First in Asia, M+ Museum and Architecture Collection Previews in Hong Kong’s ArtisTree

Originally published on 16.Jan.2014 via INDESIGNLIVE HONG KONG

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Above, Herzog & de Meuron’s winning M+ Building Competition.

The M+ Museum, the main cultural anchor of the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), is slated to open in 2017. However, prior to its launch, the museum and its curatorial teams have been busy spending the last several months giving form to its vision as a “museum of visual culture” via a continuous effort on the building of its works – local, regional, and global. Prior to the unveiling of the museum’s Architecture Collection at ArtisTree last week, the museum so far has had a jump start with the news of its Sigg Collection thanks to a sizeable donation of over 1,500 pieces by Swiss collector, Uli Sigg, the world’s largest universally recognised private collector of Chinese contemporary art from the 1970’s to present.

Below, Utopic constructs by Urbanus, Steven Holl, and MAD Architects.

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Excluding the Sigg Collection, M+ has since recently acquired around 800 works to date, of which 80 per cent are by local artists and designers. A percentage of this is of course the Architecture collection, the first and only one of its kind in Asia, consisting of models and drawings of realised and unrealised architectural and urban projects as it relates to Hong Kong and China, including all shortlisted entries to the actual design of M+ itself. The show, part of the museum’s “Mobile M+” series of exhibitions allow Hong Kong’s citizens to engage with the museum’s curated programmes in the people’s turf (site specific shows all over town), and is certainly more than a peek of things to come. This allows curator, Aric Chen, and Assistant Curator, Shirley Surya, to present their vision of what it means to house a permanent collection of Architecture as it relates to visual culture and the Hong Kong context.

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Above, M+ Building Design entries by Shigeru Ban and Renzo Piano, respectively.

As of now, the vision for the exhibition – excluding the M+ competition collection – is posited via five lenses: Place Making (Architecture within locality), Crossed Transfers (Architectural form studies beyond cultural borders), Urban Laboratory (manifested urban strategies as it relates to Hong Kong), Critical Futures (grand Utopic ideals), and Digital Reality (conceptualisation of space via Computer-aided Design). I’m pretty sure the narratives will continue to evolve even beyond the Museum’s actual opening, as new issues and frameworks present themselves from now until then. However as it is presented at this moment, the chapters work well at indexing a varied collection, defined by multiple mediums.

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Above, brick work by Jiakun Architects.

Scale models of stand-alone buildings from designers Ai Wei Wei, Steven Holl, and William Lim of CL3 are placed adjacent to full sized brick works via Jiakun Architects’ “Rebirth Brick” project for the survivors of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Original courtyard drawings by modernist master Ludwig Mies van der Rohe are exhibited adjacent to studies of courtyards by Jackson Wong Chack Sang, who founded Wong & Ouyang. Of course models of completed typical Hong Kong residential towers by Rocco Design Architects and unbuilt dream towers by MAD are expected of architecture shows, but it’s the critical studies by the likes of artists such as MAP Office, anothermountainman, and Cao Fei, that really give us a full picture of the affect of Hong Kong and China’s building culture.

Below, Photographs by anothermountainman.

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MAD Office’s Laurent Gutierrez and Valerie Portefaix question the grim practice of luxury tower design as subservient to the developer’s marketing message, usually as muddled euro-centric desires of the nouveau riche. Anothermountainman’s large-scale photographic prints reframe China and Taiwan’s uncompleted development dreams. Perhaps the best work that spoke to me in the whole collection is the one by artist Cao Fei, titled “The Birth of RMB City (2007)”, a video simulation of a virtual city comprising an amalgamation of architectures from China, Macau, and Hong Kong, built and destroyed within the online world of Second Life. I call it a critique of a building frenzy led by money; others would define it as an introspective work of the built environment.

Below, Cao Fei’s “RMB CIty” Video Installation and works by MAP Office.

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According to curator Aric Chen, “collecting architecture requires both humility and judgment… (with) a constant awareness that what and how a museum collects can have an impact on architectural practice itself.” The impact of such a collection to the building industry will only be clear several years from now, however with so much being torn down and built in China and Hong Kong these days, a building archive such as this one is necessary if only to define an architectural identity before it disappears completely to yet another one of the region’s bullet speed urban redevelopment projects.

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VISIT Mobile M+: The Museum and Architecture Collection will be held from 10 Jan – 9 Feb 2014. Opens daily from 10am – 8pm. ArtisTree, 1F Cornwall House, Taikoo Place, Island East, Hong Kong.

