In this current time of political unease and uncertainty, art is always a form of solace as well as powerful expression. Explore the best of Hong Kong’s art scene this July with our picks of 10 must-see art exhibitions below.
It’s your last chance this month to view some 50 remarkable paintings from the Yitao Collection -- a vast and important collection of Chinese masterpieces dating back to the Qing dynasty, owned by the Sun Museum founder’s very own Dr. Simon Suen. You’ll find works from the ‘Four Monks’ of the early Qing dynasty including Bada Shanren and Shitao; 20th Century Chinese painting reformists such as Gao Jianfu and Xu Beihong; as well as masters who have become household names over recent decades, such as Qi Baishi and Zhang Daqian. For a succinct timeline and survey of how such Chinese masters have portrayed an enchanting utopia throughout the ages, there’s no better exhibition this month to visit. The Sun Museum is closed on Sundays, Mondays and public holidays.
Taking place across neighbouring galleries Lehmann Maupin (through 6 July only) and Massimo de Carlo, American artist McArthur Binion presents a collection of works for the very first time in Asia. The septuagenarian is an esteemed artist increasingly gaining international traction. A contemporary of New York artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Brice Marden and Sol LeWitt, Binion’s works have developed through the decades from gestural abstraction to more colourful and geometric work. In the mid-90s, Binion began incorporating his personal mementos into his work, assembling pieces that contained snippets of his own history -- from his personal address book to his birth certificate, to family photos layered between painted grids. This practice continues into his latest body of work, ‘Hand:Work:II.’
McArthur Binion: Hand:Work:II
Gagosian Hong Kong is home to flowery cloisonné chaise lounges and desks, as well as Czech-made cast glass chairs this summer. Designer and former jeweller and silversmith Marc Newson presents, for the first time, his ‘limited-edition’ furniture pieces in this part of the world. Obsessed with stylising anachronisms for the modern world, Newson adopts various intricate processes of craftsmanship to create his pieces, blurring the lines between sculpture, furniture and the decorative arts.
With the refreshed face of West Kowloon Art Park, the art district is fast becoming one of the city’s most relaxing areas for a sunny stroll. One further reason to check out this corner of the harbour is none other than M+ Pavilion’s latest exhibition, ‘Five Artists: Sites Encountered.’ Focusing on international female artists with works spanning from the 1960s onwards, visitors will find an array of sculptures, moving image pieces and installations that prompt the viewer to contemplate their historical and geographical contexts and their sense of belonging in the world. M+ Pavilion is open Wednesdays to Sundays and on public holidays only.
French painter André Brasilier paints genteel and carefree subjects, inspired by the natural world as well as his muse and wife, Chantal Brasilier. Celebrating his 90th birthday this year, Brasilier presents an expansive retrospective of important works at Opera Gallery, featuring artworks dating back to 1958. Simplistic, romantic and colourful scenes that straddle the worlds of abstraction and expressionism, art lovers who prefer a soothing subject matter will no doubt be drawn to his works. Keen investors may also want to take a peek -- Brasilier’s works have risen in value by 557 percent over the last five years via the secondary auction market.
Misty, monochrome canvases fill the walls of the brand new Axel Vervoordt space in Wong Chuk Hang, bringing on the third solo presentation of the late Raimund Girke at the gallery. ‘The Silent Balance’ features momentous examples from across Girke’s evolving oeuvre. Whether through his airy, large format works or his darker, more intimate paintings, they all featuring the constant motif of lines, representing the silent balance between yin and yang.
This summer, Pearl Lam Galleries at Pedder Building is putting the spotlight on Pang Tao, a Chinese female artist who is now considered one of the earliest artists to explore the medium of abstract painting. Born in 1934 as the daughter of two members of early Chinese avant garde art group Storm Society (jue lan she), Pang was largely ignored throughout historical contexts of Chinese contemporary art despite being devoted to modern art since her childhood. Retreating from the Cultural Revolution with a more conservative approach to art, Pang was among the first wave of artists sent to Europe to study art. This exhibition spans her early works inspired by socialist realist style, to her Revelation of Bronze series that flattened traditional bronzeware on canvas as an homage to her ancestral lineage.
Through his extensive study of human, animal and botanical forms, French artist Émeric Chantier urges viewers to contemplate humanity found in immobile figures. Here, intrigued by the crossing of Japanese and Chinese cultures as well as drawing from European artistry, Chantier’s bonsai plants break through porcelain vases as a symbol of nature’s unstoppable might against human industrialisation.
Para Site has a brand new group show, following on from ‘An Opera for Animals,’ which makes its way to Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum this summer. This latest exhibition features the works of 16 artists, exploring the fine line between stealing and sharing in the context of work -- and how it affects our perception of self identities within the fabric of contemporary society. ‘Bicycle Thieves’ is the brainchild of writer and curator Hanlu Zhang, who was selected from an international pool of submissions from Para Site’s annual Emerging Curators programme.
Ling Pui Sze and Cheung Tsz Hin join together for this two-phase exhibition at Sansiao Gallery, showcasing the fruits of their labour during a 2018 artist residency in the remote Icelandic village of Ólafsfjörður. In the sparsely populated town boasting only 800 residents, the two Hong Kong born-and-bred artists contemplated strange solitude and isolation compared to the buzzing city life in Hong Kong -- resulting in highly textural, cerebral and enchanting paintings.