Author: Artomity Magazine

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 …

Lee Kai Chung 李繼忠

Of Myth and Memory / 關於迷思與記憶 / By Christina Ko / It’s research, but call it art – Hong Kong artist Lee Kai Chung’s practice questions the nature and reliability of archival documentation, and his latest focus is a chilling incident that should have been difficult to erase The setting for Lee Kai Chung’s latest exhibition, The Narrow Road to the Deep Sea, at ACO art space, is small, and holds just five works. But the show’s impact on the mind is big. The starting point and impetus for these works, as with all of Lee’s output, is a historical incident – in this case the Nanshitou Massacre, a blip in our collective history that is little known and documented. The episode, which harks back to the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II, begins with an attempt at population control, in which some half of the city’s 1.6 million population were expatriated or repatriated. Of that 800,000, an estimated 100,000 ended up detained at a concentration camp at Nanshitou in Guangzhou, where they were subjected to bacteriological experimentation …

Octavia Fox

Food historian Octavia Fox talks about three of her favourite pieces in her collection. Antonio Casadei was an Italian artist working in Hong Kong during the 60s and 70s. His name is now little known but you would have walked past his work on numerous occasions: the ceramic screens in Statue Square are his, as are the back-lit glass wall in the lobby of the St George’s Building and the public sculptures in Mei Foo Sun Chuen. I think he was a great ceramicist and he must have had a substantial kiln somewhere in Hong Kong to produce works like the chunky bas reliefs which once graced the lobbies of the Prince’s Building. I have two of his paintings, which my father bought when Casadei was selling art door to door – most probably on his arrival in 1962. These paintings must have been produced in Italy before his arrival but they are, for me, very much a part of that era in Hong Kong. Eizō Katō was a Japanese landscape artist who worked in both Hong Kong and Japan. …

Various artists

Threading Through Time / The Mills / Hong Kong / Jan 10–19, 2020 / Ernest Wan / Completed in late 2018, the revitalisation of the three remaining factories of Nan Fung Cotton Mills pays tribute to the industrial past of Hong Kong, once a leader in global yarn production. Jockey Club New Arts Power recently presented a series of installations and 45-minute performances at several locations within this complex of buildings in Tsuen Wan, now a hip attraction known simply as The Mills. For the project, Threading Through Time, participating artists had been asked to respond to The Memory of Herbs, a newly commissioned short story by Chan Wai that chronicles a woman’s career as a textile worker and, implicitly, celebrates Hongkongers’ can-do spirit over half a century. The three installations that make up Kay Chan’s Literary Walk are straightforward. One of them, situated on bridges connecting two buildings, consists of panels on which excerpts from the short story are displayed, and vintage telephones through whose handsets a recording of such excerpts is played back with background music by Fung …

C&G Artpartment

By Caroline Ha Thuc / Artists, curators, art educators and cultural workers at large, Clara Cheung and Gum Cheng founded C&G Artpartment in Hong Kong in 2007. Since then, this alternative art space in Mongkok has been nurturing the local art scene, addressing in particular local social and political issues through the practice of art, conceived as a potent agent of dialogue and change. Through exhibitions, public programmes, art initiatives and participatory projects, Cheung and Cheng have engaged various communities with the idea that art participates in the building of a more inclusive and collective society. Last November, Clara Cheung was elected as a district councilor for Happy Valley. Caroline Ha Thuc: First of all, congratulations on your election. How do you balance your work as a citizen now fully engaged in politics and as an artist? Clara Cheung: I participated in the election as a citizen, but because of my cultural background I cannot separate these two roles. This background influences my perception of the world. The reason why I really wanted to run in Happy Valley is because I …

Irene Chou

A World Within: The Art and Inspiration of Irene Chou / By Christie Lee / There’s been a revival of interest the world over during the past few years in the works of female artists, and not least in Hong Kong. One manifestation of this is an exhibition at the Asia Society of Irene Chou, the Hong Kong- and later Brisbane-based artist who illuminated the Hong Kong art scene with her abstract ink paintings in the mid to late 20th century. Born in Guangdong in 1919, Chou grew up in an artistic environment: her father was a writer, her mother a calligrapher. Lingnan School painter Zhao Shao’ang was her first ink-painting teacher but it wasn’t until 1966, when she began to study under Lui Shou-kwan, a Hong Kong artist who advocated that an artist should combine technique and individual expression in his or her art, that she began to find her own footing. From Zhao she learned technique; from Lui she learned to let go of imitation, a practice long revered in the traditional master-apprentice …

John Currin

Gagosian / Hong Kong / Nov 26 – Feb 29 / Christie Lee / “There is a kind of distortion that happens with adoration,” says John Currin. I’m not sure that’s true at the artist’s first show at Gagosian Hong Kong. Despite the blooming cheeks, perfect brows, rosy lips and impeccable curls, the artist’s portraits are more kooky than sweet. For one thing, the women are smiling with teeth. Showing the teeth used to be a breach of etiquette for the upper class—usually the only class who could afford the time to sit for formal portraits before the modern era. Whereas classical portraits usually feature solemn sitters, the women in Currin’s portraits have either delirious or vacant expressions. One would never expect a half-naked woman who is looking sideways out the frame to pull a sort of semi-insane smile. Nor would one expect a woman decked in a red robe in the style of a saint to be grinning stupidly. In The Philosopher, a woman decked in a brownish-grey trench coat and a bandana holds a wine bottle …