“Duddell’s x Biennale of Sydney. Abstraction of the World” at Duddell’s, Hong Kong

Curated by Mami Kataoka, Artistic Director of the 21st Biennale of Sydney, the show explores the structure of cosmic space and the natural phenomena of the world.

The exhibition brings together three prominent artists from the Asia-Pacific region, whose works depict fundamental elements such as light and darkness, wind and rain, water and fire in abstract forms.

Installation view of George Tjungurrayi at "Duddell's x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World", 20 March - 10 July 2017, Duddell's, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

George Tjungurrayi, “Duddell’s x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World”, 20 March – 10 July 2017, installation view at Duddell’s, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

The exhibition “Duddell’s x Biennale of Sydney. Abstraction of the World” is curated by Mami Kataoka, the Artistic Director of the Biennale of Sydney’s 21st edition (2018). She has curated numerous exhibitions in her previous tenure as the Chief Curator of Mori Art Museum in Tokyo since 2003 and as International Curator at the Hayward Gallery in London from 2007 to 2009. Founded in 1973, the 21st edition of the Biennale of Sydney is slated to be held in March to June in 2018.

The current exhibition in Hong Kong features work by three prominent artists from the Asia-Pacific region: Mit Jai Inn, George Tjungurrayi and Haegue Yang, whose works explore abstract concepts of fundamental elements. The show is on view from 20 March 2017 to 10 July 2017 at Duddell’s, a Michelin two-star Cantonese fine dining venue which serves as an amalgam of cuisine and arts and culture.

Duddell’s is founded by Yenn Wong, Alan Lo and Paulo Pong in Hong Kong, with its interior designed by London-based designer Ilse Crawford. The exhibition is part of the Duddell’s Art Programme, which includes a year-round programme of shows spearheaded by cultural leaders Yana Peel, William Zhao and Chrissy Sharp, as well as film screenings and discussions.

Installation view of Mit Jai Inn at "Duddell's x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World", 20 March - 10 July 2017, Duddell's, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

Mit Jai Inn, “Duddell’s x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World”, 20 March – 10 July 2017, installation view at Duddell’s, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

Commenting on the show at Duddell’s, curator Mami Kataoka says (PDF download):

Abstraction of the World explores some of the diverse philosophies surrounding the essential elements of the universe, investigating a pursuit of meaning in abstraction that goes beyond modernist perspectives of abstract expressionism and minimal, conceptual art. It is a reflection of some of my early thinking about the 21st Biennale exhibition opening in March, 2018.

In a press release, Alan Lo, co-founder of Duddell’s remarked:

We are honoured to partner with the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018) on this project, and excited that Mami Kataoka, a globally renowned figure in the art world, has curated our new exhibition Duddell’s x Biennale of Sydney. Abstraction of the World. Duddell’s prides itself on presenting a programme of quality art events in collaboration with leading cultural institutions since its establishment in 2013, and this March, we are delighted to present a showcase of these artists from the Asia Pacific region

Installation view of Haegue Yang at "Duddell's x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World", 20 March - 10 July 2017, Duddell's, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

Haegue Yang, “Duddell’s x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World”, 20 March – 10 July 2017, installation view at Duddell’s, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

Fundamental Elements and Abstract Representation Across Cultures

Fundamental elements are often depicted by different cultures and civilisations as abstract forms. These elements include light and darkness, wind and rain, water and fire. These concepts are fluid and do not have fixed structures or form. In East Asian belief systems and folklore, such examples include Taijitu, Wuxing and I Ching trigrams. In various indigenous cultures around the world, philosophical concepts are also often depicted in an abstract manner. Art Radar takes a look at the work of these three artists.

Installation view of George Tjungurrayi at "Duddell's x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World", 20 March - 10 July 2017, Duddell's, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

George Tjungurrayi, “Duddell’s x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World”, 20 March – 10 July 2017, installation view at Duddell’s, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

1. George Tjungurrayi

Australian Aboriginal painter George Tjungurrayi was born in the 1940s in Kiwirrkurra, Western Australia. The Pintupi artist apprenticed as an artist at Papunya in the late 1970s. In the 1990s, he began painting minimalist linear patterns in abstract form, derived from the distinctive style of the Papunya Tula Artists of the Western Desert. These forms are often interpreted as motifs of the desert landscape. For Tjungurrayi, the characteristic patterns are also a reference to the invisible energy fields of his ancestral country and traditional stories deeply rooted in sacred law.

George’s work can be found in Australia and internationally in institutions such as the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Musée des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie, Paris; the Groninger Museum, The Netherlands; and the Seattle Art Museum, USA.

Installation view of Haegue Yang at "Duddell's x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World", 20 March - 10 July 2017, Duddell's, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

Haegue Yang, “Duddell’s x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World”, 20 March – 10 July 2017, installation view at Duddell’s, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

Installation view of Haegue Yang at "Duddell's x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World", 20 March - 10 July 2017, Duddell's, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

Haegue Yang, “Duddell’s x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World”, 20 March – 10 July 2017, installation view at Duddell’s, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

2. Haegue Yang

Berlin-based South Korean artist Haegue Yang was born in 1971 in Seoul, and moved to Germany in the 1990s. She works with a variety of media, such as collage and performance. Yang takes away the original context of domestic objects and reassembles them in abstract compositions. Her sculptural works and installations allude to the history of industrialisation and the socio-political implications behind.

In her “Non Foldings – Cosmic Explosion” series, she uses spray paint around various polyhedron paper objects. The shadows or memories of the forms left behind are like ghosts. The juxtaposition of black canvases against white canvases references cosmic energies and invisible forces, emphasising the interdependence of abstract concepts such as yin and yang.

Yang’s work was shown internationally in the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Hayward Gallery, London; Haus der Kunst, Munich; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; and the Bergen Kunsthall. They were also shown in Venice Biennale (2009), the Gwangju Biennial (2010) and the Taipei Biennial (2014).

Installation view of Mit Jai Inn at "Duddell's x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World", 20 March - 10 July 2017, Duddell's, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

Mit Jai Inn, “Duddell’s x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World”, 20 March – 10 July 2017, installation view at Duddell’s, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

Installation view of Mit Jai Inn at "Duddell's x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World", 20 March - 10 July 2017, Duddell's, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

Mit Jai Inn, “Duddell’s x Biennale of Sydney: Abstraction of the World”, 20 March – 10 July 2017, installation view at Duddell’s, Hong Kong. Image courtesy Duddell’s.

3. Mit Jai Inn

Thai artist Mit Jai Inn was born in 1960 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He is a pioneer of Thai contemporary art. His abstract paintings and sculptural works are vibrant in colour, while their spirituality is embedded in the works’ labour-intensive creation process. He studied at Silpakorn University in Bangkok in the 1980s and at the Academy of Arts in Vienna from the late 1980s to early 1990s.

His works have been shown internationally at the Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; SA SA BASSAC, Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Bangkok Art and Cultural Center, Bangkok, Thailand ; H Gallery, Chiang Mai; and at the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2012).

Valencia Tong

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Related Topics: Thai artists, Korean artists, Australian artists, installationevents in Hong Kong

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