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
Originally published on 16.Jan.2014 via INDESIGNLIVE HONG KONG
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This evening, friends, supporters, and media, were invited to Duddell’s 4th Floor to preview Chinese artist, Ai WeiWei’s first curated exhibition in Hong Kong titled, Framed. What is in fact being framed, is literally the work of 13 of Hong Kong’s finest art practitioners, hand selected by Ai WeiWei himself; Nadim Abbas, Kitty Chou, Ho Sin Tung, Frog King, Kum Chi-Keung, Kwan Sheung Chi, Michael Lau, Kingsley Ng, MAP Office, Tozer Pak Sheung Chuen, Angela Su, Tsang Kin Wah, and Stanley Wong anothermountainman.
Before the opening party, a private gathering was hosted by Duddell’s founder, Alan Lo and M+’s Executive Director, Lars Nittve, for an intimate panel discussion with some of the artists in the group show, plus a special welcome video of WeiWei himself introducing the exhibition.
The 45 minute long discussion was focused primarily on the idea of “Framing” and being “Framed”. Some of the artists, like Tozer Pak Sheung Chuen, yearned to work outside the frame conceptually and physically imposed by WeiWei (a wooden frame uniform about 65 x 65 cm, square). Other artists welcomed the possibility of the frame’s unifying factor, like Kitty Chou’s work. MAP Office took the idea of the Frame as an opportunity to focus on the curator, WeiWei, stating that the artists are not the focus of the show, but WeiWei himself because essentially the works are a reaction to the curator’s theme. MAP Office’s response reflects on the different facets of Ai WeiWei, a man, an island, trapped “within his own kingdom, and defined by his own territory in China”. Ho Sin Tung’s portrait of Ai WeiWei, titled Alien 2013 (seen at the top of the post), framed a portrait of the curator within the imposed timber frame as his response.
Frog King’s Frog Fun 2013 piece which hangs proudly on the feature stair’s main landing, is all “balls-out”, literally, and proposes play in reference to his 20-plus year relationship with Ai WeiWei.
Work by Tsang Kin Wah, MomFDadFDaughterFTeacherFJesusF MaryFBillFMonicaFPoliticianFPastorFKidFMomFTeen… 2007.
While it is true that Duddell’s is not your typical gallery exhibition space, it is a bar/restaurant/members-club, with atraditional spaces for exhibiting works of art. It is in this context of which Ai WeiWei was intrigued, and uses the idea of the frame as a way to bring focus to Duddell’s position, not only its contribution to Hong Kong’s maturing cultural landscape, but also in the way this newly minted venue can bridge Hong Kong artist to a more global contemporary audience.
In the foreword for the exhibition’s book, Ai WeiWei states:
When these artists have chosen to work with me at their own will, changes have already occurred, and change is what culture has longed for and worked towards… With the political conditions and social developments today (categorizing cultural activity by regions) are no longer applicable in the age of digital communication and globalization. A good exhibition or a good artist may come from any social background, or we can say that backgrounds are no longer relevant. This is a remarkable feat; I wish that all artists residing in Hong Kong will be blessed by this era.
In the paragraph before, Ai Weiwei stresses; that “Framed” as a theme hints at the “absurdity of our conditions.” And that continually expressing Hong Kong’s history, and links to its colonial past whether politics or art or both, is an “inevitable fable” and maybe a complete “rejection” of any “adaptation” that is taking place right now today.
Work by Nadim Abbas, The Trial of Lady Chatterley 2013.
Work by Michael Lau, Chrazymichael 2010.
Work by Kum Chi-Keung, Hand 2006.
Duddell’s seemingly takes pride in being a truly Hong Kong product, from the perspective of Hong Kong as a city of the world. Members of Duddell’s may identify with the idea that being a true Hong Konger also means being a global citizen, and that they’re one and the same. Whether that’s a position Hong Kong’s artists are ready to take on board after this show, depends on them. It’s interesting to note that it takes a curator of Ai Weiwei’s stature to have to coax such an idea of “globalness” to Hong Kong’s own cloistered art community… and he’s doing all this from the confines of his compound thousands of miles away… as an alien and outsider looking in.
VISIT Framed. Ai Weiwei and Hong Kong Artists . 5 NOV 2013 - 15 FEB 2013 . Duddell’s, Level 3, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong . T: +852-25259191
Last Saturday brought a balmy and drizzly Spring evening to Hong Kong, but at the Wong Chuk Hang Industrial District, it was all smiles and pleasant conversations as the arts community rallied around Spring Workshop’s latest artist-in-residence, Qiu Zhijie, one of the mainland’s most celebrated artist and thinkers of his generation.
