Hong Kong's new contemporary art scene

Posted on May 10, 2013 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

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Top left: Hong Kong eye exhibition at Artistree; top right: Object Oriented Objects by Justin Wong; Main: Down The Rabbit Hole, "TAXI" says Alice by Amy Cheung Wan Man; Bottom left: Counterpoints & Map by Joao Vasco Paiva; Bottom right: In Search Of Primordial Idiolect IV by Adrian Wong Ho Yin


Although Hong Kong has always had an art scene, it was hardly exciting nor happening until a few years ago. Once described as a 'cultural desert', Hong Kong's art scene was inaccessible to the general public and local artists were regarded dreamers who were out of touch with the 'real' world! How things have changed in such a short time!

Now art in Hong Kong means big bucks, and even international art galleries and organisations like Art Basel ( which will take charge of the Hong Kong Art Fair for the first time this year), Affordable Art Fair, White Cube and Gagosian are joining the club. But will all these change the way the locals view art and have an impact on the younger generation who want to pursue art as their future career?


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Top left: Looking for poetry in Wanchai by Annie Wan Lai Kuen; Middle: Upon the esculator by Silas Fong; Top right: Landscape GPS by Kui Ting Leung; Bottom left: Clay work by Evelyna Yee Woo Kan; Bottom right: A Halo Of Counting Down by Otto Lin Tun Lun


I attended the Hong Kong Art Fair last year ( see my earlier post here) and took part in the Hong Kong ArtWalk this year. Within a year, new galleries are springing up not only in Central, Sheung Wan, but also in the unlikely industrial areas such as Chai Wan, Aberdeen and even Kwun Tong. However, most of the artists represented/ exhibited seem to be from other parts of Asia ( esp. from China and Korea), local names are still few and far between.


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Top left: Ho Sin-tung's Map: Discreet charm of the Proletartian; Middle: Paper globe of Hong Kong by Sheung Chi Kwan; Top right: Extend 3 by Kum Chi-Keung; Bottom left: Five Tallest Buildings in Hong Kong' by Wilson Shieh


I was pretty clueless about the local contemporary art scene until I saw the Hong Kong eye exhibition on Hong Kong contemporary art currently showing at ArtisTree. And I was quite pleasantly surprised by what I saw especially since I had no expectation beforehand. Founded by Parallel Media Group chairman David Ciclitira and his wife Serenella, Hong Kong eye debuted at the Saatchi Gallery in December ( which I missed), so it was good to catch up on what is going on locally.

Previously, a lack of identity ( and voice) was a major issue that occurred across Hong Kong's art, design and even music scenes. Perhaps it was partly due to its prosperous and stable economy ( usually the most creative work appears during the most unstable and turbulent times), so it is no surprise that finally more interesting work is surfacing during this unsettling period in Hong Kong.



Hong Kong ArtWalk 2013


My favourite at the show is work by Sin Tung Ho, her detailed illustrative maps of Hong Kong esp. "Hills won't heal" carry a nostalgic factor with interesting narratives and strong messages behind them. Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based Portuguese artist, João Vasco Paiva's video and installation work is also interesting because of his unique identity, which allows him to have a different perspective of Hong Kong.

Earlier at the Hong Kong ArtWalk, I also came across Annysa Ng, a local artist who was trained in Hong Kong, New York and Germany. Her new series of work Celestial Revolution is graphical, bold and unique, which gives a new take on the term 'East meets West'.


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Top left: Spring gallery in Aberdeen; Top right: Anusapati at Sin Sin Gallery; Main & bottom left: Wim Delvoye at Galerie Perrotin; Bottom right: Damien Hirst at White Cube


Overall, it is encouraging to see new changes and growing attention on the Hong Kong art scene, but it will still take time for the general public to 'embrace' art and not see it as something that can only be enjoyed by the privilege. The Andy Warhol exhibition, giant rubber duck and the outdoor sculptures at Mobile M+ Inflation! are helping to break the barrier, so I look forward to seeing a wider variety of art work being shown in the future.


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Top left: Yayoi Kusama at Opera Gallery; Top middle & right: Takashi Murakami at Gagosian gallery; Bottom left & right: Andy Warhol 15 minutes eternal exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of Art


Hong Kong Eye: Hong Kong at ArtisTree will end on 31st May.


This post was posted in Hong Kong, Exhibitions, Travel, Art, Chinese art and was tagged with Hong Kong, art and design exhibitions