Large-scale digital art installation “Voyages” on the façade of H Queen’s building gave passers-by a taste of Hong Kong’s new cultural hub.
The 24-storey development, specially designed by William Lim of CL3 Architects to house art galleries, is set to be completed in late 2017 in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s annual art month in March 2017 saw art enthusiasts flocking to the city. With art fairs such as Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central drawing massive crowds, the city positioned itself as a cultural hub in Asia and hosted a number of satellite exhibitions. In light of the burgeoning art market in the region, international art galleries have been planning to expand and set up new exhibition spaces.
“Voyages” – a large-scale digital installation featuring video artworks by renowned artists teamLab (Pace Gallery), İnci Eviner (Pearl Lam Galleries), Zhao Zhao (Tang Contemporary Art) and Sputniko! (Whitestone Gallery) – was on view at H Queen’s (HQ) from 16 March to 26 March 2017.
The installation, made up of approximately 200 LED screens, was 6.5 metres tall and 8 metres wide. It was displayed on the façade of H Queen’s (HQ) at 80 Queen’s Road Central, a busy location in the heart of Hong Kong’s central business district. This was the second public art programme of HQ , following last year’s “Time + Scale” by Frog King, Lam Tung-pang, Peggy Chan and seven other Hong Kong artists.
H Queen’s to provide tailor-made gallery spaces
The densely populated city, coupled with sky-high rent, presents a challenge for galleries in seeking for suitable locations. Recently, property developer Henderson Land partnered with CL3 Architects to construct a 24-storey building, which boasted multifunctional layouts, optimum floor-to-ceiling heights and expansive balconies to serve this purpose.
William Lim, Hong Kong-based architect and art collector, designed the building to accommodate a wide range of exhibition and entertainment needs. Currently, anchor tenants David Zwirner, Pace, Pearl Lam Galleries, Seoul Auction, Tang Contemporary Art Gallery, Whitestone Gallery and Le Comptoir fine dining group plan to open up new spaces in H Queen’s building.
In a press release (PDF download) released last year, Kristine Li, Deputy General Manager of Henderson Leasing Agency Company Limited, who is also the granddaughter of founder Lee Shau-kee, said:
When it is complete in mid-2017, H Queen’s will offer Hong Kong audiences the greatest concentration of art in Central.
The large-scale digital installation featured video art by artists teamLab, İnci Eviner, Zhao Zhao and Sputniko!. Art Radar takes a look at these works.
1. Gold Waves (2017) — teamLab
Gold Waves (2017), a digital work by artist collective teamLab, was presented by Pace Gallery. In this work, the movement of waves in water is simulated in a computer-generated, three-dimensional space. After calculating the interactions of hundreds of thousands of particles, the water is expressed as a continuous body. Lines are drawn in relation to the movement of the particles to show their behaviour in water. The wave created in a 3-D virtual space is then turned into an artwork in accordance with what teamLab refers to as “ultrasubjective” space.
teamLab, founded in 2001 in Tokyo by Toshiyuki Inoko, is an interdisciplinary group of ultra-technologists whose collaborative practice seeks to navigate the confluence of art, technology, design and the natural world. Rooted in the tradition of ancient Japanese art and contemporary forms of anime, teamLab operates from a distinctly Japanese sense of spatial recognition, investigating human behaviour in the information era and proposing innovative models for societal development.
Their works can be found in the permanent collection of Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul; The Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; The Asia Society Museum, New York; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
2. Ordinary Condition (2016) — İnci Eviner
Ordinary Condition (2016) by Turkish artist İnci Eviner was presented by Pearl Lam Galleries. This three-channel video work focuses on the concept of masculinity and investigates the impact of this notion on both men and women in everyday life. The video depicts a series of repetitive and disjointed scenes in a barren, otherworldly landscape. The scenes include a man crying, a canary hiding in a tunnel and a crowd investigating the site of a bomb explosion.
Eviner, born in 1956 in Ankara, Turkey, is known for her drawings, performances and video works that explore themes of desire, gender and power. She is interested in investigating the idea of power, which men hold over women and the female body. Much of Eviner’s work is inspired by American philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler, who theorised that we all “perform” our gender and that neither masculinity nor femininity is inherent.
