“Hong Kong Eye”: New narratives in Hong Kong contemporary art – picture feast

What distinguishes Hong Kong art from other art in the region? The largest touring exhibition ever to focus on contemporary art from Hong Kong attempts to give us an answer. 

“Hong Kong Eye” opened the Asian leg of its tour on 1 May 2013 at ArtisTree, TaiKoo Place, featuring works by 24 emerging and established artists from the city. Exploring significant narratives in Hong Kong contemporary art, the exhibition is the largest touring international showcase to date of Hong Kong’s contemporary art.

Sheung Chi Kwan, 'Yawn', 2011, still from video. Image courtesy the artist.

Kwan Sheung Chi, ‘Yawn’, 2011, still from video. Image courtesy the artist.

Hong Kong Eye” launched in London at the Saatchi Gallery on 5 December 2012, where it admitted close to 200,000 visitors over a five-week period. For its move to Asia, the exhibition features an expanded collection and additional artists, bringing the total number of participants from 18 to 24.

Adrian Wong, 'In Search of a Primordial Idiolect IV', 2012, wood, laminate, foam, faux fur, carpet, acrylic and animatronics, 244 x 305 x 91 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Saamlung.

Adrian Wong, ‘In Search of a Primordial Idiolect IV’, 2012, wood, laminate, foam, faux fur, carpet, acrylic and animatronics, 244 x 305 x 91 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Saamlung.

Wilson SHIEH, 'Five Tallest Buildings in Hong Kong', 2011, ink and gouache on silk,  90 x 115 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Osage Gallery.

Wilson Shieh, ‘Five Tallest Buildings in Hong Kong’, 2011, ink and gouache on silk, 90 x 115 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Osage Gallery.

A broader narrative for Hong Kong art

“Hong Kong Eye” highlights the city’s diverse art scene and encourages debate on key narratives linked to its history and urban environment. According to the official press release,

This exhibition explores Hong Kong contemporary art and its marked divergence from art of the same period in mainland China. It prompts an exploration on key narratives including: how is new art linked to the beginnings of China’s post-dynastic history; how did colonial modernity shape Hong Kong’s local narrative; and how has Hong Kong’s urban and island environment played a role? It celebrates the richness of the local scene and seeks to stimulate discussion on the Hong Kong art scene.

Silas Fong, 'Upon the Escalator', 2009, still from dual-channel digital video. Image courtesy the artist.

Silas Fong, ‘Upon the Escalator’, 2009, still from dual-channel digital video. Image courtesy the artist.

The exhibition emphasises the diversity of artists and media of Hong Kong contemporary art. The works on display range from charcoal and acrylic paintings to large-scale sculptures, animatronics, and interactive video installations. With the intention of creating a broader narrative about Hong Kong and its contemporary art scene, the exhibition presents a mix of emerging and more established artists with connections to Hong Kong by birth, work, or residence.

Kingsley Ng, 'Musical Loom', 2005, interactive installatio. Image courtesy the artist and Osage Gallery.

Kingsley Ng, ‘Musical Loom’, 2005, interactive installation. Image courtesy the artist and Osage Gallery.

New art additions in Hong Kong

New works added for this part of the tour include some that have never been exhibited in Hong Kong before, such as Kingsley Ng’s Musical Loom (2005), described in the press release as “a transformation of a 250-year-old antique loom into an interactive soundscape where visitors can control four-tone harmony and volumes via ultrasonic sensors”, and Amy Cheung’s life-size multimedia sculptures of Hong Kong taxis.

Amy Cheung, 'Down the Rabbit Hole 'TAXI!' says Alice', 2004, wood, metal, plastic, wheels and mirror, 4.5m x 1.5m x 1.7m. Image courtesy the artist and M+ Museum for Visual Culture, Hong Kong.

Amy Cheung, ‘Down the Rabbit Hole ‘TAXI!’ says Alice’, 2004, wood, metal, plastic, wheels and mirror, 4.5m x 1.5m x 1.7m. Image courtesy the artist and M+ Museum for Visual Culture, Hong Kong.

The “Eye”: expanding horizons

The “Hong Kong Eye” exhibition is curated by Chang Tsong-zung, Director of Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong; Serenella Ciclitira, the Founder of Parallel Contemporary Art; and Nigel Hurst, Gallery Director and Chief Executive of Saatchi Gallery, London. In an interview with Time Out Hong Kong, Chang commented,

With this opportunity I want to try and recast the narrative of Hong Kong art. Hong Kong art is seen to be a minor corner of the art of mainland China, and inconsequential compared to Taiwan. We need a fresh take in order to put Hong Kong in a bigger picture.

MAP Office, 'Island is Land', 2009, still from single video projection, 30 sec loop. Image courtesy the artists.

MAP Office, ‘Island is Land’, 2009, still from single video projection, 30 sec loop. Image courtesy the artists.

“Hong Kong Eye” is the third exhibition in the “Eye” series, following “Korean Eye” (2012) and “Indonesian Eye” (2011). The Eye Initiative, founded by David and Serenella Ciclitira of Parallel Contemporary Art, has held eleven major exhibitions worldwide over the past four years.

Fiona Wong Lai Ching, 'Flowers Drop', 2003, glazed terracotta, 26 x 8 x 5 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Fiona Wong Lai Ching, ‘Flowers Drop’, 2003, glazed terracotta, 26 x 8 x 5 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

“Hong Kong Eye” artists

The 24 exhibiting artists in “Hong Kong Eye” are:

 LZ/CN/KN/HH

Related Topics: Hong Kong artists, Hong Kong contemporary art scene, touring exhibitions

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more on Hong Kong contemporary art


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.