Apr 23 2020

What’s Up in Hong Kong: Art Gallery Day in Central, Soho, Sheung Wan

by ArtAsiaPacific

As Hong Kong bounces back from a second wave of imported Covid-19 cases, with the Health Department reporting zero new patients on April 20, galleries have been getting back up to speed with their programs. This weekend, on Friday April 24, the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association (HKAGA) is holding its Art Gallery Day for 19 spaces in Central, Soho, and Sheung Wan neighborhoods, followed by South Side Art Day on April 25. The government’s social distancing guidelines remain in effect—visitors will be required to wear a face mask and to practice social distancing. But as Hong Kongers have quickly adapted to this new normal, it shouldn’t be any impediment to some gallery hopping. Some of these shows are newly opened, while others are last-chance-to-see, and don’t forget the one-day event by the iconic Frog King. 


CHU HING-WA, A Drink of Beer, 2016, oil and acrylic on canvas, 180 × 97.5 cm. Courtesy the artist and Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong.

“State of Happiness”

Hanart TZ 

Mar 13–May 29

The state of mind we all need right now is the one that Hanart TZ conjures with this group show of some of Hong Kong’s most beloved artists. Along with lively splatter paintings by Luis Chan, New York-based Emily Cheng’s canvases are visions of esoteric spirituality. Chu Hing-Wa’s depictions of the city are certainly reminiscent of better days, like A Drink of Beer (2016), a painting of three people sitting outdoors under a large tree. Yeh Shih-Chiang brings the tranquility of traditional ink-and-brush landscape painting to his abstract works.    

NARI WARD, Power Wall – Power People, 2019, shoelaces, 304.8 × 152.4 × 6.4 cm. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong / Seoul / New York.
NARI WARD, Power Wall – Power People, 2019, shoelaces, 304.8 × 152.4 × 6.4 cm. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong / Seoul / New York.

Robin Rhode and Nari Ward: “Power Wall”

Lehmann Maupin 

Apr 3–May 16

Lehmann Maupin brings New York artist Nari Ward and South African-born Robin Rhode together in dialogue to showcase their unique approaches to wall-based works addressing social justice. Ward presents his signature installations of colorful shoelaces inserted into the wall, here combining to create motifs such as the clenched fist or the outline of footprints. Rhode’s works are similarly made from ordinary materials but take the form of large-scale drawings on urban walls, which are then photographed in sequence, with an actor posed against them as if the figure is conducting a kind of miraculous dance with the work. 

Installation view of MAI-THU PERRET’s “News From Nowhere” at Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong, 2020. Photo by Kitmin Lee. Courtesy the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong / London / New York.

Mai-Thu Perret: “News From Nowhere”

Simon Lee 

Jan 10–TBC

Taking its title from a William Morris novel about a socialist utopia, “News from Nowhere” is Mai-Thu Perret’s second exhibition in Hong Kong and features new works related to the artist’s project The Crystal Frontier (1999– ). Centered on a fictional commune of women who explore alternative modes of living in the desert of New Mexico, The Crystal Frontier comprises sculptures, paintings, and textiles. At the show are ceramic tiles referencing Lina Bo Bardi’s egalitarian architecture, tapestries highlighting craft traditions that have been sidelined, and four tulip-shaped sculptures alluding to Isamu Noguchi’s playscapes, collectively elucidating utopic visions of the past and present.

Installation view of ZAO WOU-KI’s “Friendship & Reconciliation” at Villepin, Hong Kong, 2020. Courtesy Villepin.

Zao Wou-ki: “Friendship & Reconciliation”


Mar 20–Sep 20

The newly opened Villepin gallery on Hollywood Road inaugurates its three-story space with a presentation of the prominent Chinese-French modernist, a close acquaintance of the gallery co-founders—former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin and his son, Arthur. Marking the centennial of the artist’s birth, the retrospective not only traces the evolution of Zao’s practice from the 1940s to the 2000s, but also offers a rare glimpse into the painter’s personal life, including his friendships with other artists and collectors. 

Installation view of TU HONGTAO’s first solo exhibition at Lévy Gorvy, Hong Kong, 2020. Photo by Kitmin Lee. Courtesy Lévy Gorvy, Hong Kong / New York / London / Zurich.

Tu Hongtao

Lévy Gorvy 

Mar 15–May 30

Tu Hongtao’s first solo exhibition with Lévy Gorvy examines the development of the oil painter’s practice from figurative, post-apocalyptic cityscapes to expressive abstractions reinterpreting traditional Chinese mythology, such as the large-scale Goddess of Luo River (2016–18), which renders the deity in layers of thick green and blue brushwork. Most of the exhibits, spanning sketches and paintings from the past decade, are on loan from private collections and museums.    

Installation view of NTHER FÖRG’s “1986–1992” at Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong, 2020. Courtesy the Estate of the artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong / Shanghai.

