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First Release Tickets are On Sale Now for Art Central 2023

Art Central Hong Kong
Mar 22 – 25, 2023

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC)
3rd Floor (Old Wing), Hall 3FG 
1 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai
Hong Kong+852 3892 2304

hkticketing

First Release Tickets are Ending Soon
Time is running out to take advantage of our First Release ticket offer. Save HKD$100 off full-price tickets when you book to visit Art Central from 22 to 25 March 2023 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Art Central, a cornerstone of Hong Kong Art Week, presents a diverse range of contemporary art, and a four-day programme of large-scale installations, talks, performance and digital media.

This offer won’t be repeated. Book by Monday 6 February to purchase tickets at the best possible price.

首輪門票預售即將結束
首輪預售進入倒數階段,把握時間預訂3月22至25日於香港會議展覽中心舉辦的 Art Central 門票,優惠期內可享100港元折扣。
香港藝術週重點展會 Art Central 將呈獻多元、跨維度的當代藝術,四日藝展包羅萬有,涵蓋大型裝置藝術、講座、表演和影像藝術。

萬勿錯過此輪預售,請於2月6日(星期一)前以最優惠價格購票。

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Imi Knoebel at White Cube Hong Kong

Green Flags
Until Mar 11, 2023

White Cube Hong Kong
50 Connaught Road, Central 
Hong Kong
+852 2592 2000
Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 7pm

whitecube.com

In 1913, Russian artist Kazimir Malevich (1879–1935) made what is widely regarded as modern art’s first entirely abstract work, the self-descriptively titled painting Black Square. As a student, German painter Imi Knoebel was inspired by Malevich’s theory of Suprematism, which rejected all representational imagery in favour of the ‘supremacy of pure artistic feeling’. When Knoebel joined Joseph Beuys’ class at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1964, the young artist began his career-long exploration of the expressive potential of art’s fundamental building blocks – line, form, colour and material.

Today, at 82, Knoebel creates an ever-evolving flow of nonobjective works. Ranging from geometric to freeform, from monochrome to multiple colours, they are inspired by his hands-on studio experiments rather than any overarching program. ‘When I am asked about what I think when I look at a painting’ Knoebel has said, ‘I can only answer that I don’t think at all; I look at it and can only take in the beauty, and I don’t want to see it in relation to anything else. Only what I see, simply because it has its own validity.’

In White Cube Hong Kong, Knoebel presents two recent bodies of work in red acrylic paint on wood panels. Perhaps named for the afterimages they produce in the eye, the Green Flags series, which debuts in this exhibition, takes the form of silhouettes of flying flags. The multi-part ‘Konstellationen’, the titles of which reference astronomical bodies, are inspired by the shapes cast on the interiors and exteriors of buildings by the artist’s light projections of 1975, a fact referenced in each work’s dual dates. Additionally, examples of the artist’s Kinderstern multiples, in red and glow-in-the-dark phosphorescent paint will be featured in the exhibition. Proceeds from sales of these Children’s Star works support a charity established by the artist and his wife Carmen that advocates for the human rights of children around the world.

Imi Knoebel was born in Dessau, Germany in 1940 and lives and works in Düsseldorf. He has exhibited extensively including solo exhibitions at Dia:Beacon, New York (ongoing); Museum Haus Konstrucktiv, Zurich, Switzerland (2018); Museum Haus Lange und Haus Esters, Krefeld, Germany (2015); Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21, Düsseldorf, Germany (2015); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2014); Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig, Germany (2011); Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (2010); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2009); Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2009); Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany (2004); Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany (2002); Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain (1997); Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland (1997); Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (1996); and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1996).

Concurrently, at White Cube Bermondsey, a major exhibition of Imi Knoebel’s work titled Once Upon a Time opens in February 2023.

Images: Imi Knoebel, Kadmiumrot E E1-E5, 1975-2018; Imi Knoebel, Kadmiumrot G G1-G3, 1975-2018; Imi Knoebel, Green Flag 1, 2022; Imi Knoebel, Green Flag 2, 2022; Imi Knoebel, Green Flag 4, 2022; Imi Knoebel, Kinderstern, 1989/2022. All images © DACS 2022. Photos © White Cube (Kitmin Lee).

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Wing Sze Lam and Heiwa Wong

Dailyscape / 1999 Art Space / Hong Kong / Oct 8 – 30, 2022 /

In Wing Sze Lam’s stars in the woods (2016) and stars in the water (2018), a pair of moving-image works, darkness descends gradually over dense foliage and docked boats until the only sources of illumination are streetlamps and passing vehicles. The camera never moves in either sequence, registering the day’s slow surrender to shadow. Screened near the entrance of 1999 Art Space on two wall-mounted smartphones, the works are an apt introduction to Lam and Heiwa Wong’s Dailyscape, a dual show about documentation and urban memory. 

Wong’s photographs likewise carry a sense of duration despite their static medium, evoking long evenings spent under an artificial glow. Images of a laptop screen reflected in a bedroom window and bands of light cutting into a dark footbridge (both from the series stars in the city, 2022) capture the electric quiet of the nighttime. 

Stars in the City by Heiwa Wong, UV-printed photography seriesr, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

Lam finds a hidden language of luminescence in “Turn on the light when you are back” (2017–18), comprising clips of streetlamps played on a small analogue TV. The lens focuses on moments of dysfunction, such as a normal bulb next to its extinguished twin, and a wall-mounted orb that flickers intermittently before blazing back to life. Lam is a patient interlocutor, waiting to decode the lamps’ capricious blinks.

