Last month, Ning Lau, founder of digital style platform, Who-Are-Invited, was able to get together a group of unique and cool individuals in the city to discuss each of their interests in art for an online editorial titled, Discovering Art.
Who-Are-Invited was established by Ning a year ago for the purpose of bringing together “creative talents from all walks of life”, representing the diversity of Hong Kong and China’s vibrant digital community through stories and editorial content. Using this platform, Ning is able to introduce a group of “interesting and exciting individuals” each week including “journalists, fashion designers, bloggers, artists, musicians, and readers/followers”, all showcasing their personalities and work via a series of “strong and impactful fashion visuals”.
Ning reached out to me before to discuss appearing in one of her other projects within the Who-Are-Invited platform, but due to scheduling conflicts and tight deadlines, we were never allowed the opportunity to align. This time around Ning proposed an interview at The Cat Street Gallery, basically an institution on Hollywood Road, whilst a show by Gina Jones, titled Southern Brights, was on display.
I really like the work of New Zealand based Jones, who actually trained and practices as an Architect, but now uses what she knows in relation to composition, material, and form making, to introduce new kinds of works that are focused on pop-color and formal play on a 2D plane.
The shoot included a dear friend, former Vogue China’s Editor and Stylist, Grace Lam, who believes every kind of Art, whether it be fashion, painting, or music, can have elements which can bring happiness to others, which is the most important thing. She herself appreciates Modern abstract art the most, especially if the work references fashion, like the art of British practitioner, Martin Gaye “Spartacus” Chetwynd.
Also in the shoot is Creative director, Kenji Wong, founder of Growth Ring, who works on all creative aspects from fashion to interior design in relation to his customer’s needs. On weekdays he explores different galleries in the city to find some inspiration for his work. Although technically not an artist, Kenji is inspired by the way Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, plays with light and space.
I discussed my thoughts on how and what I look at when I view and assess art, as well as my forever obsession with the works of Richard Diebenkorn and Mark Rothko, who pretty much inspired my earlier architectural representational sketches.
Hong Kong Tatler’s fashion editor, Justine Lee, was also part of the shoot. While Shoes and accessories for the shoot were provided by Hogan Shoes from their Spring-Summer 2014 collection. Photography for the campaign was taken by the ever cool, Calvin Sit.
Thanks Ning for the “invite”!
TOP, Ease (2012). MIDDLE, Murmur (2014) ABOVE, Antony Gormley with his self-portrait, Form (2013).
In the month prior to Art Basel, the Hong Kong branch of White Cube is playing host to a new show by the world-renown sculptor, Sir Antony Gormley, titled States and Conditions, Hong Kong. Usually Art Basel month is a great way to present the heavy hitter artists, however the choice to exhibit a Gormley show prior to the annual art fair may have something to do with A) the gallery wanting an introspective Gormley show to shine bright above the hustle and bustle of fair traffic and/or B) a Gormley show is just plain difficult to literally sell an Art Basel crowd.
The “difficulty” is partly due to the site specificity of the Gormley show. That said, it’s a very good exhibition and one that needs to be seen before May 3rd. If you miss it, you’ll be missing out on an opportunity of a moment. Based on Gormley’s own project drawings available via the exhibition’s catalogue, the works created for White Cube Hong Kong are meant to be experienced at that site. Taking one piece away from this context would be like breaking up a family. According to the artist at his talk, the “sequence of architectural volumes (of the gallery space, is) an opportunity to create a connected narrative.”
And all parts of the show are connected. Every work is a qualifier of the previous work, according to Gormley, and what is presented here is thought forming, process, and various manipulation of volume, emphasizing that the interconnected acts is a full spectrum of creation (with every chapter readily available for sale, of course).
In his talk at the gallery two weeks ago, Gormley states that White Cube Hong Kong is a “privatized gallery”, a prime example of the “architecture of capitalism”. However he takes this opportunity to present new works as an act of subversion.
White Cube Hong Kong has only been operating for about three years, yet no one has proposed work, quite like Gormley, which speaks directly to the gallery as a manifested product of its physical site and as an art market destination in Hong Kong.
Small Prop 111 (2013)
It’s within these found conditions, all defined literally by a logical series of White Cube-like rooms, Gormley responds by imposing 90-degree surfaces to a sculptural self portrait; a lone work on the 2nd level of the gallery titled, Form (2013), which pretty much evolves to become the behemoth piece that is Murmur (2014), located on the street level space right underneath it.
Gormley responds to the gallery’s starkly geometric and commercial existence with a counter proposal of space, one that is derived from the evolution of his own proportions.
