August? How did we get to August? [Insert your favourite cliché about time slipping away here]. Don’t worry, I won’t write a long philosophical pondering on the passage and concept of time, let’s leave that for a rainy day conversation. Here’s my monthly selection of heatwave-friendly art exhibitions with a guaranteed cooling effect (did I just make that up? Yes. Yes, I did). Go and check them all, of course, if you manage to squeeze in a culture fix between work, beach days, and junk trips (yes, I see all of your stories).
Why: I’m not a huge fan of the dreaded word “traditional”, nevertheless I have the biggest and softest spot for traditional ink art with modern and contemporary twists and undertones. 20Hz – 20KHz is a human’s hearing range, so we are talking about a beautiful visual representation of multilayered sounds. And as instruments are merging, resonating and overlapping to create a music piece, so do layers of brushstrokes, spills, and ink stains. The exhibition is accompanied by a playlist, so feel free to enrich your experience with some tunes.
Where: Galerie du Monde,108 Ruttonjee Centre,11 Duddell Street, Central When: 23 July–28 August
Why: Certainly a “we’re not in Kansas anymore” feeling for me. When I think Sam Gilliam I immediately remember his stained and suspended canvases and multicoloured flowy, tie-dye acrylic, and watercolour paintings. These are different. Heavily textured with an addition of sawdust, aluminium granules, tin shot and grit, the artworks are much more reserved in terms of colour—at least from a distance—but still recognisably draped. They remind me of aerial views of some fantastic landscapes or extraterrestrial Zen gardens (given the fact that some of them have rake-like scratches, gardens are very much a legit association). Quoting the artist himself: “Every work of art has a moment, has a time, but there is nothing like art. I mean, there’s nothing like art”. Guess it is the moment now.
Where: Pace, 12/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road, Central When: 22 July–2 September
Why: That gloss, those lines, and that play of light and texture. The unapologetic colour, and the ultimate dedication to material. As you might have guessed Lee Bae is one of my favourite artists, and even though I feel it is an art crime that I am not dedicating more words to write about this exhibition, I am tempted to pull the “because-I-told-you-so” card here. If you love him as much as I do—which would be a lie, of course—go and see the show. If you have never seen his works—go and see the show. If you don’t like Lee Bae—write me an email on that, I really want to know what’s in your head you curious creature.
Where: Perrotin, 807, K11 ATELIER, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui When: 7 August–11 September
Why: “Residual Heat” is divided into three room-chapters and I feel that “Ze/Ro” could be seen as the more gender-specific continuation of this idea. Speaking about emotional response to social and personal events, passing the ‘heat’ of feelings and thoughts both exhibitions are thought provoking, poignant, and expressive.
“Residual Heat” is curated by Chris Wan Feng and features works by Kurt Chan, Jaffa Lam, Ocean Leung, Ivy Ma, Shawn Tang, Morgan Wong, and Wu Jiaru.
“Ze/Ro” is curated by Shirky Chan and showing works by Au Hoi Lam, Chan Ka Kiu, Christy Chow, Jaffa Lam, and Jess Lau.
Both exhibitions are part of Hong Kong Art Gallery Association’s (HKAGA) Summer Programme and are highly recommended to be seen in one day.
Where: Axel Vervoordt Gallery, 21/F, Coda Design Building, Wong Chuk Hang When: 17 July 17–28 August
Where: Ben Brown Fine Arts, 2/F, The Factory, 1 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang When: 13 July–26 August
Why: I just realised in the process of writing this selection that this is the third exhibition with texture as a main focus. This time it is a lush foamy one, making meta-text paintings look a bit like ice cream cakes. Marlon Mullen has autistic spectrum disorder and aphasia, which is worth mentioning in this case because the paintings are main parts of the communication paths of perception and expression. Look closely and you may see layers of stripes, letters and images, sunken and overpainted remnants of spoken words and shared thoughts. (But can we also talk about how difficult it is to stop yourself from touching surfaces of artworks? Can I receive hardship pay of some sort? My will power isn’t unlimited!)
Where: Massimo de Carlo, 3/F, Pedder Building, Central When: 15 July– 31 August
Why Here’s a little bonus track; but why you ask? Well, at the time of writing the project is still an art residency and open studio for artists Cheng Hung, Jeremy Fung, Lau Hiu Tung, and Wong Sze Chit, but the first week of August will be for exhibiting the fruits of their labour. Will it be worth seeing? I am pretty sure it will be. The works were made in response to the site and the environment, and have you seen the buildings and neighbourhood? Charming 1930s tong lau (shophouse) located in the Tai Hang—how can you make bad art working there for a month?
So, now that I have totally overhyped it, let’s all go and see the exhibition. Well, until that time… ta da!
Where: The Shophouse, 4 Second Lane, Tai Hang When: 2 August–8 August