Both artists view their surroundings with a subdued wonder, bringing attention to the fleeting and exceptional moments that punctuate quotidian life. Lam’s “Hello, goodbye.” (2018) depicts the brief synchrony of two MTR trains rushing through a dark tunnel before diverging along their separate tracks. The camera lingers on one of the trains as it hurtles into the night. Meanwhile, in the video projection ’s Gaze (2017), Wong documents an unusually foggy day in Cologne that happened to coincide with the 2017 German federal election. The scenes have an eerie, deliberate anonymity – an empty street seen from behind a railing; an indistinct figure trudging through a park. 

Hello, goodbye by Wing Sze Lam, Single-channel video, Single-channel video, B&W, Sound,
4min 8sec, 2018. Courtesy the artist.

An intriguing point of connection between Wong’s and Lam’s works is the significance of public transport as a mode of collective experience. For the three-channel installation Roadshow II (2022), Lam took bus routes suggested by her friends, collecting shaky footage of Hong Kong’s sprawling dockyards and dense buildings bordered by hills. Referencing the now defunct RoadShow multimedia system on buses, the installation presents a disorienting succession of moving landscapes, while on-screen captions obliquely contextualise these journeys. One sequence evocatively compares the dip over a steep hill to a roller-coaster ride. At other times, the three-channel format is used to express conflicting thoughts on the same location – a winding road that feels alien to one and familiar to another; the airport route that signals both departure and return. Roadshow II remarkably encapsulates the rich textures of city life while maintaining an intimate, embodied sensibility.

Roadshow II by by Wing Sze Lam, Three-channel video installation, colour, mute, 14min, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

By contrast, Wong’s Traumreise (2022) is an urban journey in the form of a guided meditation. Shot on 8mm film, the work opens with a clip of sunlight glittering on waves as a female voice tells viewers in Cantonese to relax and imagine themselves swaying on public transport. The film cuts to footage of red taxis and buildings seen from a moving tram before jumping to imagery of the sun setting over a river and people crossing a distant bridge. “You find yourself on a different mode of public transport,” the narrator says, in a place where “the air is fresh but very cold”. The landscape changes a final time, back to a sun-drenched Victoria Harbour. “It’s time to leave,” the narrator concludes, “although you can always come back if you wish, because this place is yours.” 

The exhibition has an undercurrent of nostalgia, a documentary impulse that seems to pre-empt loss. Yet there’s also an awareness of the fallibility of documentation and the impossibility of return. This is alluded to in Wong’s City at a glance (2022), postcard-sized photographs of facades and trees that appear warped under curved glass forms. In the flow of time, nothing is ever yours. A place can only belong to you in the abstracted fragments of memory, but there is beauty yet in the remembering.

Featured image: City at a glance by Heiwa Wong, Photography series on bended acrylic glasses, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

Sharon Lee

Sharon Lee’s practice explores and questions photography as a medium. Inspired by her family life and by the everyday, the Hong Kong artist experiments with various techniques, textures and materials to mould the blurry remains of memory, poetically capturing the slippery layers of time. Her work revolves around the notions of absence and disappearance as tangible and often constructed presences.

Caroline Ha Thuc: From the start, you have explored photography in association with various modes of printing, including ceramics. Where does that come from? Sharon Lee: I use photography; meanwhile I do not conform to photography. I embrace alternative image-making as a form of negotiation, not necessarily with a single photograph but with the history, culture, art, science and technology that it carries. 

I started photography when I found myself with no resources for art making – no studio, no art supplies but a 55-sq-ft shared bedroom. I find the medium a great tool to construct a visual reality. It frames and unframes, hides and reveals simultaneously.

I was in Vienna for an academic exchange year in 2014. I only had classes in art history, but I sneaked into the art studios of another university, seizing chances to create. As a nomad, I gained access to the ceramics studio, which is open to students from all disciplines. This led me to consider ceramics and moulding in a broader sense, and built my sensitivity to materials. I also sat in a course on typography, which brought me to the printmaking studio. This is how I developed my first artwork: Genesis

Genesis by Sharon Lee, Photographic etching artist book, 610 x 45cm, 2016. Courtesy the artist.

CHT: Genesis (2016-17) was a very original project, inspired by the Bible, with abstract photographs in a book format. Was it an invitation to contemplate the origins of the world? SL: [Philosopher] Jacques Rancière in The Future of The Image (2003) raises the question: “Are some things unrepresentable?” Is a real god unrepresentable?” I grew up in a Christian family and went to Christian schools. In Protestant Christianity, there is no figurative representation of Jesus. Only an empty cross represents him. He is made visible in absence. 

In Genesis, I attempted to explore this notion of the unrepresentable. The work juxtaposes some abstract and trivial images of an egg with the Book of Genesis on how God created the universe in seven days. The images portray the transformation from formless to form. The magnification of the micro depiction of an egg projected a “universe”. The glitch between the two representation systems, the text and the image, records a trace of the unthinkable. The photo-etching printmaking transforms the images into a form of relief with high texture.

When I look back, I can still find shadows of this work in my current practice – the tactility of images, the presence of absence, a history of the future.

CHT: You explored this concept further in The Crescent Void (2019), a series of photographs featuring the imprints of found objects from grocery stores. They evoke and embody Man Lee Store, the small shop that your grandparents used to run in Chai Wan in the 70s. For this work, you combined photography and moulding, creating a constant tension between positive and negative spaces, emptiness and materiality. Is this piece a way to push this past back even further in time? SL: Yes, this is the way I attempt to negotiate with the sense of time in photography.

My process of moulding is more that of an erasure or an extraction, and also a detour. It slows down the photographic process and time. Literally, it is an “image-making” endeavour. 