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES: Building the M+ Museum and Architecture Collection, Preview Exhibition Opens Tonight in Hong Kong

A landmark exhibition showcasing the first acquisitions and donations to the  M+ architecture collection is on exhibit at ArtistTree at Taikoo Place, Island East in Hong Kong starting tonight for cocktail preview 09 January 2014, and opens to the public officially tomorrow 10 January 2014. Also showing for the first time are the models and drawings of the winning design for M+ by architects Herzog & de Meuron with TFP Farrells and Ove Arup & Partners HK. 

The exhibition is only a preview of the landmark architectural collection that M+ is anticipating to have under the curation of Aric Chen, along with Shirley Surya, Assistant Curator. The exhibit, designed by SKEW Collaborative and graphics by Project Projects will include works from Hong Kong and China’s architecture and arts community, including donations by Ai Weiwei, CL3 Archtiects LTD, Dennis Lau & Ng Chun Man (DLN), JIAKUN Architects, MAD, Urbanus, Rocco Design, P&T (Palmer & Turner). 

Also except works from Frank Lloyd Wright, Paul Rudolph, Steven Holl, Bernard Tschumi, OMA (Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis), plus non architects, Cao Fei, Andreas Gursky, Aernout Mik, and Stanley Wong aka anothermountainman… to help stress the museum’s multi-disciplinary focus.

According to Aric Chen, “Building M+ lays the first stakes around which the collection will continue to grow in scope and depth - and around which we hope the public can start to engage architecture in new ways.”

Images from top to bottom: Perspectives of the new M+ by Herzog & de Meuron, Iwan Baan’s Guangzhou Opera House #1 (2010), Andreas Gursky’s Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (1994), MAD Architects’ Beijing 2050 (2006), Tao Ho Design’s Metroplan WKCD Concept Model (1988), Ian Lambot’s Aerial View from South West of Kowloon Walled City 1989 (2013), and Fitch & Cheung’s Peak Tower Model (1967).

VISIT Building M+: The Museum and Architecture Collection . 10 January - 09 February 2014 . ArtisTree, 1F, Cornwall House, Taikoo Place, Island East, Hong Kong . Opens 10AM - 9PM . Free Admission

JJ.

The world did not end on December 21, 2012. In fact, the world has moved on as normal, and on January 21st, 2013, celebrated Mainland Artist, Song Dong, fresh from his show at dOCUMENTA (13) in Germany, will be launching one of his biggest works to date and first solo show in Hong Kong to address the apocalypse and the lack there of. The exhibit is in cooperation with ArtisTree, M+, and the Asia Art Archive (AAA). The artist with 432 members of the public will stage a participatory performance piece manipulating 36 hand drawn wire bound annual household wall calendars. Song Dong’s interest lies in the investigation of socio-political issues and art within the context of history, specifically the last 36 years of history. The outcome? You’ll just have to go and see it.
From Claire Hsu, Executive Director of the AAA:



Song Dong’s 36 Calendars emerges out of the potential of the archive as a platform to re-think history and memory, both through the individual voice and as a community. ‘AAA’s partnership with M+ signals an exciting direction towards the kind of exhibitions that the Hong Kong public can experience in the future. It serves as an example of the importance of cultural institutions working together towards achieving the common goal of bringing art to as wide an audience as possible.




Doing Nothing Garden 2010-12, Song Dong. (via DOCUMENTA13)
ART Song Dong’s 36 Calendars 
JJ.

The world did not end on December 21, 2012. In fact, the world has moved on as normal, and on January 21st, 2013, celebrated Mainland Artist, Song Dong, fresh from his show at dOCUMENTA (13) in Germany, will be launching one of his biggest works to date and first solo show in Hong Kong to address the apocalypse and the lack there of. The exhibit is in cooperation with ArtisTreeM+, and the Asia Art Archive (AAA). The artist with 432 members of the public will stage a participatory performance piece manipulating 36 hand drawn wire bound annual household wall calendars. Song Dong’s interest lies in the investigation of socio-political issues and art within the context of history, specifically the last 36 years of history. The outcome? You’ll just have to go and see it.

From Claire Hsu, Executive Director of the AAA:

Song Dong’s 36 Calendars emerges out of the potential of the archive as a platform to re-think history and memory, both through the individual voice and as a community. ‘AAA’s partnership with M+ signals an exciting direction towards the kind of exhibitions that the Hong Kong public can experience in the future. It serves as an example of the importance of cultural institutions working together towards achieving the common goal of bringing art to as wide an audience as possible.

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Doing Nothing Garden 2010-12, Song Dong. (via DOCUMENTA13)

ART Song Dong’s 36 Calendars 

JJ.