Author: Artomity Magazine

Howie Tsui

Parallax Chambers /Art Labor Gallery / Shanghai / Nov 10, 2018 – Jan 8, 2019 / Nooshfar Afnan / As the martial-arts fiction community mourns the recent death of well-known wuxia novelist Jin Yong (1924-2018), it is refreshing to see his characters and stories live on in the works of Vancouver-based artist Howie Tsui. The artist grew up consuming endless hours of old Hong Kong martial-arts movies, including video adaptations of Jin Yong’s books. In retrospect the artist has realised that they were a lifeline to his cultural roots in his birthplace, and still provide a rich source of inspiration.  Tsui’s first solo show at Art Labor in Shanghai follows on the heels of his exhibition opening at Ocat Museum of Contemporary Art, Xi’an. The Xi’an exhibition showcases his giant, 20-metre-long, scroll-like video installation Retainers of Anarchy, originally commissioned by the Vancouver Art Gallery. Set in the fabled and now demolished Kowloon Walled City, it depicts in minute detail the lives of ordinary residents and martial-arts practitioners in the self-ruled community. The show at Art …

Lee Kit

We used to be more sensitive /Hara Museum / Tokyo / Sep 16 – Dec 24, 2018 / John Batten / Lee Kit’s exhibition occupies, as a single installation, the entire Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, an adapted modernist 1930s former residential building surrounded on two sides by a Japanese garden with an open lawn at the rear. Selections from the museum’s permanent contemporary sculpture collection are shown outside, and permanent installations are also displayed within the museum. It is necessary to appreciate the architecture, the architectural detailing – particularly the windows – and the other art and areas of the museum, including the shop and cafe, to fully appreciate Lee’s exhibition.  Rather than ignoring or competing with the museum’s architecture and its installed art, Lee actively embraces the museum, and both strategically and subtly places his own paintings, videos and installations within it. Lee’s entire installation beckons to be quietly looked at, but it also works if viewers quickly pace through the galleries, ideally accompanied by their own (loud) ear-plugged music, passing through the museum’s natural light, shadows and reflections layered by Lee’s added …

Amna Naqvi

Supporter of the arts, collector and philanthropist Amna Naqvi talks about two commissioned pieces in her collection. Untitled is an installation that was commissioned from the Hong Kong-based artist Tsang Kin-Wah in 2012. Both my husband Ali and I’d been noticing Kin-Wah’s work in Hong Kong for some time. For me the appeal lay in his use of text as a leitmotif. We were on an Asia Art Archive Collectors Circle trip to Seoul in 2011 and it proved to be the turning point for this acquisition. We visited Leeum museum in Seoul, came upon Kin-Wah’s text on the glass cladding of the museum, and I was mesmerised by the sheer scale of the installation. We both decided that a commissioned work would be best as we would prefer the possibility of an installation rather than a painting. We invited Kin-Wah home for a discussion with Jehan Chu, who helped us with the commission. We came up with the idea of a folding blue and white chinoiserie-inspired screen which would be manifested as a single work of art but with the …

Wesley Tongson

The Journey / By DeWitt Cheng / The idea that life is a spiritual journey was once common in European and American religious culture: Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan’s 1678 allegorical adventure of a Christian soul, used to be required reading. Spirituality has largely fallen by the wayside, however, replaced by modern materialism. In developed countries now we focus on scientific and economic progress, and largely neglect the spiritual aspect of life, still part of the social menu of traditional cultures, which patronising contemporary standards adjudge backward. The paintings of Hong Kong artist Wesley Tongson (1957-2012), aka Tong Ka Wai, in The Journey at San Francisco’s Chinese Culture Center through March 9, 2019, constitute a spiritual pilgrimage as well. Curated by Catherine Maudsley, and featuring biographical notes by Cynthia Tseng, the artist’s sister – who, she reveals, did her brother’s art homework when he was a child, before his interest in art surfaced in adolescence – the show reveals a talented hand, both disciplined and intuitive, at the service of a restless, relentless creative drive. Tongson, who grew up in a …

Cheung Yee, Angela Su, Manuel Bravo, Danh Vo, Andrew Luk, Wong Kai Kin and Carolee Schneemann at Dai Bing

Dai Bing presents: Body Works, Body Shop, Body Parts A show of anatomical bits and bobs including paintings and sculpture at Hong Kong’s newest bar serving tall drinks and pesticos. 52 Bonham Strand WestSheung WanT (852) 9838 4438Mo-Su 6.30 to 11.30pm #大冰 #DaiBing52 #LongDrinks #ArtisanIce #CraftIce #IceFromLoveland InstagramFacebook