The outcome of this process of rephotographing questions the image, especially when I have the image output in 1:1. Is it an image? Is it an object/sculpture? Is it a presence? Is it an absence? 

The Crescent Void by Sharon Lee, Concrete mould and negative photos, size variable, 2019. Courtesy the artist.

Spatial history is layered: the existing layout, structure or architecture tell you the bygone – what was there. I am drawn to absence and different forms of disappearance. My work is honest and directly presents the void. This is not a Cola. This is an absence of a Cola. All these objects point toward the absence of a space, a bygone local store.

I am trying to construct a subtle irony with the in-betweenness. The image looks familiar but distant, ancient yet futuristic. I also play with photographic time in my process of making, first by moulding the objects, then by rephotographing the mould. The process cancels out the “decisive moment” in photography. 

CHT: For your latest work, The Remnants of Yesterday (2022), you were inspired by your grandmother’s cheongsam, from which you created a mould. This time, though, you have used porcelain to produce this series of gelatine silver prints. Why did you change material? SL: The choice of the material is related to the context of the work. When I tried to revisit the place, Man Lee Store had already morphed into a run-of-the-mill concrete wall structure facing an underground train station. I created these futuristic pseudo-fossils of these mundane objects in concrete, imagining that archaeologists will find them in the future.

In both works, I used a void or traces of the object to create images. For The Crescent Void, I used a photo negative in the representation of the mould. In reversed light and shadow, the negative space is re-presented in a negative image, giving an illusion of presence.

The Remnants of Yesterday by Sharon Lee, Gelatin silver prints, porcelain, single-channel video, 38.6 x 49.8cm
(a set 21 prints), 26 x 37.5cm, 2 mins, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

Concrete is bulky but in fact porcelain is solid and dense even though it looks very delicate. In The Remnants of Yesterday, I regard porcelain as a material to approach memory as a vulnerable yet rigid entity.

In both east and west, there has been a long history in using porcelain as a carrier for photographs, mainly portraits. The two media embrace timelessness with a memorial purpose. I try to bridge them in an alternative and experimental way.

CHT: How do you do that? There is a strong sense of materiality and craftsmanship in your work. The piece is broken and opens like a scar: when you made it, why did you keep it? SL: I directly imprint the cheongsam onto the porcelain clay slab in tracing the details of the object as a relief. The porcelain plate is so thin, only 1mm thickness; therefore it has a translucent quality. 

I used this translucent porcelain plate, like a film, for creating gelatin silver prints. When the light passes through the porcelain relief, I found interesting imagery, like an X-ray impression, unveiling the internal essence of the object. To me, it is like recasting with light. Furthermore, I experimented with the traditional darkroom technique of solarisation, as a way to create variations on the same motif in repetition.

It is a highly time-consuming, slow process. I abandoned the rapidity of camera and embrace a stubborn method. The firing process accidentally created this cracked piece, that embodies well the fragility of the story behind the work. Therefore, I decided to choose this cracked porcelain plate over all the perfect ones which took me a dozen attempts. The brokenness and the openness are complementary. I saw grandma struggling with a void in her memory. The work explores the delicate relations between the attempts to recall and the memories one can hold on to. 

My projects are often inspired by found images, from the family album or historical photographs. As soon as I found this handmade cheongsam of grandma’s featured in the first family photo, I wanted to develop a project with it. I discovered that a poetic connection between my family history and the textile industry of Hong Kong in the old days was woven into this specific object. 

CHT: The work features the cheongsam that belonged to your grandmother. For you, does this piece of clothing embody the collective memory of Hong Kong? SL: Honestly, I am quite skeptical regarding the concept of collective memory, as it sounds so coded and packaged to me. I am not interested in any empty representation of cultural symbols. I look for micro-narratives in the grand historical representation.

The Remnants of Yesterday by Sharon Lee, Gelatin silver prints, porcelain, single-channel video, 38.6 x 49.8cm
(a set 21 prints), 26 x 37.5cm, 2 mins, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

My grandfather owned a small textile factory in Kowloon City in the 1960 and 70s. Beautiful clothes were exported to America and worldwide, while my grandmother would use the fabric remnants to make clothes for herself and the family.

CHT: Yet you are also participating in its construction through the production of cultural images. SL: I do not intend to escape from the collective memory, as it is part of the culture. Memory is unique, even in a collective experience. 

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Six years after his first solo exhibition at Para Site, Apichatpong Weerasethakul has come back to Hong Kong to present his recent artworks at Kiang Malingue Gallery. The Thai artist and film director has played with the gallery’s unusual architecture, filling its high ceilings and empty spaces with haunting presences, widening hitherto invisible fault lines and holes from which the mind can easily flee away. Conceived as a calm, meditative exhibition, A Planet of Silence gathers an incredibly rich array of works from different series, reflecting the multiple experimental approaches of the artist’s practice. 

It opens with A Minor History (2021), Apichatpong’s recent series of photographs taken in Isan, Thailand’s northeastern region and the artist’s homeland. He travelled there during Covid, along the Mekong River, staying in different hotel rooms that he photographed. The departure point of his journey was a piece of news about the murder of two political dissidents, whose bodies were found in the river. However, many more issues coalesce in this eerie series, which portraits the Mekong as a witness and a manifestation of the current changes that affect both people and the environment. The apparent serenity of the images, and the stillness of the surface of the river, conceal many untold stories and an underlying, invisible violence. 

