This last week has been crazy busy with art events and exhibition openings following one after the other.
A host of international artists were in town for their solo exhibition openings, including Bernard Frize, Vik Muniz, Aya Takano and Bharti Kher. French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel also made an appearance for a private project in Hong Kong, relaying the great news that he’ll be the next artist exhibiting several sculptures at the Chateau de Versailles, with the works going into Versailles’ permanent private collection.
If you’re in dire need of respite from Christmukkah shopping and holiday plans, pop into a gallery for some calm and inspiration, and in some cases a bit of humour too. Here’s the rundown of some of my favourite art exhibitions in Hong Kong at the moment.
Adrian Wong at Saamlung Gallery
Expect the unexpected from Hong Kong artist Adrian Wong. Last time I bumped into him he was preparing his dwarf rabbit Michael for live performance art across a fruit puree strewn canvas at the Para/Site art auction. His current exhibition at Saamlung gallery, ‘Rodentia in Absentia’, was created in collaboration with a host of his furry friends who chewed, scratched, and molested a set of objects in the exhibition. Hanging alongside these installations are also works made by collected materials common to the Hong Kong street from a period spanning half a century, including tiles, upholstery, vinyl flooring, door gates, and other decorative materials. These are shaped into canvases and sculptures that tell a series of layered stories beginning with urban history and ending with pet psychology.
Adrian Wong: ‘Rodentia In Absentia’
23 November – 29 December 2012
6B Two Chinachem Plaza
68 Connaught Rd. C.
Central, Hong Kong
Vik Muniz at Ben Brown Gallery
At Ben Brown gallery, Brazilian artist Vik Muniz unveiled 12 new works for his first ever Hong Kong solo exhibition, ‘Pictures of Magazines 2’.
Often working in a series he’s renowned for incorporating unconventional materials into his work ranging from the ephemeral like soil, sugar, cotton, wine, and peanut butter, to diamonds and scrap metal. For this exhibition Muniz created collages out of torn-out magazine images reassembled into copies of familiar art masterpieces, which were then photographed and blown up to create the final work.
Muniz’s work plays with tension, between abstraction and representation, the familiar and unrecognizable, technology and craft, originality and reproduction. There is something undeniably seductive about the surface and materiality of the pieces which encourage the viewer to take a closer look, and get lost in the layers of signifiers and visual jokes.
Vik Muniz: ‘Pictures Of Magazines 2’
21 November 2012 – 8 February 2013
Ben Brown Fine Arts
301 Pedder Building
12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong
Bernard Frize at Simon Lee Gallery
At Simon Lee Gallery, the highly respected French abstract artist Bernard Frize presents four large kaleidoscpic works on canvas from his ‘Fat Paintings’ series. Wide ribbons of bright colour snake their way across the gallery walls in a hypnotic display which references organic forms and fractals and seems to be guided by an unheard musical rhythm.
The brush doesn’t leave the canvas once, requiring a remarkable level of coordination and choreography to create each painting. For this exhibition Frize has moved away from his traditional acrylic on canvas for the first time in years, to rework his iconic motifs. In an interview for the upcoming issue of Tatler he explains that, “The oil gives the possibility of an illusion of three-dimensionality to each of the bands of colour, hence the title ‘Fat Paintings’ … To the optical effect of the combinations of colour across the bands is added the spatial effect of depth, the illusion of the differential reflection of light.” Look out for the full interview coming soon.
Bernard Frize: ‘Fat Paintings’
24 November 2012 – 15 January 2013
Simon Lee Gallery
304 Pedder Building
12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong
Elad Lassry at White Cube
White Cube is showing Israeli-born LA-based artist Elad Lassry’s work for the first time in Hong Kong. The two floors are dotted with Lassry’s small scale photographs and sculptures, spaced out in such a way that the gallery itself becomes as much a part of the exhibition as the works.
White Cube Hong Kong director Graham Steele, who took us through the space, remarks that, “The show is about imagery, how we see images and how to make a lasting image”. Doubling and mirroring is a constant preoccupation in Lassry’s work and he enjoys playing with the constuction of identity and image making. I’m sure there’s some sort of Lacanian reference here.
Information unfolds over time in a display that is pop kitsch in its imagery and domestic in its intimate size. ‘Man (Maid)’ an installation of black and white film stills hung behind a display of sculptures perched atop a constructed wall was my favourite. It creates a range of perspectives based on where one stands in the room, and cleverly plays with the rhythm and pacing of how one looks at the works.
23 November 2012 – 9 February 2013
G/F, 50 Connaught Rd
Central, Hong Kong
Bharti Kher and Aya Takano at Galerie Perrotin
Galerie Perrotin had both Japanese artist Aya Takano and Delhi-based artist Bharti Kher in town for their exhibitions at the gallery. Kher’s ‘Many, (too) many, more than before’ exhibition presents a series of her iconic bindi paintings as well as several sari sculptures that just beg to be touched. Knotted and glazed with resin, the saris sit atop concrete pedestals as both portraits of an absent person, and as ‘female totems’. The show evokes sensuality and femininity and questions the role of tradition in the construction of female identity.
Aya Takano’s ‘Heaven Is Inside Of You’ is a new series of drawings and paintings of her trademark child-women floating between a world of fantasy, nature and the urban landcape, fusing the mythical and the real. Most of the drawings depict the alter-ego of the artist exploring different landscapes in every continent dressed in traditional costumes. The paintings however are a response to the earthquake that struck Japan earlier last year, conveying a longing to go back to more traditional values and embracing and learning from “the ancient movements of life that existed long before nuclear power, in the form of traditional martial arts, dance, and music. Unknown to me until now, and yet a part of what originally defined the Japanese people … ” she states.
Bharti Kher: ‘Many, (too) many, more than before’
Aya Takano: ‘Heaven Is Inside Of You’
22 November – 29 December 2012
17/F, 50 Connaught Rd
Central, Hong Kong
Cedric Maridet at 2P Gallery
Check out independent Hong Kong gallery 2P’s latest exhibition by Hong Kong artist Cedric Maridet, up for another week until 5 December. Pui Pui To, the founder and director of 2P gallery took me through a quiet evening viewing of the exhibition last week, which featured what looked like a tree on life-support suspended from the gallery’s ceiling, but also included works on paper, video, installations and sound compositions. ‘Distinct Factures. A Return From Langsdorff’ turns the gallery space into something of a hybrid between a work space and a wunderkammer. Recently returned from residencies in the rainforest in Brazil and in Penang’s National Park, Maridet takes The Langsdorff Expedition (1826-1829) led by Baron von Langsdorff in Brazilian Amazon as inspiration to create the scientific and methodical context of the assortment of works in this exhibition.
Cedric Mardiet: ‘Distinct Factures. A Return From Langsdorff’
18 October – 05 December 2012
2P Contemporary Art Gallery
G/F, 23 Po Tuck Street
Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong |