Usually September has this distinctive “back-to-school/work” flavour, but boy this summer was busy and suddenly here we are! No complaints though (mostly) since we were granted good exhibitions and weren’t punished with a huge amount of barely-holding-themselves-together inventory showcases during the blazing summer months. Much like the words of Jerry Saltz, “Art criticism never sleeps”, the art world never stops. There will be plenty of openings this autumn as the weather cools so here are some shows to see before taking the full dive.
Why: Isn’t it funny that in the absence of a modern art museum we are using gallery exhibitions and auction house previews to have a chance to see Modern Art? Yes, they may not be all famous masterpieces you know from books but when were you ever allowed to be that close to a Cézanne or Pissarro? Try doing it in a museum. Ha!
The exhibition is small but it’s such a treat to see these works in real life and in the quiet setting of a gallery (I just hope it won’t get as crowded as “Eternal Seasons” did this spring when people were standing in line for a chance to see it).
Where: Lévy Gorvy, St. George’s Building, G/F, 2 Ice House Street, Central When: 26 August – 30 September
Why: It’s a true miracle to stay so clean, graphical, and clear for works that are based on reconstructing from the deconstructed, reshaping and changing, recreating and creating—all togwards a new dimensionality. The exhibition definitely evokes some Escher-like feeling and it’s easy to imagine that you are inside a peculiar architectural herbarium. My only complaint is the opening hours of a gallery: you can trot in see the show on Friday and Saturday, but for the rest of the week you have to book an appointment.
Where: TANG Art Foundation, 7/F, M Place, 54 Wong Chuk Hang Road When: 7 August – 25 September
Why: Oh. That’s a tough question. To be extremely frank I wasn’t planning to add this exhibition at all—it’s a last minute change of mind. It’s not purely an art exhibition, at the same time it’s not only about statistics and urban development. It is more of a research-based collaborative project with people from the neighbourhood, people from local communities, people who are not just occupying spaces but are caring for them, using them, interacting with the city in their personal ways, adding layers of stories and folklore. To observe and document, the team of researchers have adopted the method of Modernologio and the results of sketching, systematical observations are amalgamated into a heartwarming, kind and generous showcase.
Where: Duplex Studio, Block 01, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central When: 30 July – 3 October
Why: The product of the fifth annual de Sarthe Artist Residency program with Chen Pin Tao is a surreal and psychedelic labyrinth filled with unrelated—or at least unobviously related—objects and readymade sculptures. Each of the figures exists in its own semantic space, nevertheless creating a ripple effect and layers of meaning, overlapping and merging with each other. I am not a specialist in angelology—yes, it’s a real word—and the angelic hierarchy aka Angelic Choirs but the central figures look to me like Virtues from the Second Sphere. The work was pretty much in the making when I saw it so I am intrigued and excited to see the final result.
Where: de Sarthe Gallery, 20/F, Global Trade Square, No. 21 Wong Chuk Hang Road When: 13 July – 17 September
Why: I feel it should be done as a movie trailer might.
*in a special advertising voice*
From the creator of 50 cent-oversized-1kg cardboard coins (50 cents is the price those old ladies you are seeing around with trolleys filled with flattened boxes will get for 1kg of cardboard) and a mastermind behind small papier-mâché signature Good Morning towels hanging here and there on the streets comes the new exhibition!
*dramatic sound effects*
Featuring! The Chicken Net! And! The Secret Surprise Room!
Prepare yourself for the unknown and unexpected, for the new and the old, for the real and the imaginary, and for an attempt to catch g.o.h.u.n.g and tell him that you like the exhibition. (That isn’t an easy task, believe me; I’m speaking from experience).
Where: Square Street Gallery, 21 Square Street, Central When: 1 September – 10 October
Why: A never-standing-still project, a place that is transformed and (hopefully) transforming, this is an exhibition meant to be re-visited and re-discovered. Experience metaphoric minimalism by Félix González-Torres and glowing luminosity by Claudia Fernández, witness the differences in the scale of works by Celeste Burlina and Ricky Jay. Feel, smell, listen, watch, touch, move. Be prepared but don’t expect anything. Try to follow the performances schedule but don’t read into the details of them, trust me—you want to be confused.
(But whatever you do don’t even try to read the booklet; whoever designed it wasn’t trying to make it readable, almost as if someone was deliberately trying to confuse the reader…oh wait…maybe they were indeed.)
Where: JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central When: 5 May – 5 December
Why: Enter the quiet sanctuary right in the middle of the busy Hollywood Road and discover gentle works that are “painted with elements”, that comfortably exist on the border between figuration and abstraction, and are filled with light, air, and gentle colours. The whole gallery is transformed into an atmospheric meditative space to allow Myonghi Kang’s paintings to truly shine. It takes a lot of time for the artist to observe the surroundings and then transfer her impression of the moment and the right feeling on the canvas, so don’t rush, spend some time with the paintings. Immerse yourself in the scene and let yourself be lost for a bit. Although it opened in May, the exhibition is such a tranquil experience it is worth reminding you there’s still time to go back (or see it if you missed it).
(Just one small detail. Same complaint here: it’s by appointment only)
Where: Villepin 53-55 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong When: 17 May – 17 October