Mekong, a Quiet Phantom (2021), for instance, features a bleak, grey landscape as seen from the inside of an empty, abandoned hotel where the artist used to stay. The image, like most of the photographs in this series, is presented upside down. The stairs lead to nowhere but participate in the architectural composition of the scene, with the windows resembling two screens that frame the landscape. Outside, the sky seems loaded with pollution, its pale colour matching that of the river as they almost melt into one another. Everything is still and time has been suspended, as if all the people had left the place. Recently, the region has been suffering from the impact of climate change and the construction of dams upstream that deeply alter the local ecosystem and deprive the population of food. One can easily feel the haunting presence of ghosts roaming around these empty, deserted places.

Exhibition view. Courtesy the artist and Kiang Malingue. Photo: Wong Pak Hang.

Apichatpong’s poetic personal artistic language always transcends but also illuminates the context in which he is working. In Isan, the hotel rooms offered him a space to dream and to expand the reality he was facing. In general, sleep is a way for him to unlock the power of imagination and escape the real. Most of his artworks create passages and open gates toward emancipatory spaces: in dreams, people have the freedom to create their own world. Sleep, bed sheets and intimate rooms are recurring themes in his practice, while plays of light, shadows, patches of sunlight, hollow spaces and holes are the means through which he invites viewers to puncture reality. “Sleep is a weapon,” he said during his artist’s talk at the gallery. 

Dream of Illusion (2022), from the same series, shows crumpled sheets on an empty bed. They echo the shape of a long curtain that divides the view from the hotel room. The photograph is a collage featuring the ruins of a cinema and different shots of the hotel rooms, including a copy of Mekong, a Quiet Phantom that seems to have been hung from a wooden beam. Each square of light, window and architectural structure resembles a theatre set that an invisible mind has conjured up. These lines play perfectly with the gallery space, its hollow corners, concrete cavities and many stairs. Trained as an architect, Apichatpong is very sensitive to the way spaces delineate visual perimeters that we use to partially grasp the world. Conceived as an extension of the eye, his camera constantly frames, cuts and selects pieces of reality that he often superimposes.

The installation Durmiente & async (2021) is a diptych of two videos: on the left, a long shot shows the British actress Tilda Swinton sleeping on a bed during the shooting of Apichatpong’s last film, Memoria; on the right, the artist’s collaboration with composer Ryuichi Sakamoto features other people asleep and recurring images of a crowded theatre, a sea sunset and travel scenes. The minimalist music, like a caress, and the flow of bright light accompany the protagonists during their metaphorical journey, crossing the borders of reality and life. 

Exhibition view. Courtesy the artist and Kiang Malingue. Photo: Wong Pak Hang.

Most of Apichatpong’s artworks are presented in duo format, with two images or videos in dialogue with each other. This duality allows the artist to think about complementarity and contrasts while suggesting points of encounter. It reflects his attempt to bridge various aspects of reality and to explore their potential for mutual metamorphosis. In his work, things constantly transform and melt. In For Bruce (2022), for example, carpets of fallen dead leaves fuse with the water of a river, pebbles mix with trees, and the riverbed, although shallow, seems unfathomable as it absorbs the light of the sky.

The double-channel video installation is a homage to Bruce Baillie (1931-2020), an experimental filmmaker who greatly influenced and inspired Apichatpong. The artist himself had a strict education, and the organic, intuitive films of Baillie incarnated a form of freedom for him. For Bruce summarises his feelings and his journey as an artist. It features a bridge over a river in the jungle in Peru, with a background of natural sounds. The plans constantly overlap with sensuality, creating depth and ambiguities. While the river embodies fluidity and a permanent state of mutation, the figure of the bridge represents the possibility of linking various spatial or temporal territories without belonging to any. This idea is fundamental for the artist, as well as for Baillie, who attempted to embrace all forms of reality without taking sides. Since nature is all about transformations, how can art, which tends to be fixed, convey or embody these mutations?

Exhibition view. Courtesy the artist and Kiang Malingue. Photo: Wong Pak Hang.

In Apichatpong’s poetic works, natural elements seem to be inhabited by a breath. Rocks vibrate, leaves palpitate and water radiates, while light constantly blurs the outlines of things. Perhaps unknowingly, he attributes human dispositions and magical agency to non-human beings, depicting a spiritual, inclusive world in which all elements interact, including life and death. Growing up in a very superstitious family, animism has always shaped his vision of reality, although he has quickly understood that, as with any religion, this system of beliefs could be used to control society. He thus remains very wary of this vision of the world, while drawing on it for inspiration. 

Recently, the artist has explored another mode of expanding reality: the series A Conversation with the Sun (2022) involves images generated by an algorithm in response to key words he selects, such as “fabric”, “violence”, “blood” or “corruption”. Most the images feature creased pieces of white fabric, burnt in places, that recall the artist’s typical bed sheets or curtains. On the top of the photographs, Apichatpong has drawn simple figures with a white marker, as if to reappropriate the work or start a conversation with the algorithm. For On Cinema and the Sun (2022), for instance, tiny silhouettes sit along a line, all turned towards a rectangular screen and a sun. Again, illusions and reality coalesce in this almost platonic staging that suggests an infinity of layers beyond what we perceive as real. 

Exhibition view. Courtesy the artist and Kiang Malingue. Photo: Wong Pak Hang.

At the very top of the stairs, two final artworks face each other: the photograph Of Love, Of Lights (2022), featuring a large black screen hanging from an abandoned outdoor structure; and a simple, written canvas that reads “The Word Silence Is Not Silence”. The first one refers to the 2020 student protests in Thailand, with the screen pierced by thousands of flashing lights created by the students’ mobile phones. The second seems to invite us to distrust the shortcuts of language and to be attentive to the world in order to seize on its faintest quivering. Apichatpong’s multisensory artworks certainly sharpen our sense of observation and create space for individual emancipation and infinite poetic wanderings. 

