Germaine Kruip, 1.618 Rhombus, Brass (Thein n°3634) (detail), 2021, polished brass rhombus and beater, unique engraved Thein Brass code, 150 x 75 x 2 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and Axel Vervoordt Gallery.
Myonghi Kang, La maison de opticien 3, 2021, oil on canvas, 130 x 160 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and Villepin.
Installation view of Josh Sperling’s solo exhibition “Spectrum” at Perrotin Hong Kong, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.
All eyes may be on Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this week as the crown jewels of the city’s art scene—Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central—make their anticipated returns, but the action is not limited to within the art fair walls. A myriad of satellite events and thrilling art exhibitions await throughout all corners of Hong Kong, offering art lovers ample opportunities to engage and appreciate their favourite artists as well as discover new creatives and genres. Here’s a selection of showcases and exhibitions that needs to be on your radar this art week.
One of the most prominent contemporary artists currently working in the Indonesian art scene, Christine Ay Tjoe goes on a self-reflective journey through her new large-scale abstract compositions and first solo show in Hong Kong. In response to the changes the pandemic has on her life and how the limitation on movement has the potential to inspire new thoughts and action, Ay Tjoe has created massive expressive canvases that feature tumultuous shapes akin to organisms transforming and anatomical heart-like figures wrapped in tendrils as part of her quest to find growth, spirituality and positive energies.
Fredrik Tjærandsen enjoys challenging the boundaries and definitions between art and fashion. His most famous example being his garment designs made up entirely of bio-degradable natural rubber latex, which can be blown up in the arms or envelope the model’s entire body. In this multimedia exhibition, audiences are introduced to the Norwegian artist via the film Light In/Out, showing off his vibrant and eccentric rubber bubble dresses seen on catwalks, and a large collection of stunning cinematic-like images throughout the gallery space. Be sure to lookout for the large sculpture constructed of the same material as the dresses worn in the film, which is sustainably sourced from Sri Lanka.
Dutch artist Germaine Kruip has an endless fascination with the concepts of space, time and perception. For her first solo show in Hong Kong, Kruip has constructed a stage to conduct an immersive dialogue between light and sound by using traditional theatre lighting techniques, percussion instruments, and architectural designs. Viewers are invited to sit in a darkened room and look at monochrome landscapes created by light and shadows. Within this semi-vacuum a seven-and-a-half-minutes-long presentation can feel much longer than it is in reality, and allows the audience to form their own engagement with the art. Similarly, a duo of monumental rhombuses hangs in the next room where when struck with a beater, gives off various sounds depending on the interaction that echoes throughout the gallery.
This impressive group exhibition features a star-studded lineup with the likes of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Raymond Pettibon, Diana Thater, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Lisa Yuskavage
and Jason Rhoades to highlight the alternative approaches these artists used in their respective practices in the New York and Los Angeles art scenes during the 1990s and early 2000s. This show is a wonderful compilation of paintings, sculptures and large-scale installations but what ties it all together is their shared engagement to growing social issues that have previously been suppressed. Whether it is Yuskavage’s images of nude women to challenge traditional conventions or Tiravanija’s interest in conveying shared communal traditions—which sees his pad thai recipe cooked and served to visitors at the gallery—the exhibition is a great introduction to these creative rebels.
For over five decades, Myonghi Kang’s deep affection and curiosity of the natural world and its expansive landscapes can be felt throughout her comprehensive body of work. But her canvases are never simple replications of her natural subjects. Instead, Kang utilises a medium that blurs the lines between abstraction and figuration as a way to explore our relationship with nature and to guide viewers on a journey through cosmic space and colour. Soft, idyllic and packed with references to poetry and philosophy, Kang’s signature pastel paintings convery such peace and joy that it can almost be meditative.
Undeniably one of the most reputable photographers working today, South African visual artist Zanele Muholi has dedicated her career to capturing the beauty and complexities surrounding race, gender and sexuality. Following her past celebration of the lives of South Africa’s LGBTQ+ communities, Muholi’s series “Somnyama Ngonyama”, featuring photographs and paintings of self-portraiture, sees the artist look inwards and presents powerful images that encourage viewers to rethink race and sexual politics as well as the dichotomy of self and historical representation.
Not to be outdone by the art fairs Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central, the Hong Kong Museum of Art is launching a special presentation showcasing some of the greatest examples by Surrealist artists courtesy of Paris’ Centre Pompidou, home to one of the largest art collections in Europe. The exhibition guides viewers through the significant influences that have contributed to Surrealism since its conception in the 1920s focusing on its associations with mythologies. Artworks by Surrealist masters Giorgio de Chirico, Salvador Dalí, Francis Picabia, Joan Miró and more joins an impressive lineup displayed at this special exhibition.
Seemingly dissatisfied by the limitations set by traditional two-dimensional canvases, New York-based artist Josh Sperling’s experimentation with defying conventional definitions resulted in his minimalist sculptural paintings and signature forms: squiggles and double bubbles. Sperling’s body of works consists of stretching canvases over layered and structured plywood into the shape of wavy lines and circular shapes. Painted in saturated pop art colours and expertly shifting hues, the works are nothing short of playful with a dash of abstract fun thrown in. Sperling makes full use of the gallery space and forces viewers to move about frequently, never to stand still.