Month: December 2016

A Vision in ink

Following the success of the inaugural Ink Asia fair last year, expectations for the second edition are high. Artomity talked to its director Calvin Hui about the cultural aspirations and market vision driving the world’s first art fair dedicated to modern and contemporary ink. By Charlotte Chang What was the concept behind creating a fair specialising in ink art?  From the beginning I was not only concerned about the market but also strove to define a mission. I have long been a collector and lover of contemporary ink, because I think ink is the most important language of our cultural tradition. But I felt that resources in this field in China were often not put to good use. The DNA of ink culture – its core spirit – is in our blood as Chinese people. I knew that this shared cultural understanding would allow a fair dedicated to ink to build a very strong connection with the audience. I believed that, coupled with the steadily increasing popularity of ink art in the region, commercial success would follow. How does Ink …

Ko Sin Tung & Stephanie Sin

Form Simultaneity 100ft Park, Hong Kong, Sep 29 – Oct 30, 2016 By John Batten Upstairs in a nondescript tong lau walk-up tenement building on a busy Sham Shui Po market street selling cheap electronics is 100ft Park, a small exhibition space organised by a group of three artists and arts workers. The space is supported by an architect whose office is unseen from the front of the unit, with access through a semi-concealed door. The exhibition area is a little bigger than the 100 sqft space the artists previously had in Sheung Wan space – but not by much. Ko Sin Tung and Stephanie Sin’s Form Simultaneity recreates two exterior forms familiar to anyone who has walked around Hong Kong. The entire exhibition space is covered in tarpaulin for Ko’s installation Standing (in the old ways), giving the impression of a construction site. Placed around the room are three piles of posters, each featuring a different image of an exterior wall that bears an outline of an adjacent demolished building. The top poster of each pile has been …

Nadim Abbas

Chimera Antenna Space, Shanghai, Nov 9 – Jan 10, 2017 By Nooshfar Afnan For his first solo show at Antenna Space in Shanghai, Nadim Abbas again draws heavily on the space between science and fiction. This time an image of the common cold virus, which has caught his attention for some time, becomes the point of departure. On entering the main exhibition space, Human Rhinovirus 14 (2016) bombards the visitor’s senses with the glow of floating beach balls in the air, and the sound of the centrifugal blower fans that keep them up. Abbas projects a visual mock-up of the common cold virus onto the floating balls, creating something between an image and an object. He wanted to translate his near obsession with this image of the virus into a work of art; after lengthy research he decided to use several 3D molecular visualisation programs, one of which, Chimera, gives the show its title. The work straddles scientific enquiry and fiction, the real and the imagined. In contrast the next work in the exhibition, Chamber 667/668 (2016), is quiet, …

Mickalene Thomas

the desire of the other By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand In 1994, while an art student in Portland, Oregon, Mickalene Thomas chanced on artist Carrie Mae Weems’s iconic Kitchen Table Series hanging in the Portland Art Museum. The series of black-and-white photographs depicted Weems at her kitchen table playing cards; smoking; sitting with her lover; reading with her daughter; doing her make-up. The artist played out these roles of mother, lover, friend and daughter, photographing herself over a year from 1989-90. They are mundane daily activities, but crucially they represent the intersection of art and the political, exploring power relations and cultural and racial identity through the portrayal of black women. “It was the first time I saw work by an African-American female artist that reflected myself and called upon a familiarity of family dynamics and sex and gender,” Thomas recalls. The historically significant series paved the way for generation of female artists to reimagine and represent themselves through their work. Among them was Thomas, who found the inspiration she needed to dedicate herself to becoming an …

Gender Matters

By Ellen Oredsson “I’m so happy you can see that this is really an exhibition about gender,” says curator Tang Ying Chi when I speak to her about What Do You Want For Tomorrow?, currently on display at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Although all 12 participating artists, including curators Tang and Wong Wo Bik, are women, only one of them refers directly to gender issues in her work. Part of the fourth annual Hong Kong International Photo Festival, the exhibition showcases a variety of subject matter, rapidly shifting in tone and medium. A Hong Kong perspective is woven through it: Zoe Chu Wing Man’s Tin Ha Tai Ping features cinematic photographs of urban landscapes covered in drawings lit up like neon signs, while Gretchen So’s Ten Thousand Messages couples her shots of deserted areas of Hong Kong with online discussions to create community engagement. Gender, as an issue, is almost invisible. Tang’s work is, of course, the exception. It’s not the first time she has addressed gender in the art world, having organised female-focused exhibitions …

Eason Tsang

Powerless  Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong, Jul 9 – Aug 27, 2016 By Caroline Ha Thuc For his first solo show in Hong Kong, Eason Tsang Ka Wai continues and deepens his exploration of cityscapes and local architecture, playing on scales and perception to question the place of human beings in our contemporary urban society. With more focus on the details of daily life, coupled with hints of humour, and with a broader scope of media involved, the exhibition appears as a rich but uneven experimental platform. Curated by Leo Chen Li, the exhibition space is divided into two parts representing day and night, or external and inner spaces. In between, a set of flashy orange wires connects them in a clever, original way. The concept of duality is very much present in all of Tsang’s works. In his previous photographic series, such as Landmark (2012), space was divided into infinite sky and high buildings, highlighting the smallness of humans in the context of nature and also of their own constructions. In Floral Fabric (2013-14), the artist underlined …

Pun Kwok Ling

Writopia and the Spell of Disappearance By Evangeline Man Pun Kwok Ling’s novel Writopia and the Spell of Disappearance, published in July, examines the writing of literature in the contemporary world. A love letter to literature, it is reminiscent of Écrire (“Writing”) by French writer Marguerite Duras. The story moves between two worlds: Writopia, a land withdrawn from reality, which consists of a nursing home filled with characters, archetypes and scenes; and Sand City, a real-world extension of writer Xi Xi’s Floating City that has been eroded by the expansion of capitalism, and that was once inhabited by the writer, the male Yau Yau, and the editor, the female Yau Yau, with the male Yau Yau eventually disappearing. The two worlds run in parallel, but are interlinked and involved, and converse with each other. Writopia exists as an alternate universe of the writing community of Sand City. The fictional and the real spaces oscillate and overlap to create a unique allegory. Writopia is also the mental projection of the female Yau Yau’s interpretation of the real Sand City. She is led into Writopia …