Miao Ying’s ‘Hardcore Digital Detox’, the first work in M+’s series of digital commissions

http://www.stories.mplus.org.hk M+ presents Hardcore Digital Detox, a work by Shanghai- and New York–based artist Miao Ying, commissioned expressly for the M+ Stories online platform. It explores the restricted Chinese internet—popularly known as the ‘Chinternet’—and is a ‘strategic lifestyle advice tool’ with the seemingly illogical premise of offering an online retreat from the digital world. This #spiritualretreatinchinternet parodies the widespread commodification of ‘wellness’ in Western societies, as well as the growing demand among affluent consumers for post-materialist experiences rooted in authenticity and nature—the kind that make for perfect Instagram posts. Miao considers herself a dual citizen of the Chinternet and the World Wide Web, and Hardcore Digital Detox operates in these two territories simultaneously, pitting mainstream internet users against Chinese censors by playfully instructing users to set their virtual private network (VPN) to mainland China, where popular websites and apps like Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, eBay, WhatsApp, Vimeo, and Amazon are restricted. For Miao, the images and ideas that are blocked by the Great Firewall of China are akin to liu bai (negative space) in traditional Chinese ink painting, as …

Oscar Chan Yik Long

By Christie Lee Hong Kong artist Oscar Chan Yik Long talks demons, horror films and his big move to the City of Lights  Chatting with Oscar Chan Yik Long at a coffee shop on D’Aguilar Street, Central, it’s hard to imagine that the sunny artist, decked out in one of his trademark vibrantly patterned shirts, lives his life haunted by demons.  Born in Hong Kong in 1988, Chan studied at Hong Kong Baptist University’s Academy of Visual Arts but it was an “abstract” fear of demons, planted in the artist’s mind when he was still a young boy, that weighs most heavily on his paintings. As much as he fears and is repelled by fear, he is also drawn to it. In his art, screaming skeletons, amorphous beasts and ghoulish, tear- or blood-shedding creatures fill walls and life-sized canvases. “I need to give fear a form,” he says.  Chaotic and unabashedly confessional, they’re the portraits of a tangled mind that vacillates between fearing and repelling these creatures, and being drawn towards them. We sat down with Chan …

Kader Attia

Heroes Heridos / Lehmann Maupin / Hong Kong / Nov 1 – Dec 22 / By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand / It is perhaps fitting that French-born Algerian artist Kader Attia is based in Berlin, a city of scars. A city where the ruins of a wall that once divided it are still visible; a city in which the atrocities committed during wars and by two repressive regimes are memorialised; where the architecture of communism and fascism stand side by side, sometimes pockmarked with bullet holes. It is a city where the scars are on display so that you are in constant confrontation with history and memory, and never able to forget the past.  And so it is with Attia’s work. Working across diverse media and forms – photography, film, collage, sculpture, drawing and installation – the artist has built up a two-decade career defined by rigorous research. Through his work he critiques power and hierarchical structures by examining the scars, trauma and injury inflicted by colonial and imperial powers on non-western cultures. Exploring the relationship between non-western cultures and western thought, he regularly …

Celebrating the Inclusive Power of the Arts

By Samson Wong Kei Shun The policy report Celebrating the Inclusive Power of the Arts, released by the Our Hong Kong Foundation (OHKF) this March, is hamstrung by its own reductive view of inclusion and the power of art. Its failure to accurately define its own terms of engagement means that it is condemned to reach over-restrictive, unhelpful conclusions. OHKF is a high-profile, outspoken supporter of government policies. Its recent report Re-imagining Hong Kong with a Game-Changer: Enhanced East Lantau Metropolis was released at an event officiated by its chairperson, Hong Kong’s first chief executive and now a vice-chairman of mainland China’s CPPCC, Tung Chee-hwa. Similarly, media coverage of the launch of Celebrating the Inclusive Power of the Arts was bolstered by prominent speakers including Bernard Chan, convenor of Hong Kong government’s Executive Council; Gwen Kao, chairman of the Charles K Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease; Adeline Ooi, director Asia of Art Basel; Gavin Glayton of New York’s Arts & Minds; and Richard Ings of Arts Council England. With such influential backing, the report deserves closer scrutiny before its version of arts inclusion takes root …