A retrospective of Apichatpong’s films and some of his short diary videos are also on view at the gallery’s other space in Tin Wan.

Myth Makers—Spectrosynthesis III at Tai Kwun Contemporary

Myth Makers—Spectrosynthesis III
Dec 24, 2022 – Apr 10, 2023


JC Contemporary
Tai Kwun
10 Hollywood Road Central, Hong Kong
Tue – Sun, 11am – 7pm

taikwun.hk

Tai Kwun Contemporary and Sunpride Foundation are proud to co-present Myth Makers—Spectrosynthesis III, one of the first major survey exhibitions on LGBTQ+ perspectives in Hong Kong.

Curated by Inti Guerrero and Chantal Wong, Myth Makers draws inspiration from artists addressing “queer mythologies,” who highlight same-sex love / desire and gender fluidity as found in ancient belief systems and traditions in Asia. Expanding on the Spectrosynthesis exhibition series from Taipei and Bangkok, this iteration in Hong Kong features more than 100 artworks by over 60 artists in Asia and its diasporas, with one third of the works loaned from Sunpride’s collection.

Myth Makers unfolds through three distinctive chapters and encompasses newly produced artworks and historical works from the 1940s to the 1990s. In bringing together such a plethora of artistic perspectives and vocabularies, the exhibition endeavours to present a multiplicity of conversations, representations, and anti-representations of stories, individuals and communities. While the bulk of the exhibition focuses on living artists, some visionary and transformative figures of the past will also be underscored, including artists who lived in times when present-day LGBTQ+ identifications were not possible.

Myth Makers also includes a special collaboration with Queer Reads Library. This involves, among others, two interventions in the Artists’ Book Library: “Can’t Get You Out of My Head: From Kary to Hiram”, a display of archival/personal ephemera and artworks co-curated by Kary Kwok and Queer Reads Library; and “Queer Reads Library_Corner”, with over thirty new books and zines inspired by Myth Makers.

Participating artists: Bunny Cadag, Oscar Chan Yik Long, Shu Lea Cheang, Christopher Cheung, Isaac Chong Wai, Club Ate (Justin Shoulder & Bhenji Ra), Roy Dib, Jes Fan, Chitra Ganesh, Sadao Hasegawa, Fan Chon Hoo, Hosoe Eikoh, Hou Chun-Ming, Yuen Hsieh, Andrew Thomas Huang, Bones Tan Jones, Siren Eun Young Jung, Bhupen Khakhar, Jiaming Liao, Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho, Zihan Loo, Ly Tran Quynh Giang, Zoe Marden & Sonia Wong Yuk Ying, Josef Ng, Patrick Ng Kah Onn, Alfonso Ossorio, Beatrix Pang, Ellen Pau, Sornchai Phongsa, Khairullah Rahim, Ren Hang, Anne Samat, Joshua Serafin, Tejal Shah, Shang Liang, Raqib Shaw, Sin Wai Kin, Sputniko!, Ho Tam, Hiram To, Kwong Chi Tseng, Virtue Village, Danh Vō, Wang Shui, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Ka Ying Wong, Martin Wong, Wu Jiaru, Xiyadie, Maru Yacco, Yau Ching, Trevor Yeung, Alex Yiu & Kei Ying Wong, Kohei Yoshiyuki, Samson Young, Zheng Bo, Bruno Zhu

Co-presenter: Sunpride Foundation
Curators: Inti Guerrero and Chantal Wong

Vvzela Kook

Phantom Island / Oi! / Hong Kong / Sep 5 – Jan 2, 2023 /

In 1851, the government used rubble left by a giant fire in Sheung Wan to extend the shoreline by 15 metres. Since then, many more reclamation projects have taken place in Hong Kong, and 20 or so islands have disappeared from the city’s map. 

The extension of our city and the disappearance of our islands find playful expression in Vvzela Kook’s Phantom Island exhibition, at Oi! until January 2. 

The idea for a show on Hong Kong’s disappearing islands emerged from the artist’s research into the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC). She’d come across a photo of the former clubhouse of the RHKYC, which used to sit on the current site of Oi! before it was relocated to Kellett Island. Kook noticed that Kellett Island itself stopped being an island after reclamation work in the area. After the discovery, the artist started researching Hong Kong’s disappearing islands. “Wikipedia says 19 islands have disappeared, but I actually found more than that,” she says. She has turned some of this research into drawings documenting the disappearances of these islands, including High Island, formally located off the southeast coast of Sai Kung Peninsula. 

Still. Courtesy the artist and Oi!.

Aside from these research drawings, the exhibition also features an installation which, by literally drawing viewers into the exhibition, are skillfully woven together in a narrative that uncovers the impact of human desires on our landscapes. 

Working with installation design consultant Dylan Kwok and design manager Ivan Lai, Kook created this large-scale installation built from curved, brightly-hued slabs of wood installed at varying heights; a few slabs feature a furry middle. Visitors are encouraged to walk on it and, from the highest vantage point, the structure looks like a topographic model of an island. On some of the slabs, TV screens show fuzzy images of roving lines symbolising Hong Kong’s ever-evolving coastline that’s constantly been redrawn.      

Kook explains, “You know how when we draw, sometimes [what we drew] the first time isn’t quite right, then we draw another line over it to get the image closer to what we want? This approach reminds me of the act of land reclamation. It’s almost like we’re always looking for a better line in the plan.”

Beyond this installation are six isolated units, denoting floating islands not part of any main island. Dispersed around the gallery space, these units can be freely moved around by visitors. 

While the main island exhibits stability, the isolated units express a certain carefree nature. Above all, however, they are an affirmation of the power of human will. As philosopher Zygmunt Bauman posits in Liquid Modernity, a key inspiration behind the exhibition, the modern age is defined by a desire to modernise – to incessantly change the status quo. There is no current state, just a state of forever becoming. 

“In the distant past, if humans weren’t satisfied with the land they had, they’d start a war. Now we have the technology and we have also acquired the resolution to physically change the land we’re given. An example is the many reclamation projects going on in different parts of the world,” says Kook. 

While playfulness is important to Phantom Island, it isn’t as light-hearted as it appears. A sense of uncertainty lurks, especially in the floating units. Someone could attempt to wheel one of the units out of the gallery space or put all their weight on one end of the unit, potentially toppling it over. By having the audience become part of the art, Kook also seems to be asking: are we all somehow implicated in a city’s reclamation? The normal citizen might not be the one drawing up reclamation plans, or dredging up sand to fill the ocean, but the common desire for development means that we are all feeding into land reclamation – whether it ends up being positive or negative. 

Exhibition view. Courtesy the artist and Oi!.

By eschewing a didactic approach, Phantom Island is able to give a more nuanced reflection of the relationship between individual desires and our disappearing islands. Kook seems to have her own verdict on reclamation, mentioning Plato’s allegory of Atlantis, a prosperous, utopian island that got too greedy and, as a result, was sunk into the Atlantic ocean. 

“When the people of Atlantis ceased to wear prosperity with modesty , it had fallen out of harmony with the universe, and the gods destroyed their city. The things we are doing to our land, our universe, we can do a lot better, right?”


1851 年,政府利用上環一場大火留下的瓦礫將海岸線延長 15 米,自此香港出現了更多填海工程,20 多個島嶼因而從城市地圖上消失。

曲淵澈在油街實現的展覽《幻影島》(展期至1月2日)就以有趣的表達方式,探討了城市的擴張和消失的島嶼。

曲淵澈對香港遊艇會的研究令她萌生了要舉辦一場有關香港消失島嶼的展覽的念頭,當時她發現了一張遊艇會於油街實現現址的前會所照片,後來會所遷至奇力島,而奇力島在填海後已經不再是一個島嶼。此後,她就開始研究香港消失的島嶼。她說:「維基百科說有 19 個島嶼消失了,但我找到更多。」她將一部分研究轉化為紀錄這些消失的島嶼的圖畫,當中包括之前位於西貢半島東南面海岸的糧船灣。

Exhibition view. Courtesy the artist and Oi!.

除了這些繪圖研究之外,展覽還展出了裝置作品,吸引觀眾投入其中。裝置作品巧妙地編織成為故事,揭示人類的慾望對景觀的影響。

畫廊空間內是一個由多個彎曲鮮艷的木板組成的大型裝置,觀眾可以在不同高度的木板平臺上面行走,從高處看起來就像島嶼的地形一樣;其中有幾塊平台中間毛茸茸的。觀眾可於其中一些平台上,看到電視屏幕播放著一些模糊的流動線條,象徵香港不斷發展、被重新劃定的海岸線。

曲淵澈解釋:「畫畫的時候,有時第一次 [畫的] 不太對,然後我們會在它上面再畫另一條線,令圖畫更接近我們想要的。這種方式令我想起了填海這一動作,彷彿我們永遠都想在規劃中尋找更好的那一條綫。」

除了主體裝置之外,展覽還展出了六個可移動組件,象徵那些不屬於任何陸地的浮島。這些浮島散佈在畫廊空間各處,由觀眾自由移動。

主島表現出穩定,而可移動組件就表達出一種無憂無慮的本性。然而最重要的是,它們是對人類意志力的肯定。正如展覽主要靈感來源哲學家齊格蒙.包曼在《液態現代性》中所指,「現代性」是對現代化、不斷改變現狀的渴望,不存在所謂的目前,只有永遠改變的狀態。

曲淵澈說:「在遠古時期,如果人不滿足於自己擁有的土地,他們會發動戰爭。現在我們有了技術,亦有了改變土地的決心,世界各地都正進行著許多填海工程。」

雖然玩味是《幻影島》之中很重要的元素,但背後並不如想像般輕鬆。展覽充斥著一種不確定感,尤其是在可移動浮島的部分。有人可能會嘗試將其中一些單位推出畫廊空間外,亦有人會將自身重量卸於浮島的一端,試圖把它翻倒。曲淵澈讓觀眾成為了作品的一部分,彷彿也在問:我們是否都以某種方式參與了城市的填海工程?普通市民可能不是制訂填海計劃或者挖沙填海的人,但對發展的共同慾望意味著我們都在支持填海造地,無論結果好壞亦然。

Exhibition view. Courtesy the artist and Oi!.

