All posts filed under: Reviews

The world is a show for my chosen eye’s delight 臆想錄

Gallery Exit / Hong Kong / Mar 13 – Apr 30, 2021 / Tiffany Leung / In times of crisis like these, taking time to look at art can seem something of a luxury. In some ways it is – the pandemic, along with the pressure to uphold productivity, has relentlessly consumed our mental capacity in the past year. But time and again we are reminded that the more our real life distracts us from looking at art, the more closely we should be looking at it. The group exhibition The world is a show for my chosen eye’s delight at Gallery Exit reiterates this idea – a need for stopped time to examine and reflect on our experience from new perspectives. The show takes its name from the title of a manga novel by Japanese artist Suehiro Maruo, who is known for employing dark humour and gory aesthetics as a metaphor for absurdity in society. “It not so much a direct response or tribute to Maruo’s work,” says Hilda Chan, gallery manager of Exit. “The reference is loose and alludes to his spirit …

unconstrained tone 亂調

soundpocket / Hong Kong / Dec 11-17, 2020 / Jacqueline Leung / Originally conceived as a series of live performances in May, unconstrained tone was an online screening of seven new audiovisual works by 19 emerging Hong Kong artists. The culmination of a year-long project, it aimed to let participating artists, mostly from composition and videography backgrounds, experiment with ways of bringing sound and image together. Despite its postponement and digital presentation, much of unconstrained tone remained in the here and now. Each work was only up for 24 hours, after which it could no longer be viewed. The programme opened with Synchronization (2020), a multimedia improvisation by musician Kong Chan and filmmaker Wong Hoi-yin. In a dark interior, a dancer moved to music performed using dongxiao flute, electronic sound effects and The World of Dreams, a set of lyrics composed by Hong Yi, an eminent Buddhist monk, sung in the Cantonese naamyam singing tradition. The dancer’s movements were processed by a visual mixer and projected onto the wall, producing illusory shadows that in turn informed the musicians’ playing. A work of simultaneous creation, Synchronization formally embodies the harmony of life’s cycles and of existence, …

Yin Xiuzhen 尹秀珍

Sky Patch / CHAT / Hong Kong / Oct 31– Feb 28 / Ysabelle Cheung / There were multiple entryways into Yin Xiuzhen’s solo show Sky Patch at the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile, but the timeliest introduction was situated at the main atrium of the building. Here, diaphanous suitcases, stitched together by the artist and her volunteers using recycled clothing, hung like gliders above a facsimile airport check-in, complete with a conveyer belt, luggage carts and attendants. In an era of empty airports and isolation, the work felt especially haunted, the sheer cloth pieced together by collective memory, the futility of the eerie simulacrum evident in the absence of a destination. As a sensitive observer to the socioeconomic developments that shaped post-1989 China and the ensuing struggles for personal identity, Yin Xiuzhen oscillates between homogeneity and individuality in her works, identifying cohesive patterns of loss and intimacy through her use of vintage textiles. However, the assembly of old and new works in Sky Patch often lacked connection, instead confusing subtlety with grand gesture. The traditional entrance to the …

Kim Young-Hun 金永憲

Diamond Mountain – Electronic Nostalgia / Soluna Fine Art / Hong Kong / Apr 3 – Aug 1, 2020 / Valencia Tong / With potted plants at the entrance and green chequered tiles on the second storey, the gallery space at Soluna Fine Art exuded an aura of playfulness. On view at the gallery was Korean artist Kim Young-Hun’s solo show Diamond Mountain – Electronic Nostalgia. The artist’s colour-saturated paintings blend the aesthetics of the analogue and the digital, the philosophical and the technological, and the historical and the futuristic. His abstract canvases explore the disorientation brought about by the blurred boundaries between the virtual, digital world and our real lives. The result is a mishmash of traditional Korean landscapes, glitchy geometrical patterns and Van Gogh-like oscillating lines, which recall interference on television screens. Although the paintings in the artist’s oeuvre allude to forms of technology that are ubiquitous in our lives, the artist also pays tribute to history, citing the Buddhist Diamond Sutra as his inspiration. To achieve enlightenment, one has to shatter illusions and free oneself from attachment, but the artist’s …

Andrew Luk 陸浩明, Stacey Chan 陳樂珩, Lau Wai 劉衛, Ip Wai Lung 葉惠龍, Moses Tan

Museum of Half Truths / 1a space / Hong Kong / Aug 8 – 30, 2020/ Brady Ng / The International Council of Museums cannot agree on what a museum does – or should be. The dispute dates back to 2016, when the organisation began to examine whether its definition of a museum, which has remained relatively unchanged for more than four decades, was outmoded. Each of us, though, in our gut, carries notions about what these institutions are. That was the starting point for Museum of Half Truths, an exhibition curated by Rachael Burns and Polly Palmerini for the nonprofit 1a space in Hong Kong. Originally intended to have both in-person and online components, the show was moved to entirely virtual form with clickable navigation that includes Soundcloud and Vimeo links because – well, you know why. Andrew Luk’s spray foam sculptural form containing a video monitor, Traversing Hollow Ground (2020), shows footage shot in a tunnel that was carved by slave labour during Hong Kong’s occupation by Japanese military forces during the Second World War. Stacey Chan’s dictionary with all “positive” words rubbed out with an …