Inspired by Spring Workshops’ delightfully expansive and flexible space, Qiu began making full use of the large areas of of wall and floor for a very specific mapping exercise which only can be accomplished in such a site.
The neutralness of the walls and the beige floors allowed Qiu to think of them as a blank canvas, a datum in which ready-made objects, “found, made, free, and confined”, can be categorized and mapped, with a help of students from all of Hong Kong’s schools and universities, namely the University of Hong Kong, City University, Baptist University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Arts School, HKICC/Jockey Club Ti-ICollege, Diocesan Girls’ School, Hong Kong Academy and Po Leung Kuk Laws Foundation College.
And when we went there last Saturday… he was close to completion…
But more was left to do. The exhibit officially starts on May 23rd.
Also a work in progress, but in a completely different scale, is the work of Eric Shuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu of Eskyiu in the back garden area, titled, Industrial Forest.
Below, Marisa sits within her work as she takes photos of me taking photos of the landscape. Behind her stands Laurent Gutierrez of map office, another celebrated mult-disciplinary architectural studio doing great work in / for the city.
The Industrial Forest is a forest composed of metal “bamboo” rods securely placed on artificial topography. This synthetic nature comes alive, the rods swaying back and forth, with the affect of use and natural weather conditions. Imagine a typhoon!
You can find the scale model of the project in the office.
… As well as the architectural drawings.
So many friends and supporters were there that night to rally around the artists as well as founder, Mimi Brown's non-profit arts initiative. Also spotted were Art Basel Hong Kong's Director Asia, Magnus Renfrew (Check out our interview with him last year), art patron and writer Alex Seno, restauranteur and creative Alan Lo, art muse Xue Tan, Art Basel Hong Kong’s VIP coordinator Deborah Erlich, creative consultant Louise Wong, write and curator Christina Li, artist/educator Leung Chi Wo, and my pals Katrina, Jason S, Jason R, and Susan.
Dinner was served on the beautiful lawn and deck area outside.
There’s a map on the table…
Balls on the floor can be kicked around to create new word structures, concepts, ideas… the purpose of which to create a more dynamic version of mapping which involves the user and the space, via the propositions of the artist.
Can’t wait to see more from Spring Workshop? Go take a look for yourself. The doors are now open.
It’s Fall at the end of the year, and you know what that means… Art Auctions. Yes, we attended the Annual Para/Site Art Auction this year located at Lane Crawford’s very cool One Island South company digs and was hosted by Board of Directors, William Lim of CL3, Yana Peel, Executive Director/Curator, Cosmin Costinas, with live auctioneer, Jehan Chu of Chaiwanese.
Cosmin and Jehan below.
It was really interesting to attend this particular auction, especially because i’ve been going to Para/Site auctions ran by Jehan for so many years now. I still remember when the auctions were small and held at the KEE Club back in the day. And now it’s a full dinner affair with friends and supporters. Very neat to see how far Para/Site Art Space and its programs have evolved over the years.
Ignacio checks out works on display for Silent Auction.
Some of my favorite pieces include this abstracted architectural topography by Joao Vasco Paiva, titled High Tide (2012) which sold at live auction for 42K HKD. The work was graciously donated by the artist and Saamlung Gallery.
This metallic skateboard by Olafur Eliasson, Your Mercury Ocean (2009), was donated by Vitamin Creative Space, and sold for 100K HKD.
I really liked Lot 62, a selection of prints by Sunjung Kim, Anton Vidokle, and Nikolaus Hirsch.
This one I liked, a DVD by Ming Wong, called Honeymoon In The Third Space (1999).
A good seller, Heman Chong’s, muted geometric composition from Never Let Me Go (2011), caught my eye. This painting on canvas sold well at 50K, and is a donation from Vitamin Creative Space.
Are you cool on your island? I absolutely loved this work by MAP Office, titled Honeymoon Island (2011), which I hope found a great home via silent auction.
This print, Cheng Ran’s Still of an Unknown Film (2008), sold at 60+K HKD, and a donation by the artist.
And there was no way I can do a post about Hong Kong art, without a work by my favorite artist, Nadim Abbas. This piece, Chernobyl_Core.gif (2012), is a print donated by Abbas and Saamlung Gallery.
The work of emerging artist, Trevor Yeung drew plenty of fans. Here G.O.D.’s Benjamin Lau and Alan Lau admire Yeung’s work, Sleepy bed (Sao Paulo Hostel 1) (2012). Yeung photographs subjects, usually male, all around the world, and turns them into multi-layered compositions which involve the photographic image as well as an overlay of illustration.
