It would be a total lie to say that I am writing this text from a happy place with a peaceful state of mind. Nevertheless, life should go on no matter what. And even though I doubt that art is an answer to every problem in the world, if according to Charles Bukowski, “poetry is what happens when nothing else can”—then art should definitely continue happening.
Why: Greatly influenced by gym culture and personal experiences of physical training, this exhibition hasn’t got it too literally. There are no weights or benches, you won’t stumble over dumbbells, but the repetitive brushstrokes remind me of numerous sets of exercises. A mirror is a hint to vanity gym shots and the brilliant irony of cigarette butts in a trophy cup ash tray point to the small paradoxical rewards that some feel they deserve after a workout. The gym can connect you with your own body, can provide you strength and identity, but also sometimes can be a socially accepted way to transfer addiction, obsessive behaviour, or a way to justify one’s actions.
Don’t miss the eponymous self-portrait by Claude Cahun at the back alley’s “shrine”. I can’t think about an appropriate offering; expired gym membership cards maybe?
When: 18 February – 2 April Where: Flowers Gallery, 49 Tung Street, Sheung Wan
Why: That feeling when you weren’t expecting much from a group show but were pleasantly surprised. (By the way, unexpected rewards increase the activity of dopamine neurons, acting as positive feedback signals for the regions of the brain associated with the preceding behaviour, so please, dear galleries, do this more often).
Trompe-l’œil Greek busts, chainsaw totems, and sculpted ceramics. Everything is not exactly what it seems and the cultural dialogue between these fictional artefacts adds something impossible to put into words to this intersection.
When: 19 February – 19 March Where: Aishonanzuka, 1F, Chinachem Hollywood Center, 1–13 Hollywood Road, Central
Why: Tin cans and melted plastic, beer cartons and light boxes. Pointillistic images hidden on the bottom of bottles and cans, and the distorted reflection in the mirror. The practice of mixing traditional Tibetan images with pop culture icons rhymes with the usage of recycled and upcycled materials, which creates a peculiar and sceptical statement. Kesang Lamdark is not limiting himself to one culture or one stance—or to one technique, as you might have noticed—he rather prefers to construct complex contemporary visual language for expressing complex contemporary issues.
When: 26 February – 9 April Where: Rossi & Rossi, G/F, 195 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
Why: From dolos blocks to taped playgrounds, water reservoirs to the urban space—that’s so Hong Kong. Seeing such unmistakably recognisable local land and cityscapes, I can’t help but wonder how people outside of Hong Kong perceive them? Do they know that all of it is real?
I love the colours and the brushwork but can’t deny that I am also swooned by the scenes with the artist’s daughter. Look at them, aren’t they sweet? Yes, they are also sad. Just imagine growing up as a child seeing all the playgrounds being out of reach, so close but so inaccessibile.
When: 12 February – 12 March Where: Gallery Exit, 3/F, 25 Hing Wo Street, Tin Wan, Aberdeen
Why: Titled Self-Creation, this is the fourth and final chapter from Three Biographical Attempts (yes, third one is missing). I haven’t written about the previous chapters/parts because they were not easy to understand, but I absolutely cannot allow myself not to recommend this one to you. It’s ironic, sincere, vulnerable, diverse, poignant, angry—all things I love in art. Michael Müller creates a wild art mixture taking the themes of understanding and embracing oneself, construction of identity, perception of body image, censorship—and self-censorship, fluidity of gender, and the roles we are taking in society and relationships. The result is fluid and complex, leaving the viewer with an array of feeling and emotions—all things we love in art.
Please note that this exhibition is for guests above the age of 18.
When: 17 February – 2 April Where: Galerie du Monde, 108 Ruttonjee Centre, 11 Duddell Street, Central