In the past few years Hong Kong’s iconic Pedder Building has undergone a remarkable, and expensive transformation. Gone are the vintage designer wear and cheap cashmere shops and in their place are the smooth gleaming floors and glass windows of high-end established commercial galleries, a cigar divan and an enoteca. And of course, Abercrombie and Fitch, who for HKD$7 million rent a month seems to have also secured air rights enabling it to spritz the entire block with their scent of testosterone-fuelled adolescence.
Ben Brown Gallery was the first to set up in the building in 2009, and since then there has been a steady influx of international galleries opening up, ending recently with Lehmann Maupin who celebrated their opening a couple of weeks ago. The building has become a convenient centrally located art destination, enabling art lovers to hop from one exhibition to another, up and down the staircase, followed by a nice glass of wine to reward one’s efforts. This month sees a stellar line up of exhibitions in the Pedder Building.
Lehmann Maupin – Lee Bul
In a cool Rem Koolhaas-designed space, which is at once reminiscent of New York’s Lower East Side industrial spaces and also demonstrates an understanding of and sensitivity to the building’s history, Lehmann Maupin have recently opened their Hong Kong gallery with a solo exhibition by Korean artist Lee Bul. For this inaugural show Bul has created several dynamic futuristic installations as well as drawings which work in perfect harmony with the gallery’s architectural character — so much so, that one seems created deliberately for the other. The three sculptures engage with metaphysical and poetic concepts of architectural environments and draw on utopian thoughts found in art and literature.
Until 11th May
Pearl Lam Gallery – Jason Martin
A lot of YBA exhibitions have been cropping up at Hong Kong galleries in recent years, who have been bringing out their big brands in an effort to woo a city already in thrall to anything branded.
The latest YBA to exhibit in HK is Jason Martin with his exhibition ‘Sacred Masters, Sacred Monsters: Denizens of the Demonic Demagogue’. Somewhat lesser known than his peers Martin takes his queue from minimalism and abstract expressionism, with works so highly textured they are three dimensional and begging to be touched. Walking into the clean white space, his signature monochromatic, vivid, highly pigmented and impastoed works are hung as a colourful symphony, calling to mind the geometric synaesthesic compositions of Kazimir Malevich.
Until 10th April
Hanart TZ – Wang Dongling
Stepping into Hanart TZ‘s larger new space, Wang Dongling’s solo exhibition ‘Brushing the Tides’ is a sight to behold. One of the most renowned modern calligraphers, Wang’s monumental calligraphic black ink paintings inspire a state of contemplative wonder. Bringing together Chinese tradition and modern abstraction in a beautifully curated exhibition, the show is a tribute to Hong Kong and it includes famous local writings such as ‘Under the Lion Rock’ and ‘Woman Flower’.
Until 3rd April
Ben Brown Gallery – Alexander Calder
This beautiful exhibition includes examples of Alexander Calder‘s seminal ‘mobile’ and ‘stabile’ sculptures as well as vibrant works on paper. The first in-depth examination of his work in Hong Kong, this show will provide insight into the ingenious and highly innovative working methods of Calder throughout the twentieth century.
Until 3rd April
Gagosian – Popstraction
Gagosian‘s Spring group show consists of the works of 11 contemporary artists including John Chamberlain, Dan Colen, Richard Prince, Andy Warhol and Piotr Uklanski. The exhibition features Colen’s playful ‘Trash’, an installation of lo-fi ephemera assembled on a wall, and a series of Uklanski’s hypnotic graphic pencil-shaving mosaic-like works.
Until 4th May
Simon Lee Gallery – Larry Clark
Following on from the recent exhibition of Joao Peñalva, Simon Lee Gallery will present a solo show by Larry Clark. Yes, that Larry Clark, the one who possibly traumatised you as a teen with his harrowing film ‘Kids’. Widely known for his exploration of teenage sexuality, violence and drug use, Clark’s gritty photographs are as equally unsettling and unforgettable as his films. For his first Hong Kong exhibition, Simon Lee Gallery will showcase a collection of black and white photographs from both ‘Tulsa’ and ‘Teenage Lust’ (1963 – 1983).
From 12 April until 16 May