《幻影島》避開了說教的形式,細緻地反映出個人慾望與消失的島嶼之間的關係。曲淵澈提到了柏拉圖關於亞特蘭提斯的寓言,她對於填海似乎已有定論。在寓言故事中,亞特蘭提斯曾是個繁榮的烏托邦島嶼,但由於過於貪婪,島嶼最後沉沒於大西洋之中。

「當亞特蘭提斯的人不再謙虛地擁抱繁華時,島嶼就失去了與宇宙之間的和諧,於是神摧毀了他們的城市。我們正在對我們的土地、宇宙所做的事,其實是不是可以做得好一點?」

Opera Gallery in December

Bernard Buffet, Marc Chagall, Georges Mathieu, Manolo Valdés, Kenny Scharf /
Ongoing
/

Opera Gallery
Shop G08-09, The Galleria, 9 Queen’s Road Central
Central, Hong Kong
+852 2810 1208
Monday – Saturday, 10am – 7pm
Public holidays, 12am – 6pm

operagallery.com

Opera Gallery will showcase a selection of artworks by leading Modern, Post-War, and Contemporary artists that bridges contrasting approaches. This presentation will create and prompt dialogue between paintings, works on paper and sculptures from different time periods, places and styles and will celebrate the spirit and genius of those artists, whose insight and vision produced crowning achievements in art and culture over the past century. The works that we are planning to present were all created by artists, who strove or still strive to renew art and to liberate it from copying nature and blind adherence to academic traditions. Featured artists will include Bernard Buffet, Marc Chagall, Georges Mathieu, Manolo Valdés and Kenny Scharf among others.

Wu Jiaru 吳佳儒

To the Naiad’s House / Flowers Gallery / Hong Kong / Sep 29 – Nov 12 /

The story of Southeast China in the 1990s is one of breakneck transformation. Cranes worked in tufts of dust, new structures climbed steel frames to scrape the sky, and opportunity was in the air. For many millions of people in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and smaller townships, the proverbial first bucket of gold seemed less like a fantasy and more like a real possibility.

As China’s economy opened up, Southeast China felt closer to Hong Kong than ever before. Media and information moved across the border. Even though a border and bureaucracy separated Guangdong province from Hong Kong, people couldn’t help but form impressions of the city through glimpses offered in films and portrayals on television.

For her recent exhibition at Flowers Gallery, Wu Jiaru mined her upbringing in Guangzhou and feelings as a Hong Kong transplant, revisiting experiences as a child who spent time in her mother’s restaurant, watching the world change through a TV screen.

The solo presentation To the Naiad’s House takes its title from a room in that restaurant. The room itself is named after a location inhabited by one of the protagonists in Dream of the Red Chamber, the famed 18th-century novel.

One smaller canvas in Wu’s show, daycare_twoWaitresses (2022), is painted in the shades of the seats found in the Naiad’s House. An amber disc – perhaps the sun – shines behind a mess of limbs, shrubbery greens sprout forth and savoy blues glide off flesh tones against a smoky blue-gray background. Wu characteristically features figures in her paintings in positions of intimacy, dropping them into settings where they share moments of private poignancy.

Lifting even more elements from her mother’s eatery, Wu mounted two pairs of canvases on wheeled frames, making them moveable in the gallery. These mobile canvases mimicked screens that could be erected for privacy in dining areas, and had acrylic chandelier “crystals” dangling from them, sandwiched between each pair of paintings, playing off the inexpensive interior decor that was incorporated by many restaurateurs of that era. 

Unknown Tales i & ii by Wu Jiaru, Oil and Acrylic on linen 175 x 135 cm (each), 2022.
Courtesy the artist and Flowers Gallery.

A set of metal mesh drawers, again mounted on wheels, housed painted closeups of faces belonging to Kobe Bryant  (eyes closed, standing before a background of Lakers purple) and Diana Spencer (eyes open, bright orange behind her auburn-not-blonde curls) – a nod to Wu’s love of basketball and her mother’s fascination with the late Princess of Wales, another stream of influence from Hong Kong, with colonial culture flowing north of the border. Keep exploring to find tangled balls of the artist’s own hair, collected out of habit: strands of herself shed to mingle with her art.

Wu’s gestures left on her canvases are not so much melodic as they are rhythmic, much like the way personal and shared histories ebb and flow. Figures from the past are untethered from the realities of grinding until success is in sight, and grafted into scenes with a mythic quality. Everyone from the artist’s past looks like they are free.

A tender moment glows through in the show. In familyTime_97_liveStream (2022), Wu’s mother is seated with legs crossed on a Baroque chair, the artist nestled within her embrace. Affection warms the frame as mother and daughter are hugged by the canary yellow upholstery, a lilac wall soothing the distant view. In July 1997, Wu would have been four years old.

 familyTime_97_liveStream by Wu Jiaru, Oil and Acrylic on linen, 120 x 90 cm, 2022.
Courtesy the artist and Flowers Gallery.

Whereas this image of maternal tenderness was one of the last works viewers saw in the show, it called back most strongly to one work near the gallery’s entrance that was not made by Wu — a piece of fibre folk art produced by her mother in 1989, two years before Wu was born. It shows an ox under a crescent moon and two shining stars. Wu’s mother was in fact an artist herself, and used the money earned from selling artworks to open her restaurant.

Perhaps To the Naiad’s House is only half of the presentation. The other half would be in the room Wu remembers, where a child wondered about a city that was within reach but still felt like a world away, and then more than two decades later let mythology meld with memory as she made sense of moments from the past that continue to shape her art.

The moment in familyTime_97_liveStream is imagined. Wu told me she was never cradled in that position on the chair depicted on her canvas, nor was there a room in the Guangzhou restaurant painted with that shade of pale purple. This hardly matters. Memories bend and shift, but the feelings of care and attachment felt by Wu cut through time.