Strain II (2011)
Murmur (2014), as with all other works in this show, celebrates the opportunity to formulate a discussion between our raw animal natures, our bodies, and our conscious choice to confine / and define ourselves via cubic spaces, something that is not of our natural world and can potentially be a segregative experience in the process.
And outside these cubic spaces? Back to classic “Gormley” studies in Reserve (2013) where the object’s human proportions is itself the one true shelter in unison with the wild.
VISIT Antony Gormley: States and Conditions, Hong Kong . White Cube Hong Kong . Until 3 May 2014 . 50 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong . T: +852-25292000
Seen&Scene: Chen Fei and Izumi Kato, Chinese and Japanese Painters Debuts Solo Shows Together at Galerie Perrotin Hong Kong
Above, “There will be a day to see you again (2013)” Acrylic on Canvas and “Step Father (2013)” Acrylic on Canvas, both by Chen Fei.
Young Chinese artist, Chen Fei, born in 1983 in Shanxi, is making a solo come back to Hong Kong via Galerie Perrotin. Fei, who was originally discovered by gallerist, Nicole Schoeni, first exhibited here with Schoeni at her 2008 group show, Niubi Newbie Kids and Niubi Newbie Kids 2, and then had his first Hong Kong solo also with Schoeni in 2010 with Bad Taste. With Schoeni Art Gallery closing its doors recently, Galerie Perrotin, has stepped in to offer Chen Fei his second Hong Kong solo titled, Flesh and Me.
"Sorrowful Peasant (2013)", Acrylic on Canvas by Chen Fei
With Flesh and Me, Chen Fei explores further his usually cinematic themes of him and his heroine via a stylistically, “Supreflat”, approach. According to Nicole Schoeni, Chen Fei and his work is representative of a generation of Chinese Post-80’s youth who grew up in an essentially consumerist and media centric society, devoid of the discussion of politics. His works may not be politically conscious, but is telling of generational influences via pop-culture narratives with an overtone of cynicality, humor, and anime violence.
"See Yourself (2013)" Acrylic on Canvas, by Chen Fei
Seven new works adorn the space, each painted with the typical obsessive meticulousness that Chen Fei has been known for. The depiction of his subjects, a woman and his own self, depict Fei’s interests in flesh as it relates to sexuality, pain, ownership of the body, mortality, and perhaps our place in the universe.
"Dark Stars (2013)" Acrylic on Canvas, by Chen Fei
The specificity of the Chen Fei’s work runs in stark contrast to the works of Japanese, Izumi Kato, which adorns the main central gallery that one can see as they enter the space.
Untitled works from 2013 by Izumi Kato
Born in 1969 at Shimane Prefecture, the exhibition at Galerie Perrotin, marks Kato’s first solo show outside Japan in career that almost spans two decades. Owing to his responsibilities as primarily a painter, to the two-dimensional medium of the canvas, Kato seeks to create a better way of not recreating our world, but creating a new one within that flat format.
While Chen Fei seeks to reflect the Japanese graphic obsession of a precise “Superflat” style, Izumi Kato is very comfortable with letting compositions arise from the application of paint from his own fingers wearing vinyl gloves and typical rubber kitchen spatulas. The effect of the medium combined with the alien-like beings depicted in his works, enable Kato to create new worlds with new characters unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Untitled from 2009, by Izumi Kato
Three dimensional figures, propped up on plywood platforms on the wall or on ready-made furniture, help Kato break the wall of the painted image, and bring his characters into our own space, where they seem happy enough to inhabit.
Untitled works from 2013 by Izumi Kato
VISIT Flesh and Me by Chen Fei and Izumi Kato Solo Shows Ends 2014 MAR 15. Galerie Perrotin in Hong Kong, 50 Connaught Road Central, 17th Floor, Central, Hong Kong . +852-37582180
I just want to take the time to apologize to my buddy, artist Joao Vasco Paiva, from the bottom of my heart for not posting about his exhibition much sooner. Paiva’s latest and best show yet, titled Near and Elsewhere, for Edouard Malingue Gallery, launched in late November and lasted for almost two months. Of course I should have posted about it in December or January, when it was most helpful, but with the year’s end and me flying to Texas and back… there seemed to be no time. But Alas… wait no more, here it is… better late than… well later.
Portugal born Paiva, is an active art practitioner in Hong Kong. At a relatively young age, 29, Paiva moved head first right into producing art after graduating with distinction for a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Media in 2008 in Hong Kong. Now his career is shooting straight up, being one of the Saamlung Gallery pioneers in collaboration with curator, Robin Peckham, in 2011-2012, and has since exhibited in museums and galleries in Hong Kong, Portugal, UK, Australia, Hungary, New York, and London. The Near and Elsewhere show at Edouard Malingue marks Paiva’s second solo showing, the first being hosted at the Goethe Institute in Hong Kong earlier last year.