Günther Förg: “1986–1992”

Edouard Malingue 

May 8–23 

Edouard Malingue is open for a special preview of ultra-minimalist paintings by Günther Förg made between 1986 and 1992. A late modernist, Förg pursued forms of abstract painting at a time when many of his West German contemporaries had turned to political figurative painting. But unlike earlier American abstractionists of the “hard-edge” variety, Förg’s canvases allow their raw materiality and process to shine through, synthesizing the geometric and expressive lineages of modern painting.  

ZHANG JIAN-JUN, Rubbing Rain Series 2020 #1, 2020, Chinese ink, oil, paint, acrylic, rice paper on canvas, 80 × 120 cm. Courtesy the artist and Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong.

Zhang Jian-Jun and Barbara Edelstein: “Ineffable Garden”

Alisan Fine Arts

Mar 16–May 9 

This dual show of photographer Barbara Edelstein and abstract painter Zhang Jian-Jun juxtaposes approaches to depicting the natural world. Edelstein combines photographs of leaves and trees with ink paintings of foliage as a study in contrasts between scientific and impressionistic representations of nature. Zhang’s paintings from the Rubbing Rain series (2015–20) incorporate water as one of their essential elements in the process of creation, bringing natural forces to play in his abstractions.  

Installation view of “Little Fables” at Whitestone Gallery, Hong Kong, 2020. Courtesy Whitestone Gallery, Tokyo / Taipei / Hong Kong / Nagano.

“Little Fables”

Whitestone Gallery 

Mar 18–May 16

Escape into uniquely fantastical realms created by the six artists at Whitestone Gallery’s “Little Fables.” Sebastian Chaumeton’s latest installation is like a room-sized version of his paintings depicting the “real lives” of famous cartoon characters posed in ironic riffs on digital media. Jiang Miao’s paintings evoke the cosmological origins of the universe while Yuji Kanamaru’s paintings depict miniature civilizations. Asa Go and Karen Shiozawa each conjure up dreamlike realms. There will also be a live music performance by the ukulele and clarinet duo Head Clowns on Friday April 24, 6–7 PM. 

ZHENG GUOGU, Transformation of Shadakshari Lokeshvara, 2015, oil on canvas, 206 × 159 cm. Courtesy Tang Contemporary Art, Hong Kong / Beijing / Bangkok.

“Transformation of Practices”

Tang Contemporary Art 

Apr 23–May 23

Zheng Guogu’s Transformation series (2015– ), inspired by the bodhisattva of compassion, Shadakshari Lokeshvara, is the point of departure for this showcase of three artists whose practices evoke a return to fundamentals and introspection. Presented alongside Zheng’s works are Wong Shun Kit’s paintings of Hong Kong locales haunted by spirits and echoes of history. Meanwhile, Arx Lee (Li Chaoxiong)’s paintings center on a girl wearing a hat whose deep interiority poses a tantalizing mystery to the viewer.    


Image via 10 Chancery Lane Gallery’s Facebook

Frog King’s Great Mask Giveaway

Frog King (Kwok Mang Ho), known for his transformative use of ink and calligraphy in his exuberant costumed performances and layered mixed-media works, will be handing out his customized face masks to visitors at 10 Chancery Lane Gallery on Friday April 24, 2–8 PM.

KIM YOUNG-HUN, p1929-Electronic_Nostalgia Diamond Mountain, 2019, oil on linen, 184 × 184 cm. Courtesy the artist and Soluna Fine Art, Hong Kong.

Kim Young-Hun: “Diamond Mountain: Electronic Nostalgia”

Soluna Fine Art

Apr 3–Jun 6

Based in New York and Seoul, Kim Young-Hun produces what he calls “digital paintings with analog sentiments.” The artist’s debut solo presentation at Soluna Fine Art brings together eight colorful abstract canvases merging Korea’s hilly landscapes with glitched screens. The show’s centerpiece is p1929-Electronic Nostalgia_Diamond Mountain (2019), which nods to both the titular mountain range in North Korea and the Diamond Sutra in Buddhist scripture.

Installation view of BRYAN CHUNG’s National Anthem, 2019, custom machine learning software written in Python, dimensions variable at Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong, 2020. Courtesy Karin Weber Gallery. 

“Castles In The Air”

Karin Weber Gallery 

Apr 3–May 30

Creativity is all the more important in times of strife. “Castles In The Air” brings together five artists who put forward visions for growth and hope amid sociopolitical upheaval. Bryan Chung encourages visitors to compose their own National Anthem (2019); Chihoi’s Trinity with Heaven and Earth (2020) paintings draw from the Confucian guide for self-cultivation, Doctrine of the Meanand Stacey Chen reflects on the power of collective action in her dot-based ink painting 16.06.2019 (2019).

YAN BO, Untitled, 2013, mixed media on linen board, 130 × 162 cm. Courtesy the artist and Leo Gallery, Hong Kong / Shanghai.

Yan Bo: “Untitled”

Leo Gallery

Feb 1–May 5

Yan Bo’s solo exhibition features free-form wall sculptures made with mineral pigments. The Chinese artist’s layered, irregular compositions with bright pops of color emphasize his experimental, freewheeling process, which Yan describes as “a yearning, a constant changing beam of light; it is the excitement of uncovering secrets, but also the puzzles I have laid out in the excitement.”

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