All posts filed under: Reviews

Law Yuk Mui

There Is No One Singing on the River /Oil Street Art Space, Oi! / Dec 12 – Jul 31, 2022 / There Is No One Singing on the River relates Law Yuk Mui’s experience and fieldwork along the Ng Tung River, located in Hong Kong’s northeastern New Territories. The river drains a large area and flows down on the western slope of Wong Leng, going underground in some parts of its lower course, irrigating Lau Shui Heung and Hok Tau reservoirs. Since the 1990s, its natural landscape has been radically modified due to flood control projects. Its catchment is very wide and its trajectory difficult to map out. Furthermore, the river has many names, changing as it meets various branches and tributaries. It even used to be called the Indus River, thanks to South Asian surveyors during the colonial period. Rather than trying to grasp this elusive, complex reality, Law reflects on her working methodology and proposes a very open interpretation of her journey. Based on her investigation, sound recording and mapping of the river, …

Wesley Tongson 唐家偉

Spiritual Mountains: The Art of Wesley Tongson 靈山:唐家偉的藝術世界 / Berkeley Art Museum 美國柏克萊大學藝術博物館 / Jan 12–Jun 12, 2022 2022年1月12日至6月12日 / DeWitt Cheng / Originality is the tacitly assumed essence and sine qua non of creative art. Young artists in the ultra-individualistic US sometimes avoid looking at older artists’ work for fear of being influenced or contaminated – to their detriment. Artists of the past learned from the masters by copying and assimilating. Arshile Gorky famously copied Picasso (“If he drips, I drip”), himself an omnivorous eye; and Ben Shahn praised the artists of the past as friendly ghosts, not obstacles or enemies. Creative talent may be inherent but it has to be developed. Postmodernist theory has added to the confusion in recent decades. The deaths of the author or artist and of individuality itself have been widely accepted in academia. Jorge Luis Borges parodied the death of originality in his prescient 1939 pseudo-article considering the literary achievement of “Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote”. “His admirable ambition,” wrote Borges, “was to produce pages which would …

Sherrie Levine 谢丽·利文

Hong Kong Dominoes / David Zwirner / Hong Kong / Sep 4 – Oct 13, 2021 / American artist Sherrie Levine’s recent exhibition Hong Kong Dominoes at David Zwirner in Hong Kong comprised six bodies of work that span three decades of the artist’s career.Levine rose to prominence as a member of the Pictures Generation, a group of artists based in New York in the late 1970s and 80s. Originally trained as a printmaker, this has continued to influence her work, of which multiple images and mechanical reproduction form the foundation. The artist chooses, reproduces and re-presents the works of dead white male artists as her own – works in the past have appropriated Walker Evans, Matisse, Brâncuși and Duchamp – undermining and calling into question concepts like authorship, originality and authenticity, and our fetishisation of these values and of certain works of art. Several works in the current exhibition make reference to modernist works. In the group of 22 watercolour on paper drawings After Henri Matisse (1985), Levine recreates and presents a sequence of …

cucurrucucu (咕咕), Starry Kong, Liao Jiaming 廖家明

Reality Overdose / RNH Space / Hong Kong / Sep 25 – Dec 12, 2021 / Wearing a silicone body suit with a muscular physique featuring six pack abs, and a mask with a bright red lipstick stain, artist Liao Jiaming caused quite a stir with his performance Repetition Maximum (2021), walking down a street in Sham Shui Po surrounded by an entourage. Connecting his two recent exhibitions, Liao guided viewers from Too Good to be True at public space the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre to the intimate setting of RNH space and the opening of his exhibition Till Love Do Us Apart, as well as the third and final part of RNH Space’s exhibition series Reality Overdose, a collaboration with the Hong Kong International Photo Festival curated by the space’s founder Yang Jiang. All three exhibitions were concerned with photography as a medium, and in particular the way it impacts contemporary culture. From collage to digital manipulation to the value society places on images, all the shows – including the first two iterations of Reality Overdose, cucurrucucu’s Waste …

