Summertime here is either rain boot weather or unbearably hot and humid. Both are, of course, typical of the Hong Kong summer though, so no surprises there. Exhibition periods tend to be longer; we, as visitors, also tend to be lazier, preferring to spend our free time at the beach than in a gallery. Nonetheless, here is my July art selection—I won’t judge you if you don’t go (that’s a lie, I absolutely will).
Why: The perfect exhibition to feel nostalgia for the times you’ve never experienced! Showcasing black-and-white photographs of Hong Kong in the ’50s and ’60s, although most locations are barely recognisable proving my hypothesis that Hong Kong’s unofficial motto is “forever under construction” (I am still curious how it would sound in Latin). The title refers to the much-needed practice in photography of patiently waiting for the right moment so the result will look deceivingly spontaneous and effortlessly perfect.
Where: f22 foto space, Shops BW11 & 13, The Peninsula Arcade, Salisbury Road, Kowloon When: 10 April–31 August
Why: My friend who recently moved from New York to Hong Kong was quite surprised that Hong Kong has a specialised ink art fair, so I think we are an Ink City indeed. Traditional and contemporary, fine art and street graffiti, classical and experimental, figurative and abstract, serious and silly—we have it all. Presenting works by numerous artists spanning over 50 years of experimentation with technique and developing visual language and self-expression, the exhibition provides enough material to appreciate the development of ink art in our ink city.
Where: JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, Central When: 23 April–1 August
Why: Yet another take on nostalgia, this time cuter and less historical. Takano’s signature characters are hanging around Hong Kong streets, enjoying dim sum, riding the tram, participating in a lion dance, choosing a gold fish, and jumping in a waterfall, among many other outings. And yes, the location of Jumbo Floating Restaurant may be not quite accurate and those lanterns aren’t particularly traditional but if you see these works as a fantasy or a childhood memory then accuracy is not that mandatory, right?
Where: Perrotin, 807, K11 ATELIER Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui When: 26 June–24 July
Why: Oh, to fully enjoy this exhibition I sincerely recommend you read the press release. Packed with lush phrases like “expansive vocabulary”, “authorial gesture”, “multicoloured linear vertices”, and “visual and textural disruptions” it is a good old classical example of gallery vocabulary. There’s even the word “mercurial” in the first paragraph! Am I jealous? You bet! But the paintings themselves are solid dynamic abstractions and are quite peculiar, especially for those who used a palette knife in their artistic practice.
Where: Gagosian, 7/F Pedder Building, Central When: 18 May–1 August
Why: You didn’t think I’ve finished with the summer theme, did you? Water splashes, tropical flowers in bloom, animal print on everything, and good vibes all over the place. It’s both energetic and soothing, sincere and ironic, reminding you of motivational posters and naïve paintings by Henri Rousseau. If you fell in love with something from the exhibition you can’t afford, fear not—the artist has collaborated with IZZUE to release some limited-edition clothing and accessories.
Where: Lévy Gorvy, G/F, 2 Ice House Street Central When: 23 June 23–14 August
Why: This time I am breaking the rules of using my own photos and writing about exhibitions that I have already personally seen. But I visit the Hong Kong Art School and RMIT School of Art graduation show every year and am pretty confident this year’s edition won’t disappoint me. Painting, photography and ceramic works from 35 graduates will be presented and I am very excited (traditionally from HKAS/RMIT exhibitions I tend to like ceramic works the most, let’s see if this year will be different).
When: 10 July–26 July Where: 4/F–5/F Pao Galleries, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Wan Chai