspiring Hong Kong filmmakers compete for four awards. Now in its 13rd edition, Fresh Wave was launched by renowned Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To. Its aim is to discover and nurture new talents in Hong Kong, where the film industry has struggled to sustain its rich legacy since it suffered a downturn in the 2000s while mainland China-Hong Kong co-productions bloomed, siphoning off established directors and creative talent northward. During the heyday of Hong Kong cinema in the 80s and 90s, Hong Kong actors and directors were …

Elements of Transcendence: Miya Ando, Kitty Chou, Hyon Gyon, and Lucy Liu at Ben Brown Fine Arts Hong Kong

Jun 15 – Aug 31, 2019Opening Brunch Jun 15, 11am – 3pm Ben Brown Fine Arts is thrilled to present a summer group exhibition, Elements of Transcendence, at the Hong Kong gallery. The exhibition brings together the work of four artists who explore spirituality through their artwork, employing various artistic techniques and practices, historical and autobiographical references, and imagery and symbolism ranging from abstraction to realism. The output of these four international artists is informed by both Eastern and Western influences and experiences, resulting in a poignant and provocative conversation within the gallery walls.

Raimund Girke at Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Hong Kong

Jun 15 – Sep 28, 2019 / Opening: Saturday, Jun 15, 11am to 7pm / Axel Vervoordt Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition, Raimund Girke: The Silent Balance at their new space in Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong. Following In Between White, in 2015 (Hong Kong), and Dominanz des Lichts in 2018 (Wijnegem, Belgium), this will be the gallery’s third solo presentation of the late artist’s work.  The Silent Balance builds on the gallery’s exploration of Girke’s monochrome paintings and work from the last two decades to highlight various aspects of his complete oeuvre. The line is a constant in the selection of artworks—as a motif that recurs both in his early large-format work and in his later, darker and more intimate paintings. axel-vervoordt.com

Irving Penn

Irving Penn / Pace / Hong Kong / Jan  25 – Mar 7 / Christine Chan Chiu / Irving Penn at Pace not only highlighted the artist’s accomplishments in fashion photography, portraiture and still lifes, thanks to a long, illustrious career at Vogue, but also revealed and celebrated his first love, painting. The first show in Hong Kong dedicated solely to Penn, it was an accurate if concise retrospective of a brilliant artist who sought to find beauty in everything he portrayed, and whose creativity extended beyond the lens. The audience was able to trace Penn’s path as it evolved and to appreciate the many facets of his practice. Works such as Large Sleeve (Sunny Harnett) (1951) and Black and White Fashion with Handbag (Jean Patchett) (1950) attest to his keen eye for fashion styling, zooming in on his talent for capturing sculptural form and detail in fabric, magnified by the stark black-and-white contrast of gelatine silver prints. They were displayed alongside ethnographic portraits from Morocco and nudes that convey softness and suppleness. Past the main salon were individual portraits of …