Ko Sin Tung 高倩彤

An acute manner 更尖銳的方式 / Kiang Malingue / Hong Kong / Nov 11 – Jan 15, 2022 / If something is sharp, the edge is often outward facing. For instance, sharpness can be used to describe piercing speech or sharp questions. But in changing times, when all sharpness has been blunted, how can one maintain one’s sharp edge? When the world squabbles about what to say and what can’t be said, Ko Sin Tung quietly conveyed what she considered to be a sharp edge in her solo exhibition at Kiang Malingue. Memories of the artist’s last exhibition are still fresh: for that, she turned the gallery space, in a Grade A office building in Central, into a construction site. For this new exhibition, the gallery has temporarily relocated to an old industrial building in Aberdeen. But the exhibition space inside the gallery is suffocatingly clean, and cool tones pervade the venue and the works. There are only two pieces, and Ko’s signature allusion to spaces in construction is nowhere to be found. At first glance, …

Various artists 群展

Up Close – Hollywood Road II / Oct 11 – Nov 14, 2021 / The second road in Hong Kong to be built under colonial rule, Hollywood Road earned its reputation as an antiques market after merchants and sailors travelling from China back to Europe would put their wares up for sale here. In Up Close – Hollywood Road II, works from six contemporary artists and artist groups were shown alongside rare objects across five different Hollywood Road locations, sparking a conversation between the traditional and the modern. Curated by Hilda Chan and Iven Cheung, the artists worked with the respective galleries to develop pieces that not only complemented but also respected the antique collections. The presentation also encouraged new ways of looking at antiques, generating a novel appreciation for these objects within a contemporary context. At Nan Fung Place, Lau Hok Shing’s installation gave audiences a glimpse into the history and development of the Hollywood Road neighbourhood. Abnormal Institute of History and Culture of Hollywood Road (2021) was made using documents, books and various …

Oscar Chan Yik Long 陳翊朗

Don’t leave the dark alone / Gallery Exit / Hong Kong / Aug 14 – Sep 18, 2021 / Two women and a man with a horned goat’s head sit around a table, bearing frustrated and contemplative expressions, a crucifix affixed on the wall behind looming over them. In this latest ink creation, Not Even God or the Devil Know How to Handle This (2021), artist Oscar Chan Yik-Long puts a reversed anthropomorphic twist on a scene from Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1974 film Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. Here, Chan replaces Fassbinder’s head with that of a goat, often used as a demonic symbol, removing the scene from its original context and transforming it into his own phantasmagoric creation. This practice is ubiquitous throughout his most recent exhibition, Don’t leave the dark alone, at Gallery Exit. “’Fear eats the soul’ is exactly what I’ve been feeling and thinking,” says Chan in an interview, reflecting on the harrowing events engulfing the world over the past few years. “The world has gone through so much trauma, from …

Tang Kwong-san, Szelit Cheung, Tap Chan 鄧廣燊, 張施烈, 陳沁昕

Space and Memory 空間與記憶 / Whitestone Gallery 香港白石畫廊 / Hong Kong / Aug 31 – Sep 30, 2021 / Christie Lee / Hong Kong provides interesting material to mull over ideas of space and memory. The city’s density means that every day there are legions of personal and collectives memories being made. But the city’s ultra-capitalist mindset means that the new often replaces old at blistering pace. In the past few years, there have been concerted efforts by various parties in society and politics to preserve, rub out or construct memories. Space and Memory, an exhibition of three Hong Kong artists at Whitestone Gallery curated by Aimee Man, examines memory’s role in place-making and identity construction. Although cast as a group exhibition, it feels like three individual exhibitions, all exploring the same theme, instead of an exhibition where works by the artists are knitted together by a focused narrative. At first glance, Tang Kwong-san’s works lean towards the personal. The first thing you see in the space might be ’96 7 14 (2020), a life-size painting of …

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 …

Siu Wai Hang 蕭偉恒

Unreasonable Behaviour / Goethe-Gallery / Hong Kong / Apr 4 – May 5, 2021 / Ilaria Maria Sala / During the final day of Siu Wai Hang’s exhibition Unreasonable Behaviour at the Goethe Institute in Hong Kong, the city was undergoing its latest shock: the public radio and television channel, RTHK, was busy deleting from both its own archives and its YouTube channel old shows that might no longer find favour with the authorities. Cancelling and erasing has become one of the most common signs in the city – from the thick layers of white and grey paint covering up the slogans that were written on the walls and streets in 2019 to the many universities hitting the delete button on talks, conferences and symposiums that had been recorded but are now best forgotten. Social media contacts suddenly disappear, or their whole content is cancelled, in an attempt not to fall foul of the rapidly changing political climate. How very poignant, then, is this small series of striking works by Siu, which elaborate on the events of 2019, transforming them …