All posts tagged: Margot Mottaz

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 …

Gordon Cheung

Tears of Paradise / Edel Assanti / London / Jan 17 – Mar 18, 2020 / Margot Mottaz / Geopolitics. If a single word summarises the theme of Gordon Cheung’s latest series of works (all 2020) on display at Edel Assanti in London, that would be it. In the single-room exhibition Tears of Paradise, a large hanging installation and five equally sized paintings-cum-collages confront us with the major infrastructural initiatives in China that represent the foundation of Xi Jinping’s “Chinese dream” of global hegemony. The scale of these developments is unprecedented in human history and simply unfathomable for most people, especially those of us living in the west.  Three works that deal with hyperconnectivity – bringing people and goods closer together than ever – hang side by side on one wall. The first is String of Pearls, a map of the coastal countries along the US$1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative. Its key hubs and ports appear as luminescent jewels that shine with the promise of direct trade routes between China and more than 70 countries across Asia, Africa …

Wong Ping

Heart Digger / Camden Arts Centre & Cork Street Gallery, London / Jul 5 – Sep 15, 2019 /  Margot Mottaz / How to write about art when the world is on fire? More specifically, how to write about art from Hong Kong when the territory is experiencing a historic revolution? The answer is simple: art is freedom. It offers a new perspective, a common language to challenge opposition, ignorance and oppression. And Wong Ping’s two-venue exhibition in London does exactly that. Spread across the Camden Arts Centre (CAC) – which awarded Wong the inaugural Emerging Artist Prize at Frieze in 2018 – and the Cork Street Gallery, the works in Wong Ping: Heart Digger employ just the right amount of humour and cynicism to expose the darkest sides of contemporary society in their full absurdity. Wong unmistakably belongs to the 21st century. Explicitly political, he tackles everything from alienation and taboos to violence and corruption in the age of online dating, surveillance and social media, all packaged in a low-resolution saccharine aesthetic and deadpan …

NOW: A Dialogue on Female Chinese Contemporary Artists

Multiple venues in the UK. Until September 2, 2018. By Margot Mottaz Over the past two months, six institutions across the UK have come together to celebrate the women at the forefront of contemporary art in China. A project spearheaded by the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester, in collaboration with the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Nottingham Contemporary, Turner Contemporary in Margate, HOME in Manchester and Tate Research Centre: Asia, NOW: A Dialogue on Female Chinese Contemporary Artists offers a platform for cultural exchange, raising universal issues relating to gender, identity and perception. Bringing together a variety of artists connected by their gender and nationality naturally prevents the programme from being perfectly cohesive and thematically straightforward. The exhibition at the CFCCA, for example, features works by seven artists that are perplexing, but equally rewarding once they reveal themselves as acute commentaries on established social structures. Na Buqi’s (b.1984) site-specific installation Floating Narratives (2017) combines artificial exotic plants and images of landscapes printed on silk with portable fans and hanging lights on a scaffolding-like …

Do Ho Suh

Passage/s Lehmann Maupin Hong Kong Mar 20 – May 13, 2017 Margot Mottaz Every now and then you encounter an artist who resonates so deeply with you that they become a reference against which you assess all others. Do Ho Suh is one of them for me. I first discovered his work at his first Hong Kong solo exhibition, here at Lehmann Maupin, when his ongoing Specimen Series, small apartment fixtures and appliances replicated in translucent nylon, were displayed there in December 2013. Many artists tackle questions of home, displacement and personal space, but few do it with as much finesse, simplicity and beauty as Suh. Initially as a result of his move from his native South Korea to the US in the 1990s, his work seeks to apprehend the fundamental question of belonging and by extension identity. Now based in London with his family, his endeavour has remained the same but the premise has developed to include the complexity of fatherhood. His daughters played a key role in the creation of each work in …

Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo Qiang

Director: Kevin Macdonald Cast: Ian Buruma, Cai Guo Qiang, Cai Wen You, Cai Wen Hao, Ben Davis, Jeffrey Deitch, Phil Grucci, Thomas Krens, Tatsumi  Masatoshi, Orville Schell, Jennifer Wen Ma, Hong Hong Wu, Zhang Yimou US, 76 minutes By Margot Mottaz Connecting the Earth to the rest of the universe was Cai Guo Qiang’s childhood dream. When he finally realised it in 2015 after 20 years and three failed attempts, a majestic 500-metre ladder of gold light ascended into the night sky over the Huiyu Island harbour, not far from Cai’s hometown in Fujian province. A touching gift to his ailing 100-year-old grandmother, who watched the spectacle unfold on FaceTime, Sky Ladder is a striking metaphor for Cai’s artistic ambitions. The eponymous documentary, directed by Kevin Macdonald and produced by Wendi Murdoch, offers a captivating look into Cai’s life and work, heavily premised on the shock of the Cultural Revolution, which Cai experienced as a little boy, and his move to Japan and later New York. Narrated by the artist himself, his close friends and family, as well as prominent scholars of …

Maria Taniguchi

Solo show. By Margot Mottaz Philippine artist Maria Taniguchi estimates that she has painted a few hundred thousand bricks since 2008, when she started her ongoing series of untitled brick paintings. Shown alongside a fountain installation at Galerie Perrotin this winter in the artist’s first solo show in Hong Kong, these minimal, solemn paintings have become Taniguchi’s signature pieces, through which her practice – video, sculpture, pottery and installation – is often understood. Large in format (on average 250 x 120cm) and repetitive in design, the paintings consist of small graphite rectangles carefully filled with black acrylic paint. The result might look mechanical but each brick has been painted individually in a laborious operation. The bricks, uneven in tone, with some darker than others depending on the ratio of paint to water, form abstract patterns that reflect the artist’s hand. Still, the series’ overall uniformity purposely belies Taniguchi’s labour-intensive, time-consuming efforts. This is perhaps a subdued comment on the undervaluation of manual labour in our post-industrial, globalised world, a topical subject in her homeland and …

Switched On

By Margot Mottaz Cities buzz. Like giant batteries, they store energy and release it; their air is electric. They are fuelled by the intangible networks, both human and digital, that run tirelessly through their tall skyscrapers and narrow back alleys. In an attempt to reveal these imperceptible forces that make up urban environments, Human Vibrations, Hong Kong’s fifth Large-Scale Public Media Arts Exhibition, explores the relationship between technology and city dwellers. Through site-specific public works by eight new-media artists, both local and international, the exhibition looks on notions of time, transience and ephemerality, as well as how people relate to each other and to their environment. Taking centre stage in the exhibition is Fly High – Time Flies (2016) by Laurent Mignonneau and Christa Sommerer, in which swarms of flies smother the ICC’s facades as they would cattle on a hot summer day. The randomly generated mass aggregates, crowds the building on all sides and dissipates again. The tower, suddenly filled with life, becomes akin to the city it looks over, bustling with millions of …