For normal people in Hong Kong, summer is the time for junk boats and leisure time with friends and family. Or maybe even going on vacation. For gallery hopping people, however, summer is also the time of seeing plenty of group exhibitions. Let’s be honest: some are just inventory shows, merely held together by a vague and obscure title, but some are energetic and experimental, provocative and intriguing.
Spinning East Asia Series II: A Net (Dis)entangled
Why: Strongly recommend joining a tour for this exhibition—it’s a big and complex show, so having someone guiding you through is very helpful. The history of East Asia history is intertwined and interwoven like a complex tapestry so there’s no possibility of telling a short and simple story. Lines and stories double, multiply, rhyme, and echo in a long history, making narratives entangle and disentangle right before your eyes. Personal and regional stories, stories of objects and cities, stories of trade and migration, love and death and everything after. It’s a textile exhibition in the broadest meaning of textile, where the narrative threads of identities and unique stories all continuously come together to create a fabric of history, all of which influence the present and hopefully the future, because history is constantly being woven.
When: 2 April – 7 August
Where: CHAT, The Mills, 45 Pak Tin Par Street, Tsuen Wan
Why: Compared to most LGBTQ+ exhibitions focused on pride and visibility, this group show is more subtle and nuanced, representing inner conflicts and complicated experiences. Some speak about exclusion of certain racial narratives from a community discussion, some sense the pressure of the unspoken rule to show only empowering sides of their experience, some don’t feel represented in a LGBTQ+ history, some are afraid that only a certain flavour of queerness is accepted; there’s even no agreement on whether the word queer itself is appropriate and right! The exhibition resembles a choir with a plethora of voices, soft and bold, quiet and loud, questioning and answering.
When: 16 June – 13 August
Where: Galerie du Monde, 108 Ruttonjee Centre, 11 Duddell Street, Central
Why: Referring to many themes—loss of face, hiding behind a mask, reading faces, masking—the exhibition invites you to witness a visual dialogue between Francis Bacon, Adrian Ghenie, Zeng Fanzhi, George Condo, and Yukimasa Ida. Can we distinguish a human face from a mask? Will wearing a socially accepted mask become a burden and erode the person hiding behind it? Are we ready to meet the real human being when all the masks are down? And are we able to tolerate ourselves as we are? Enter the recreated studio of Bacon in a once-again-transformed gallery and prepare to ask yourself some of these questions.
By appointment only.
When: 2 June – 30 November
Where: Villepin, 53 Hollywood Road, Central
Georg Baselitz: Sofabilder/Sofa Pictures
Why: Monochrome paintings, exploring the image of a laying figure. Repetition, typical of Baselitz paintings, works as a visual record of thorough consideration of equally a subject and a technique. Baselitz said in a number of interviews that he does not consider himself an artist, but a painter. The monoprinting technique used to create these paintings makes a very specific mark and look, reminiscent of x-ray, emphasised by the chosen colours. What I find personally interesting is that close-ups of the paintings look a lot like landscapes, evoking the famous Renaissance idea of landscape as a body and the more contemporary reverse idea of a body as a landscape. Are these bodyscapes intentional? Who knows. Baselitz is well known for using a lot of references to art history. Some can notice the laying pose referencing Picasso’s L’Aubade (The Serenade) which in turn is a reference to Titian’s Venus of Urbino, among numerous other classic paintings of a reclining female figure.
When: 24 May – 3 September
Where: White Cube, 50 Connaught Road Central, Central
Why: Is it gap, gasp, or grasp? Is it combination of them or all three at once? Each of the participating artists decided by themselves, whether they are filling a memory gap, making you gasp in surprise, or grasp the ideas behind the installations and artworks, so your answer will be as good as theirs.
Pro-tip and teaser: that sugar mountain is perfect for a cool time-lapse video.
Also, don’t miss an ongoing Artificial/State exhibition by Jeff Cheng Tsz Fung and Li Hiuwa on the rooftop, part of the Studio+Archive Project.
By appointment only.
When: 14 May – 14 August
Where: Para Site, 22/F, Wing Wah Industrial Building, 677 King’s Road, Quarry Bay
Why: In 1943 Peggy Guggenheim held the exhibition “31 Women”, which was something absolutely unique and groundbreaking at the time.
In 2016, the National Museum of Women in the Arts started a poignant and powerful social media campaign asking people to answer the simple question “Can you name five women artists?”. For those curious, you can check how it’s going by searching #5WomenArtists.
Why, in 2022, are we still talking about all-female artists exhibitions? Well, you can guess the answer—it’s still relevant. Yes, in a perfect world there should not be any difference and barely any importance inthe gender of an artist, but even if you and all of your fellow art-lovers can name five female artists easily, for most of the people it is not a trivial task.
When: 6 May – 31 July
Where: 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, 10 Chancery Lane, Central