Next to the work, Lot 30, is a piece by Antony Gormley. Body XI (2011), was the biggest seller of the night and sold at 160K HKD by an absentee bidder. The work was donated by the artist, and Vitamin Creative Space.
In attendance was artist, Adrian Wong, and Xue Tan. Adrian was actually working on the composition for his Fall 2012 Saamlung show with his rabbit. Dont Ask.
We also spotted Alex Seno and Lane Crawford’s Eliot Sandiford. Thanks Alex for the invite!
Great to finally meet Claudia Albertini of Platform China.
The room was full of super couples as well. There’s no art shindig without the following… Tangram’s Igancio and Paola who will soon be unveilinga new collection in December. Here they are channeling the work of Chow Chun Fai, aptly titled Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (2011), which sold at live auction for 75K HKD. Perfect.
Supercouple #2, FIOL Prosecco addict Pietro and Whitney of the Gagosian Hong Kong.
Supercouple #3, Tim and Marc, here standing next to Yuk King Tan’s The Mandate of Heaven (2011). Love.
Supercouple #4, cool peeps Michelle and her husband, Varun. Great to see them here.
Twitter Supercouple Bonus, my gal, artist Yuk King in Tangram. Hello Yuk!
The tables at the canteen.
Whitney’s favorite works.
Pals on my table, Benjamin and Alan. Nice to meet you both!
Para/Site IS Hong Kong’s leading contemporary art space, the oldest, and most active. They exhibit, they publicize, they create discourse, and you wouldn’t think that based on their tiny space in Sheung Wan, that they are paving the way for many emerging artists. The point is, they’re moving spaces and adding curators, and they’re thinking big. Check out the works that were at auction here.
That said if you missed out on the Para/Site auction, but would still love to purchase work as well as contribute to a good cause, the Asia Art Archive Annual Fundraiser site is now up, and you can actually bid on your favorite work online. Yes. Contemporary Art at your fingertips. Many of whom had works that sold well at the Para/Site Auction. Good luck!
Supporters of the arts were out to celebrate the launch of Robin Peckham’s newest commercial gallery space Saamlung in downtown Central Hong Kong on Friday. The press release did state that the exhibition opening for a much awaited solo by João Vasco Paiva, was supposed to be a softer launch, but in fairness to the turnout it ended up turning into the opposite of “soft”. Saamlung was big enough, and the ceiling heights incredible, but if people were spilling out into the hallway, no amount of aircon was available to turn down the heat emanating from the event. Nasty evening rain couldn’t keep the crowds away either.
The artist, João Vasco Paiva, with Leung Chi Wo.
The works, a series of paintings, a sculpture, and a video installation, all deal with symbols, signs, wayfinding, codes, and armatures, inspired by Hong Kong’s relationship with the MTR, the city’s subway system. Joao works with all media in an effort to expand on his subject matter from all possible angles. All subjects seem familiar, but at the same time devoid of their original context, because the figures depicted are stripped entirely of text and number, making the piece of work completely new and foreign to the viewer, despite its familiarity.
The paintings complimented the sculpture and vice-versa, with the all white space completely perfect for the minimalist art.
Spotted: Tangram’s Ignacio Garcia (left), Robin Peckham (center), and Jehan Chu of Vermillion and Chaiwanese (right), with a friend.
I’m a big fan of art editor/author/blogger, Xue Tan (middle). She was really down to earth which I love, here chatting with MAP Office’s Valérie Portefaix.
Other funny spottings, Valerie’s son within a wall gap serving drinks to guests. It was a bit performance art. Valerie proudly snapping shots of her son below.
Osage’s social media guru and #HKFashionBlogger Sybil Kot with the multi-tasker/Asia Art Archive/Saamlung Gallery Manager (i’m sure i’m missing something), Natasha.
Other cool peeps at the show. I love her glasses.
Xue Tan’s friend.
And me and Xue.
This was some really great work by João. Also kudos to Robin for an amazing gallery space. It really reminds me of the kind of galleries you see in New York. Additionally you REALLY should check out Xue Tans website, The Creators Project, right now. Its the kind of content I’d love to do if I did blogging full time. She works on it in conjunction with Intel and Vice. Her latest article is about China as the World’s Architectural playground.
MVRDV’s China Comic and Animation Museum below.
Hope to collaborate with Xue Tan in the near future.
RELATED ARTICLE: Saamlung Pre Opening, Works João Vasco Paiva
João Vasco Paiva: Palimpseptic / Saamlung, 26/F Two Chinachem Plaza, 68 Connaught Rd. C., Central District, Hong Kong / http://www.saamlung.com
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