轉轉瀟湘館 / 弗勞爾斯畫廊

中國東南地區在1990年代的故事是圍繞驚人的巨變:一艘艘的起重機不斷在滾滾沙塵中工作挖掘,新的建築物沿著鋼架漸漸落成,形成天邊的一道風景線,機會處處。對於數百萬住在廣州、深圳和一些小鎮上的人來說,傳說中的第一桶金似乎不再是天方夜譚,而是確確切切的能夠實現。

隨著中國經濟的開放,中國東南地區與香港的關係變得前所未有的緊密,媒體和信息跨越邊界。雖然廣東省與香港隔著一個邊境,官方制度也不一樣,但人還是忍不住從電影和電視畫面一睹,對這座城市留下印象。

在近期弗勞爾斯畫廊舉辦的展覽中,吳佳儒以香港新移民的角度展示她在廣州成長的經歷,重溫了小時候在母親的餐館中,透過電視觀看世界的萬千變化。

個人展覽「轉轉瀟湘館」取名自該餐館中的一個包廂,包廂的名字源自十八世紀著名小說《紅樓夢》其中一位主角所居住的地方。

展品之一是一幅細小的畫作《daycare_twoWaitresses》 (2022年) ,靈感來自於「瀟湘館」裡的梳化,以沙梳化的色調繪製而成。背景是煙熏調的灰藍;尤如太陽般的琥珀色圓盤,照耀在一片混亂的肢體形態背後;灌木般的蔥綠及天藍的色彩,則順著肢體的膚色上滑落。吳佳儒以其一貫作風,刻畫其畫中人親密的姿勢,並將其置身於私人的哀傷情感中。

吳佳儒從母親的餐館裡,提煉出更多意象。她把兩對油畫豎立在帶有滾輪的畫框上,使它們在畫廊中隨意移動。能移動的油畫模仿餐館把餐區劃分為私人聚會空間的屏風,油畫上懸掛著亞克力膠製成的 「水晶」 吊燈,夾在兩對油畫中間,與那個年代許多餐館所採用的廉價室內裝飾相映成趣。

一組金屬網製的抽屜同樣豎立在滾輪上,存放了兩位人物臉孔的特寫畫作,包括Kobe Bryant  (他雙眼緊閉,站在一個湖人隊的紫色背景前)和戴安娜史賓莎(她雙眼張開,以鮮橙色的背景襯托她那金褐色捲髮),這表達出吳佳儒對籃球的熱愛和她的母親對已故戴安娜王妃的傾慕,這些都是源自香港一股帶有殖民色彩的文化向北漂流所產生的影響力。除此以外,吳佳儒還慣性地把自己打結的頭髮收集起來,從中不斷地探索且把脫落的頭髮和藝術品融為一體。

與其說吳佳儒在畫布上留下的是一道優美的旋律,倒不如說是一種有韻律的舞步,就如個人與群體歷史的興衰起伏。過去的人物脫離了不堪的現實,於成功在望的一刻被嫁接到神話般的虛構場景中,這些在吳佳儒生命中出現過的人,在她的畫筆下都顯得自由。

展覽中還流露了動人的一刻 ,在畫作《familyTime_97_liveStream》 (2022年)中,吳佳儒的母親盤腿坐在一張巴洛克式的椅子上,女兒依偎在她的懷抱中,母女在鮮黃色的椅子環抱,親情洋溢,從遠處望過去,畫中淡紫色的背景讓人感到平靜。這是1997年7月,當時的吳佳儒大概四歲。

雖然這幅充滿母愛的畫作是整個展覽其中一幅觀眾最後看到的作品,但它與畫廊入口附近一幅並不是出自吳佳儒手筆的作品形成強烈對比,那是她母親於吳佳儒出生前兩年,即1989年,以纖維製作的一件民藝品。作品上可看到兩顆星在一個月缺的晚上閃耀,而夜空下有一頭牛。吳佳儒的母親本來也是一名藝術家,她把賣藝術品賺來的錢開了自己的餐館。

也許吳佳儒只把「瀟湘館」的一半呈現觀眾,而另一半則埋藏於她記憶中的那個包廂,對那個對一個城市充滿好奇心的小孩,那城這麼近,卻又那麼遠。在二十年後,吳佳儒用她的過去來塑造她的藝術品,把神話與回憶融為一體。

作品《familyTime_97_liveStream》呈現的場景是想像出來的,吳佳儒告訴我她其實從沒有在那幅畫上的椅子裡被擁抱過,而廣州那餐館內也沒有一間包廂的背景是那種淡紫色。其實這些都不再重要了,人的記憶會隨時間流逝而變得曲折模糊,但藝術家在當中所感受到的關心和歸屬感卻早已穿越時空。

Alice Neel at David Zwirner Hong Kong

Alice Neel
Men from the Sixties

Nov 17 – Dec 21, 2022

David Zwirner Hong Kong
5-6/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, 
Central, Hong Kong
+852 21195900
Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 7pm

davidzwirner.com

David Zwirner is pleased to present Alice Neel: Men from the Sixties at the gallery’s Hong Kong location. Widely regarded as one of the foremost American artists of the twentieth century, Neel (1900–1984) is known for her daringly honest, humanist approach to the figure. This focused presentation brings together a selection of significant paintings of men from the 1960s, a decisive decade in the development of the artist’s practice. In these years, her style evolved into the looser, more open compositions she would come to be known for in the later period of her career, while she also began to receive broader recognition for her work as an incisive artist and cultural figure. Ranging from depictions of men of personal or intellectual significance to Neel to those of anonymous individuals and acquaintances who interested her, the works on view present a nuanced examination of masculinity and attest to the artist’s commitment to capturing the character, emotions, and complexities of not only her sitters but also their era.

Alice Neel: Men from the Sixties will be the first exhibition of Neel’s work in Greater China. The artist’s work will be the subject of a concurrent major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, that will subsequently travel to the Barbican Centre, London. A critically lauded survey of her work was organized and presented by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; and the de Young Museum, San Francisco, in 2021 and 2022.