Hong Kong’s art month is finally over *cue long happy pause*. Hope everyone survived through it and managed to keep their sanity. I had my tiny portion of staycation as well as stay-away-from-art-cation and now ready or not here I come with my monthly picks. Don’t worry, it won’t be a pushy “10 Exhibition That You Absolutely Must See”, it is something soft and subtle like “Please Consider Visiting These (Or Else)”.
Why: Have you ever pretended that you are absolutely not embarrassed and don’t feel awkward at all in the changing room of a public place like a gym or swimming pool? I mean, of course I haven’t as well, just asking for a friend of mine—you don’t know them. Blurring the lines of private and public, of being alone and on display, this installation and performance invites the public to think about the feeling of being forlorn in a changing room during a time of a pandemic. If you’ve missed The Lonesome Changing Room 1 at Art Central (or if you were just on the run during that time) here is a chance to see it without the hassle and crowds. Dress code for visiting is swimwear. Okay, I made that up, but imagine how pleasantly surprised gallery folks would be with this level of art response! (If you go in flippers—send me pictures).
Where: Contemporary by Angela Li, G/F, 248 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan When: 3 June – 26 June 2021
Why: Expressive and bold self-portraits by South African photographer and activist present a challenging exploration of characters and archetypes, belonging and alienation, objectivism and identity.
These photographs were made in different locations, often during travels, so the usage of place and object as attributes that are helping to tell and develop the story make them akin to site-specific performances. Personally, I was intrigued by the striking contrast between Zanele Muholi being a subject matter of a portrait and having full control over their self-representation, I guess it was achieved by their powerful gaze. I was told that most visitors to the exhibition strongly prefer one group of self-portraits over the other—either more simplistic or overly fashioned—so I feel there should be some psychological explanation, but since I liked them both, my chance of making some groundbreaking discovery seems rather thin.
Where: Pearl Lam Galleries, 6/F, Pedder Building, Central When: 18 May –15 August 2021
Why: “So different from her previous works!”—was the first reaction of everybody I talked to about this exhibition. Some people said these abstract shapes reminded them of human hearts, for me they look like crumpled landscapes or seeds caught in a beautiful moment before they sprout. Whatever they are, these new gestural paintings by the Indonesian artist remain expressive and sophisticated while bringing more light and hope.
Where: White Cube Gallery, 50 Connaught Road Central When: 18 May–28 August 2021
Why: Let me borrow this quote from the press release (side note: yes, I do read them, so if you are the people who are writing them keep in mind you do have an audience): “Our culture is replete with religious and symbolic images of women that are either subservient or sacrificial and that do not hold and reflect the multiplicities of women’s creative powers“, Juliet Miller, The Creative Feminine and her Discontents (2008). What I like in these new body of works is that Paulina Olowska hasn’t allowed herself to be trapped in representation of happy, almighty and powerful sheroes. Her characters are diverse—vulnerable, strong, fragile, cold, free, trapped, innocent, seductive—and that’s what makes them alive and present.
Where: Simon Lee, 3/F, Pedder Building, Central When: 19 May–19 June 2021
Why: A chance to see recent works and highlights of the artist’s oeuvre, including He Kills Me, one of his best-known works from 1987 criticising the government’s lack of action and even recognition of the AIDS crisis. Moffett often departs from traditionnel flat canvas by piercing, cutting and opening his works in intimate and thought-provoking ways. His most recent abstracted organic forms remind me of either some shiny futuristic anime shields or materialised elements of nature. Insider information: there is a yet-to-be-announced movie screening as a part of the exhibition, so stay tuned.
Where: Whitestone Gallery, 7-8/F, H Queen’s, Central When: 18 May–26 June 2021
Why: So, these final two exhibitions I would kindly suggest to see in one day (okay, who am I trying to fool here, I boldly recommend it). Why? Born in the same year, sharing friends within the Parisian art circle, shared interest for new visual language and to the dialogue between Eastern and Western aesthetic and philosophy, but with completely different educations and cultural backgrounds. I am far from operating concepts like yin-yang nevertheless you can apply them to Lalan’s and Mathieu’s styles. For both of them, the art practice was inextricably connected with performance, spontaneity, flow and movement. I feel like the order in which you will see these exhibitions is important—a bit like it is with reading Dictionary of the Khazars by Milorad Pavić —but you can see them for the first time only once, so the decision is yours.
Where: (Extended Figure) Asia Society Hong Kong Center; (Calligraphy Rhapsody) K11 Art & Cultural Centre, 6F, K11 MUSEA When: 27 April–24 October* 2021; 19 May–4 July 2021
*Exhibition period extended from its original 19 September date. Updated 31 August 2021.
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