Eviner’s works have been widely exhibited locally and internationally at The Drawing Center, New York, USA; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France; Galeri Nev, Istanbul, Turkey; MAC/VAL, Vitry-sur-Seine, France; and Mizuma Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. She participated in group exhibitions at Gandy Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia; MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts, USA; Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, France; and Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany.
3. Project Taklamakan (2015-2016) — Zhao Zhao
A specially edited edition of Project Taklamakan (2015-2016) by Chinese artist Zhao Zhao was presented by Tang Contemporary Art. This was a video work documenting his 2015 project in Xinjiang’s Taklamakan Desert. The artist and his team of 30 people travelled 4,000 kilometres from Beijing with a 100-km 4-corecable and a refrigerator. Zhao Zhao played the roles of a contractor and an advertising director during strict government inspections at the border of this remote region in an attempt to pass them. After arriving in Tailun, Zhao Zhao and his team connected the electricity to a household in the Uighur community, then trailed the cable out towards the centre of the desert.
The 23-day journey used ten transformers, in order to prevent any losses in power transmission. In the end, the 100-km cable successfully powered a double-door refrigerator full of Sinkiang (Xinjiang) Beer for 24 hours in one of the world’s most expansive, uninhabited deserts. The work showcases Zhao Zhao’s interventions in society through interacting with the Uighur family, sourcing funding for the project and passing the strict government inspections as part of the project.
Born in 1982 in Xinjiang, Zhao Zhao was the former assistant to Ai Weiwei and is now regarded as a significant figure among the young Post-80s generation of contemporary Chinese artists. He is known for his anti-authoritarian and non-conformist works, which confront existing ideological structures and exercise the power of individual free will in his work.
4. The Moonwalk Machine – Selena’s Step (2013) — Sputniko!
The Moonwalk Machine – Selena’s Step (2013) by British-Japanese artist Sputniko! was presented by Whitestone Gallery. The installation features fictional protagonist Selena, who invents a lunar rover rigged with high-heels. She hopes to leave her marks on the surface of the moon. An image of super heroine “Lunar Girl”, the idealised version of the character which Selena wanted to become, is shown in the installation.
The lunar rover machine, inspired by the conversations with engineers and specialists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, is designed to leave high-heel marks firmly on the moon’s surface. The work embodies a mixture of science and fiction, and is based on the story of a real-life amateur scientist – a 13-year-old girl – who succeeded in launching a Hello Kitty doll aboard a rubber balloon into the stratosphere. The notion of female empowerment is explored in this piece.
Born in 1985, Sputniko! is based in Boston and Tokyo. She is known for her film and multimedia installation works inspired by how technology changes society and people’s values, with a focus on gender issues. Her works have been exhibited at the 2016 Setouchi Art Trienniale; ZKM Art Center, Germany; Mori Art Museum, Japan; and Victoria & Albert Museum, United Kingdom.
- “Time, Light, Japan”: Japanese art from the 1990s to now at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney – April 2017 – “Time, Light, Japan” at the Art Gallery of New South Wales explores the cyclical nature of time through video, photography, sound and installation
- Preview: sound and digital art highlights from Sónar Festival Istanbul – March 2017 – music and digital arts festival Sónar comes to Istanbul for the first time
- Where art and science meet: “Lucida & Lucida II” by Suki Chan at CFCCA Manchester – in pictures – March 2017 – Suki Chan’s “Lucida & Lucida II” at CFCCA looks to the rich territory that can be explored when art and science meet
- Chinese artist Fu Wenjun’s “digital painting photography” at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing – in pictures – March 2017 – Chinese contemporary artist Fu Wenjun’s experimentation with photography is on display in Beijing until 19 March 2017
- “Presence of Whiteness”: Chinese artist Zhu Jinshi at Pearl Lam Galleries, Singapore – March 2017 – “Presence of Whiteness” features the work of Chinese artist Zhu Jinshi across Pearl Lam Galleries’ two spaces in Singapore
Subscribe to Art Radar for more on contemporary art exhibitions in Hong Kong