The formal studies for Near and Elsewhere reflect Paiva’s own method of archiving Hong Kong’s public space and urban by-products. The objects in the exhibition is essentially a collection of neglected pieces of the everyday. From “boarded-up shop fronts camouflaged by a collage of ads, cast-off plexi strips, and mark-ridden fences used to prop severed wood”, Paiva looks at the unconscious development of form in common and useful space, as a way to underpin an exploration for new composition.
Untitled (from the Wanchai Market 3) 2013 . Oil on Stone Resin
A practice in displaying found object THIS IS NOT. Paiva’s obsession with documentation of Hong Kong, puts him in line pretty much with the likes of these “expat artists”, those born outside the city, but spend their lives reveling in the gloriousness of this alien world… the works of Architects, MAP Office, and photographer, Michael Wolf, come to mind immediately. Paiva’s collection of 2D stacks of planes in different shades of white within “The Brief Moment in Time” series, or the Untitled Speed Bumps or Untitled Styrofoam boxes in resin, pretty much scream Hong Kong as a signifier, however these are new items. While MAP Office draws and writes to deconstruct the sometimes absurd nature of the city as a form of documentation, and Michael Wolf, magnifies the residential building facade of Hong Kong as a seductive vertical veil, Paiva processes the neglected pieces as a way to properly validate their formal existence, either by re sculpturing them exactly as they were but with new medium, or giving them a painted and glossy finish to really accentuate their uniqueness… as with the Untitled Lumberyard pieces.
They may not be objects of desire in a traditional sense, but Paiva makes a good case that all objects are in fact desirable, because none would have been crafted or invented without its usefulness, of which all these pieces at one point in their lifetime in Hong Kong… were very useful.
Untitled (from the Wanchai Market 1) 2013 . Oil on Stone Resin
Untitled (from the Wanchai Market 2) 2013 . Oil on Stone Resin
Untitled (Corner) 2013 . Dental Stone Gypsum
From a Brief Moment In Time Series 2013 . Oil in Wooden Board
Friends and Supporters of Joao Vasco Paiva. Monocle editor, Aisha Spiers and her partner Jared.
Artist, Jin Meyerson, and Thyvane’s Roger Ouk.
My favorite piece… Untitled (Lumberyard Array 2) 2013 . Latex on Wood, with Steel Base.
Apparently some of the forms where photographed and imported into Sketch Up and rationalized and made new… it’s really fascinating how Paiva imports the found object, develops it, and re exports it as the art.
Big show, big sign. Congrats Joao!
MORE INFORMATION Joao Vasco Paiva’s Near and Elsewhere for Edouard Malingue Gallery
As my final end-of-2013 wrap-up-post before the blog sees new stories for 2014, I’d like to revisit 10 of our most read post from last year. These posts are not necessarily my most favorite, or the ones i’m in love with (heck the ones I loved the most turned out to be the least read…so who knows).
Anyway what this list successfully shows is a skimmed overview of the trends and events that got people interested on Wanderlister.com. Highlights include Monocle Magazine’s big Hong Kong and APAC tour, Art Basel’s inaugural Asian branded fair, the emergence of proudly made Hong Kong labels like PYE, the popularity of public inflatable Art, and the turn to Southeast Asian and Filipino cuisine in the city.
Anyway, 2013 was so so cool in so many ways, hope 2014 is even better!
13 FEB 25 - The Monocle Shop in Hong Kong recently entertained friends and family of Monocle Magazine via a block party, hosted by Editor-in-Chief Tyler Brule, Advertising Director, Anders Braso, and Hong Kong’s newest bureau chief,Aisha Speirs, as part of their big APAC push.
#09 / EVENT / OFF-ART BASEL HONG KONG 2013
13 MAY 19 - Art Basel Hong Kong (ABHK) arrives for the first time in our great city with tons of buzz. For those who are new to all this, all you need to know that this art fair in Hong Kong is the 3rd largest art fair in the world, third only to Art Basel in Basel and Art Basel in Miami. Before we get further into the fair, so much is happening around the city with “OFF-Basel” (Official and Unofficial) Activities in the build up to opening night.
#08 / DINING & LEISURE / SCARLETT AND MAGGIE CHOO’S
13 MAY 04 - Bangkok is quite good with super “Designed” Wallpaper*-esque nightlife concepts and offerings and has been since the emergence of “IT” joints like Bed Supper Club, FACE Bar, and Fallabella in the last decade. While those bars are a memory of what they once were, making waves as of late are two new hotspots located high above the city with, SCARLETT, perfect for those wanting a sunset with a scene, and a new “speakeasy” very low underground, at the new/old Maggie Choo’s, for those wanting a bit of naughty privacy.