Tap Chan, Thea Djordjadze, Jason Dodge, Eisa Jocson, Pratchaya Phinthong

My Body Holds Its Shape / Tai Kwun Contemporary / Hong Kong / May 25 – Sep 27, 2020 / Jacqueline Leung / Little Mermaid Ariel’s song preceded the exhibition hall. By the time the dancer was seen, he had already turned on all fours, stretching his limbs with feline grace. In Eisa Jocson’s Zoo (2020), performance is in a constant state of becoming. Working with the expanse of the room, the dancers shifted between routine and improvised imitations of characters and animals, enlivening a space made to confine – previously as a women’s prison, now as a four-walled enclosure for art. Loosely organised around metaphorical interpretations of the body, such as its existence as a physical container, or as a mental framework of the self, My Body Holds Its Shape questions our efforts to sustain these edifices structuring our understanding of the world. Through the work of five artists, the exhibition opens up these limits as interstices of new relations and significance, creating, according to the opening statement, a “view that was not there …

Bosco Sodi 博斯克•索迪

A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains / Axel Vervoordt Gallery / Hong Kong / Feb 13 – Sep 5, 2020 / Christine Chan Chiu / The colour turquoise holds great significance for Bosco Sodi, so much so that the artist’s first solo show at Axel Vervoordt Gallery Hong Kong was devoted to exploring the nuances and subtleties of this pigment.Created during his two-week residency in Hong Kong last December, the works in it are made with sawdust and inspired by the artist’s experiences in the city. Completing the multi-dimensional exhibition was a selection of the artist’s large clay sculptures, presented on the floor. The title of the exhibition references the famous 12-metre-long shanshui landscape painting of turquoise-tipped peaks by Chinese painter Wang Ximeng (1113 AD). Focusing on the colour turquoise was cathartic for the artist; not only has the mineral turquoise long been seen as a good-luck talisman in many cultures, but its unique, stunning colour also recalls precious memories from the artist’s childhood. It conjures images of cool waters amid lush landscapes, scenery found both …

Chris Huen Sin Kan 禤善勤

Puzzled Daydreams / Simon Lee Gallery / London / Jun 15 – Jul 3 / Margot Mottaz / The irony isn’t lost on me that as I emerged from lockdown and into central London for the first time in months, I stepped right into the home of a stranger, albeit through a series of works on paper and large-scale canvasses by artist Chris Huen Sin Kan. Puzzled Daydreams marks the artist’s second solo exhibition with Simon Lee Gallery, and first in London, though it inaugurated the gallery’s online viewing room as the pandemic took its tollon the UK in mid-March and prevented the show from opening to the public until recently, by appointment only. Huen was born and raised in Hong Kong, where he still lives with his wife Haze, their two children, Joel and Tess, and their three dogs, Doodood, MuiMui and Balltsz, who all appear again and again as the loyal protagonists in the artist’s intimate works. As an inherent part of Huen’s daily life, they represent the ideal subject matter to consistently revisit the mundane, trivial moments that make …

Tang Kwong San 鄧廣燊

Hidden Space / Hong Kong / Mar 13 – May 2, 2020 / Ellen Wong / Hidden Space was established in 2017 and has since provided numerous exhibition opportunities to new artists. Since 2018, the winner of Hong Kong Art School’s Hidden Space Award has been given the chance to hold a solo exhibition at the venue. Although located in the out-of-the-way Kwai Chung, it is a good starting point to view emerging forces in the local art scene. In March 2020, Hidden Space hosted Wandering. At Sea, a solo exhibition of young Hong Kong artist Tang Kwong San. Tang was born in 1992 in Dongguan, mainland China. The absence of a mother is at the core of his work. In his graduate exhibition last year, Tang portrayed his late mother’s room when she was alive. Bedroom (2019) explored Tang’s own inner world, reflecting the sense of loss after the passing of a loved one. Somewhere in Time (2019), his collaboration with artist Yuen Nga Chi, was one of the finalists at the WMA Masters awards 2019/20. Turning a telephone box …

Hong Kong – Tales of the City

Denny Dimin Gallery & Videotage / New York / Mar 13 – May 2, 2020 / Mimi Wong / Even before the pandemic struck, the dystopian visions and reimagined histories presented in Hong Kong – Tales of the City felt extremely relevant and timely. Media works from nine artists belonging to Hong Kong’s oldest video collective address a range of vital issues, from civic engagement to the impact of globalisation on contemporary urban life. The collaboration between Videotage and Denny Dimin Gallery opened in New York just as the city headed into lockdown. As part the ongoing effort to prevent the further spread of Covid-19, the gallery’s temporary closure meant that the group exhibition could only be viewed online. Instead of moving through rooms with monitors and headsets, one simply had to scroll down the page to navigate the three parts devised by curator Isaac Leung. With most run times clocking in at 10 minutes or under, the videos could comfortably be watched in one sitting. The first section, Publicness, introduced the notion of a collective consciousness through …