- Hong Kong
- C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia
Hong Kong has quickly become the arts hub of Asia, and its art scene boasts a variety of local and international galleries, as well as non-profit art spaces that host exciting exhibitions. Annually, the world’s art elite flock to the city to attend important art events, such as international art fairs. We profile 10 among the must-see exhibitions to visit in the first half of 2015.
Art Basel Hong Kong 2015
March 15 – 17 2015 (VIP Preview March 14)
Art Basel Hong Kong, hosting its third edition this year, has become a key fixture in the international art calendar. The largest art fair in the Asia region, Art Basel features a rich program of events, lectures and talks during its four-day period. Taking place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) and spanning over two floors, Art Basel sees the participation of some of the major galleries from around the world as well as young and emerging art spaces, roughly half from the Asia region and half from elsewhere. Artists include blue-chip and young, emerging ones from Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Art Basel also features Encounters, a specially curated platform for the exhibition of large-scale installations, curated this year by Alexie Glass-Kantor, Executive Director of Artspace in Sydney. The showcase includes the work of Shooshie Sulaiman, Wang Keping, Cao Fei, Taeyoon Kim, Lee Ufan and Eko Nugroho, among others. Another exclusive program is Art Basel’s Film sector, curated by Liu Jianhua, which features a selection videos and films by international artists.
March 14 – 16 2015 (VIP Preview March 13)
Art Central is a new satellite art fair in Hong Kong, launching this year alongside Art Basel during Hong Kong Art Week. It takes place in a purposely-built structure at the Central Harbourfront on Victoria Harbour, a 10 minute walk from the HKECC. Founded by the co-founders of ART HK – which became Art Basel Hong Kong in 2013 – Art Central brings together 70 international galleries exhibiting established as well as younger and emerging artists. The Fair will feature two sections: Central, dedicated to established galleries from Asia and beyond exhibiting a diverse range of artists and curatorial themes; and Rise, featuring tightly curated solo or dual exhibitions by galleries established in the last five years, showing emerging artists and artists from emerging markets. Among the exhibitors are Galerie Du Monde, Opera Gallery, Contemporary by Angela Li, Richard Koh Fine Art, Ethan Cohen Fine Art, AP Contemporary, Art Statements, Yallay Gallery and Mur Nomade.
‘Ren Hang and Li Lang, My Mother \ My Father’, Blindspot Gallery
17 January – 25 February 2015
‘My Mum / My Father‘ is a joint exhibition of work by two Chinese contemporary photographers: Ren Hang’s “My Mum”and Li Lang’s “My Father”. Ren Hang (b. 1987) is a rising star in the Chinese contemporary art scene, whose provocative, personal work captures the essence of China’s subculture. Li Lang (b. 1969) has become one of the most influential documentary photographers from China. Ren portrays his mother in his uniquely colourful, playful and surrealistically tinged style, fictionalizing her persona, which becomes unrecognizable even to the artist. This process of distortion of reality enables Ren to objectify a deeply personal subject. Li on the other hand, captures his late father and his belongings in muted black-and-white, a subtly emotive celebration of his father’s life, provoking a deeply emotional response within the viewer. On his father’s portraits and photographs, Li Lang painstakingly handwrote the 30,219 individual dates of the days his father lived. Both series demonstrate the artists’ deep engagement with social and personal issues, and reflect the experimental aspects of their practices.
‘Hong Kong Bestiary’, Platform China
29 November 2014 – 28 February 2015
‘Hong Kong Bestiary’ is a group exhibition curated by French curator and art writer Caroline Ha Thuc and features the work of 10 young Hong Kong artists, including Lam Tung Pang, Carol Lee, MAP Office, Cedric Maridet, Angela Su, Yuk King Tan, Tang Kwok-hin, Kacey Wong, Adrian Wong, and Trevor Yeung. The exhibition explores the age-old relationship between humans and animal. The show showcases the way mankind ‘exploits’ the animal kingdom in consumerist terms, but also interprets human nature and society through animal imagery and behaviour. The artists subvert this relationship, by letting animals speak for themselves and restoring their natural essence, devoid of humanity’s intervention. Going beyond just mere representation, the artworks deal with ‘the manifestation and rise of an individuality among animals […] here claiming their own personality and cease to be seen as objects or abstract entities.’ The artists focus on their skills of expression, looking at their unique behaviour, and question how animals look at us and respond to us in their own language, trying to restore a long‐lasting but now extinct relationship.
