All posts tagged: Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand

Rachel Kneebone

Ovid in Exile By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand British sculptor Rachel Kneebone forges the human condition out of clay. The great meta-narratives of humanity – creation and destruction, life and death, renewal, love, suffering, heaven and hell, the limitations and possibilities of the human body – are all tackled in her sculptures. It is a biblical, monumental endeavour. Aptly named, Kneebone creates architectural structures of white porcelain resembling towers or sculpture-like crypts of small bones, or tangles of roots or vines. The violent entanglement of limbs might be ripped straight out of Dante’s Inferno. She turned porcelain – a material associated with the decorative figurines and tea sets of the bourgeoisie – into the boundary-defying installation 399 Days at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London this year. The colossal sculpture, her largest to date, is a towering, epic explosion of limbs, flowers, spheres and genitalia. Fragments of the human body are intertwined, clambering and cascading down. They recall Rodin’s The Gates of Hell – her work was exhibited alongside the artist’s in 2012 at the Brooklyn Museum – or an erotic Tower of Babel, …

Samson Young

Songs for Disaster Relief Venice Biennale 2017 May 13 – Nov 26, 2017 Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand With over a decade of practice, artist Samson Young has made audiences question and examine their relationship to sound and music, and their relationship to history, politics and identity through sound. Young is a product of a certain time and place. Born in 1979 in Hong Kong, he grew up under British colonial rule in the city, and moved with his family to Sydney after the handover to China in 1997, fearing the worst of Chinese rule in Hong Kong less than a decade after the Tiananmen Square massacre. In the 20 years since the handover, the people of Hong Kong have constantly reassessed what it means to be a Hongkonger, and are undergoing the self-scrutiny of a nation whose identity is in flux. Trained in classical music composition, and generally described as a sound artist, Young has explored the relationship between mainland China and Hong Kong by recording sounds in the border area separating the two, arranging them into sonic compositions and then transcribing them in graphic …

Howard Hodgkin

In the Pink Gagosian Gallery Hong Kong Jan 19 – Mar 11, 2017 By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand I never interviewed Howard Hodgkin, who passed away on March 9 aged 84. The artist didn’t like to talk about his paintings, or attempt to explain them into relevance, although for the purpose of this review I’m going to do just that. Hodgkin’s paintings aren’t about narrative or words. He didn’t paint figuratively, nor was his work grounded in the conceptual or the ideological. What he did was more transcendent. He brought the interior world of memory and emotion to life with colour, making that which can’t be articulated tangible and physical through paint. One of the UK’s most celebrated painters, Hodgkin’s career spanned 50 years and included winning the Turner Prize in 1985 and representing Britain at the 1984 Venice Biennale. But In the Pink, his first and only exhibition at Gagosian Hong Kong, from January 19 to March 11 – featuring 23 paintings, mostly small in size, that play with varied formal elements – was suggestive …

Marco Brambilla

Theater Simon Lee Gallery Hong Kong, Sep 9 – Oct  4, 2016 By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand The merry-go-round symphony of Prokofiev’s Cinderella Waltz sweeps you up into a dizzying vortex of imagery. Fragments of Hollywood films – culled from the The Sound of Music, The Big Lebowski, Eyes Wide Shut, the Austin Powers films, The Terminator and more than 400 others – dance past in a frenetic choreographed collage of totemic tableaux depicting heaven and hell. Good and evil are informed by popular culture: a horned red devil and a fire-and-brimstone orgy of naked bodies writhing atop one another versus fluffy kittens, unicorns and Julie Andrews. You are still and weightless, floating in the middle of it all like an astronaut, watching the imagery orbit around you in a repetitive cycle that recalls Dante’s Divine Comedy juxtaposed with Charles and Ray Eames’ films Powers of Ten. This is Marco Brambilla’s Creation (2012), a four-minute virtual-reality spectacle. Visual whiplash is guaranteed. Virtual reality takes us beyond the confines of the television screen and right into that screen, broadening our sensory engagement with …

Danh Vō

Solo show. White Cube, Hong Kong, Sep 7 – Nov 12, 2016 By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand What do demonic possession, Pleistocene mammoth bones, a crusader sword and a Budweiser carton have in common? On first appearances, nothing at all. By installing them across two floors in White Cube Gallery, Vietnamese-Danish artist Danh Vō seems to be playing a practical joke on his audience. On the ground floor sits the installation Lick me, Lick me – a quote from the film The Exorcist (1973) – comprising a fragment of a Roman marble sculpture from the first century AD placed atop a modern refrigerator encasing a French wooden sculpture of Christ from the 16th century. Several metres away, on the floor against the wall, is a gold-leafed Budweiser carton. It looks like forgotten debris from a gallery cocktail party, but peering inside reveals gold fragments of the stars and stripes. A handwritten letter by 19th-century French missionary Jean Theophane Vénard – copied expertly in beautiful calligraphy by Vo’s father – hangs at the bottom of a staircase. Vénard was sent to Vietnam …

Wang Zhibo

There is a place with four suns in the sky – red, white, blue and yellow at Edouard Malingue Gallery Aug 24  – Sep 14, 2016 By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand The disembodied head of Mickey Mouse floats before the striated background of a canvas alongside the head of a putto and several archeological finds. But Wang Zhibo isn’t another Chinese contemporary artist dredging up western iconography in an attempt at ironic kitsch. We’ve moved on from the Maos and the Marilyns and Mickeys, haven’t we? Let your eyes move across the canvases of the dozen paintings hung around Edouard Malingue Gallery and a more sinister narrative emerges. Part of China’s post-’80s generation, Wang gained attention for her unreal, isolated, dystopian landscapes, denuded of humanity. This time, in There is a place with four suns in the sky – red, white, blue and yellow, a title borrowed from Carl Sagan’s 1973 book The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective, there are figures everywhere, but they are disembodied, decapitated, their faces obscured, juxtaposed with incongruent images. The paintings flit …

Tsang Kin Wah

nothing By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand For someone who has built an art career out of them, Tsang Kin-wah is a man of very few words. Bookish, with thick glasses, the softly-spoken artist measures his words carefully, and it’s hard to hear him over the sounds of drilling and hammering in the newly opened M+ Pavilion. His exhibition, nothing, the pavilion’s inaugural show since it officially opened in July, is less than two weeks away. The space, situated on the Hong Kong harbour with a view of the vertical concrete-and-glass skyline, is still a construction site, with cranes encircling the building. Electrical cables snake their way across the exhibition space inside, and new metal-veneered columns have sprung up like towers in a futuristic city for the site-specific show. Soon the inside of the pavilion will be awash with glowing words and sound as the artist turns it into a walk-in installation. Thrust into the spotlight when he won the Sovereign Asian Art Prize in 2005, Tsang’s immersive text installations have since wound their way across the …

Wu Tsang

Duilian By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand In 2005, Massachusetts-born, LA-based performance artist Wu Tsang set off for China to trace her ethnic roots. Her father, who was born in Chongqing, fled China as a child with his journalist parents in 1949, on the cusp of the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War. They travelled through Hong Kong, the first port of call for thousands fleeing persecution and fearing the onset of the Communist regime, and made their way to the US. Almost 70 years later, Tsang took the same journey back to China, and it was to prove serendipitous creatively. “I grew up in a white American part of the States. We were the only Asians, so I had a mythical notion of my heritage,” she says.  Coming across the story of Qiu Jin led to a decade of research and artistic discovery. “I had an awakening,” she says. “I researched everything I could about her.” Poet, feminist and queer revolutionary Qiu is regarded as a heroine in China, but in 1907 she was far …