Happy Lunar New Year! What? What else did you expect? That’s the most important event of the month after all! Plus, it’s Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day, Maslenitsa, and Februalia (also Lupercalia, if that’s your thing). Quite an intense schedule for just 28 days. But if you happen to have some free time—and fingers crossed, some relaxing of the restrictions—here are some exhibitions to visit. Some of them are a bit more difficult to understand than others, but fear not—they are all enchantedly beautiful, ravishingly alluring, and just pleasant to experience. Nothing scary, nothing exasperating or disturbing—we aren’t ready for such things yet.
Why: This is so beautiful that it took me some time to concentrate on the deep meaning that’s behind the luminosity and reflections, and see the glittering contrast between form and material, the victorious fragility and the hypertrophic elegance.
Despite their striking beauty, the artist’s works are always filled with hidden tensions and social references. Glass bricks remind us of the fragility of seemingly stable protective structures or the shallow nature of the walls that divide us; they are also a reference to the Stonewall riots that marked a watershed in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the US. Knot sculpture has mathematical and psychological roots while also being inspired by traditional Chinese knots. The glass beads are holding a reflection of each other, the cityscape, and visitors (if you come close enough) but also can be seen as a gigantic rosary or prayer beads, alluding to a theme of time and concentration.
When: 15 January – 26 February
Where: Perrotin, 807, K11 ATELIER, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Cerith Wyn Evans: ….)( of, a clearing
Why: A serene and almost haptic experience, very suitable for meditation or just clearing your mind from mundane thoughts. If you have any form of synesthesia you will probably enjoy it even more.
Must you know that neon works are made as a reference to Frank Stella’s “Black Paintings”? Not necessarily. Do you need to notice the relationships between the rhythm of light installations and the gallery ceilings? Probably not. The artist himself once said that he is interested in the texts that he really can’t fathom or understand, so I think it’s fair to try and comprehend his works to the degree you enjoy.
Listen to the sounds and noises, get lost between the neon lights and glass screens, catch the light reflections on the glossy varnish, and admire the intricate pattern of a shattered glass screen. Pure sensory delight!
When: 21 January – 12 March
Where: White Cube Hong Kong, 50 Connaught Road, Central
Why: A thematic celebration of local, regional and international craftsmanship, this time it’s all about wood.
Some of the works are examples of traditional crafts, some are the result of collaborations between old and modern artisans, sharing and amplifying experiences and ideas. Wood as a material is particularly cozy and grounding, but it also combines elegance and sturdiness, flexibility and resistance—qualities that are often contradictory.
An unexpected side effect of the exhibition—you may feel the immediate desire to start doing some woodwork.
When: 22 January – 21 May
Where: Crafts on Peel, 11 Peel Street, Central
Why: Mmm, the good old times when artists were able to paint a straight line without using masking tape! The simplest geometrical form, the layer of pure out-of-the-tube colour—but what a staged effect of chromatic interaction, and how masterfully this juxtaposition is changing perception of colour temperature and the volume of the pictorial plane!
Also, this is another exhibition that should be seen only in person (photos do not do the colours of the paintings justice, just take out your smart phone and try), after all Albers himself believed that colour is best studied via experience and observation, so who are we to argue?
When: 18 January – 5 March
Where: David Zwirner, 5–6/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central
Fatina Kong and Kwong Man Chun: Dear Me
Why: With a distinctly different approach to technique and materials, both artists are interested in the themes of capturing dreamy landscapes and scenes.
While Hong Kong landscapes by Fatina Kong look more like current observations that will eventually transform into memories, Kwong Man Chun is amalgamating real, distant and imaginary places, creating poetic nostalgia for what isn’t and has never been real. The haziness and uncertainty of the viewing point and time is another thing rhyming these works, transporting the viewer into the what could’ve happened dimension.
When: 13 January – 26 February
Where: Contemporary by Angela Li, G/F, 248 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
Annie Leibovitz. The Early Years, 1970 – 1983, Archive Project No. 1 and Wonderland
Why: I think almost everyone has some story or memory with Annie Leibovitz’s work, even if you never knew that it was a photo by her. I definitely have too many memories and personal thoughts, don’t think you need them, go get your own. Two floors of photographs, over 40 years of career—consider seeing it several times as a museum show.
When: 6 January – 12 February
Where: Hauser & Wirth, 15–16/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central
Why: It’s rather about the place itself than the exhibition per se. The story behind the building, the peculiar way of getting there, the things that were found at the space and the solo exhibitions to come. But even with a curatorial statement that is intentionally just thoughts on rendering, it’s definitely a place worth visiting with artworks worth seeing.
(Don’t miss the Study Room and the content of the bookshelves; also those mirror doors are perfect for confusing art photos and yes, art selfies, of course).
When: January – March
Where: PHD Group (contact the gallery for address and details)
You might also enjoy reading…
- How Annie Leibovitz Defined An Era In The Power Of A Single Photograph
- Looking Beyond Global Asias: Four Artists Shed New Light on World Issues and Historical Legacies at Asia Forum’s Digital Gathering