‘Jiang Zhi: The Sight’, White Cube
February 4 – March 7 2015
Jiang Zhi works with photography, video, installation, painting, documentary film and text, and his practice reflects “on philosophical questions about what constitutes ‘reality’ or ‘truth’.” In his recent work, Jiang follows on his earlier focus on specific cultural and political topics, and addresses ideas of the temporality and materiality of objects, as well as the socio-political context in which the art is made and interpreted. “The Sight” refers to the act of seeing and the passage of time, hinting at the artist’s understanding of the illusory and mutable nature of the world around him. His works reveal the artist’s process of creation, which allows for an element of controlled chance to inform the final result. This can be seen in his photographs, which explore photography’s themes of temporality and visuality, as well as the mechanism by which images come into being. His videos record the passing of time and the transformations that take place within it. His silkscreen paintings emulate the processes of photography by combining images on the front and reverse using different techniques and media.
FUSE artist-in-residence: Chloe Cheuk “Every Every”, Videotage
February 13 – March 2 2015
‘Every Every’ is the result of Chloe Cheuk’s residency in Videotage’s FUSE Residency Programme, which invites artists, curators, researchers, engineers, bloggers, environmentalists and activists interested in the field of media art to submit proposals for creative and cutting-edge projects to facilitate the development of new media art. The exhibition comprises a series of video and kinetic installations that ‘extract and abstract the recurring pattern of our day-to-day existence.’ Cheuk’s vision of life is like a spiral, which goes round and round, and gives us the illusion of linear progress. The work on show draws upon Cheuk’s distress about the recent Occupy protests in Hong Kong, which saw a recurring pattern of ‘separation – union – confrontation’. By using objects that caught her attention at the protest sites, such as windows, kendamas and wheels, Cheuk translates this pattern into a visual and mechanistic language with the aid of electronic devices, video recording and editing. The process enables her to releases the empty and helpless feelings due to constant repression. Cheuk questions the fundamental meaning of an object and its mutability and implications for individuals and society.
‘Desiring the Real’, University Museum and Art Gallery
February 18 – March 22 2015
‘Desiring the Real’ is a group exhibition of Austrian contemporary art, featuring 22 artists who investigate the multitude of representations of ‘the real’ and the subjective perception of reality by individual onlookers. Through images and installations, individual views of everyday life and the environment stand as ‘portraits’ of the status quo at the moment of the images’ creation. At the core of the exhibition’s concept is the idea of the desire to imitate ‘the real’ in artworks, a traditional artistic search for truth and realistic representation. The exhibition explores how artists, through a variety of media, represent reality while engaging with the imaginary, the delusional and dreams. The show also demonstrates how, with the representation of the real, “the perception of the receiving persons and their individual paradigms are critical to the understanding of the real and judgment of reality.”
Mobile M+: ‘Moving Images’, Broadway Cinematheque, Midtown POP and Cattle Depot Artist Village
February 27 – April 26 2015
‘Moving Images’ is a multi-site project featuring a thematic screening programme, in addition to a two-part exhibition featuring the work of over 20 Hong Kong and international artists and filmmakers, ranging from single-channel videos to installations, animations and photography, and more. The exhibition also includes artworks from M+’s growing moving image collection. The project is inspired by the multiple connotations of the word ‘moving’ and the rise of diasporic cinema internationally, and takes as its starting point Hong Kong’s acclaimed ‘migratory cinema’ from the 80s and 90s – particularly Clara Law’s 1996 film Floating Life – “to consider how conditions of contemporary migration and displacement are expressed, imagined and represented through mediated images.” The screenings and exhibition address topics that are relevant for both Hong Kong and global realities, and reflect on the increasingly complex concept of ‘home’. The wide range of media used in the exhibited works visualize the transitional and transformative experiences of today’s ‘mobile societies’. The project also includes a series of talks, workshops and special guided tours.
‘Days push off into nights’, Spring Workshop
February 28 – April 26 2015
‘Days Push Off into Nights’ is a group exhibition curated by Christina Li, featuring the work of Moyra Davey, Elmgreen & Dragset, Cevdet Erek, Lee Kit, Job Koelewijn, Jewyo Rhii, and Magdalen Wong, among others. The artworks and performances constitute a series of situations that compose a common space of stillness. The artworks point to the ‘necessary recesses’ that often go unnoticed or are buried in our hurried lives and evoke that ‘suspended period of time’ in between writing, solitude and self-reflection. Together, they form a ‘collection of experiences’ – whether eventful or meditative – that mark the passing of time, which in turn unfolds in the exhibition space. The show invites audience to experience these contemplative moments in solitude or in shared company. Ultimately, the exhibition poses a simple, yet meaningful question that pushes us to reflect upon our daily lives and existence: ‘How do we produce meaning and expression within stationary moments and pockets of slowness?’
‘South by Southeast’, Osage Art Foundation and Gallery
March 8 – May 3 2015
‘South by Southeast’ is co-curated by Patrick Flores and Anca Verona Mihulet and organised with the support of Institutul Cultural Român and Lombard Freid. The exhibition aims to broaden the context of art relations between Southeast Asia and Southeastern Europe. The exhibition will examine the connection between these two regions and attempt to take the interaction between the two sites and their art worlds as the basis for discourse.