Hong Kong’s landmark month of art may be experiencing a significant lull compared to previous years, with the recent cancellations of major art fairs such as Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central. That said, it’s all the more reason to support the local gallery community, which continues going strong with plenty of worthwhile exhibitions to catch. Fill your March calendar with these exceptional art shows in Hong Kong.
Justin Wong Chiu-tat: Normal Life
When: Through 14 March
Hong Kong comic writer and artist Justin Wong Chiu-tat showcases his vision of an alternate universe in Hong Kong at this exhibition at A Concept Gallery. Through the artist’s uniquely ambiguous and quirky visual language, each piece captures the paradoxical sense of our society’s strive to achieve normalcy. Like little treasure hunts in themselves, you can spend an afternoon browsing the intriguing landscapes, making out the alternative storylines suggested through Wong’s stagelike landscapes.
A Concept Gallery, 1C, Kingearn Building, 24-26 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong
Zao Wou-ki: Friendship and Reconciliation
When: 20 March–September
Opening Villepin gallery this month with a bang is a showcase of works by the late superstar painter Zao Wou-ki, known best for his work in bridging the gap between eastern and western paint traditions, reflecting this idea of friendship and reconciliation throughout the exhibition. The show traces his oeuvre with rare pieces from the 1940s — when Zao was a drawing instructor in Mainland China — towards the early 2000s, after he fully stepped into his most recognised chapter of abstract and gestural works. Villepin is headed by former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and his son Arthur de Villepin, who have been longtime supporters of the local art scene.
Villepin, G-2/F, 53-55 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
Chow Chun-fai: Portraits from Behind
When: 14 March–16 May
Deeply disturbed and anguished throughout the several months of political unrest in 2019, Hong Kong painter Chow Chun-fai took to his canvases to replicate the protest scenes seen in the news. Painted in mostly small-format works, Chow’s new exhibition is a stark move from perhaps his best known series, ‘Painting on Movies’ where he selected scenes from classic local and international films, painted with the corresponding subtitles as commentary on Hong Kong’s identity as a former British colony.
Gallery Exit, 3/F, 25 Hing Wo Street, Tin Wan, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Tugo Cheng: Water & Earth
When: Through 22 March
Held at Harbour City’s Gallery by the Harbour, this pop-up exhibition features the painterly compositions of award-winning photographer Tugo Cheng. With a fine art photographer’s aesthetic and an architect’s eye, a drone and his camera, Cheng has taken to the backyard of China to document its greatest wonders: paddy fields, salt plains, fisheries and mountainscapes.
Gallery by the Harbour, Shop 207, 2/F, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Crowning Glory: The Beauty of Ladies’ Ornaments from Asia and Europe
When: Through 2 May
Liang Yi Museum’s latest exhibition has been extended through to May, so fine art and antique aficionados will want to make time to visit the Sheung Wan space. Following on from its previous show, ‘Chrysanthemum and Dragon: The Art of Ornamentation in Japan and China in the 17th – 19th Century’ which was the private museum’s debut of its recently acquired Japanese collection, ‘Crowning Glory’ reveals further gems, with a selection showcasing the design, craftsmanship and heritage of objects d’art owned by and made for women.
Liang Yi Museum, 181 – 199 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
When: 12 March–30 April
Celebrating International Women’s Day all month and spreading a message of solidarity with the United Nations’ #HeForShe campaign of championing gender equality, Opera Gallery’s March exhibition invites Manolo Valdez for his first solo show in Hong Kong. The Valencia-born artist is one of Spain’s masters known for his versatile craft, creating cross-media works from drawing to sculpture, taking female icons throughout time and mythology as his muse and reworking artistic canons established by modern masters such as Velázquez, Matisse and Brancusi.
Opera Gallery, W Place, 52 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong
The Lost Time Travel Machine
When: Through 31 March
Angela Yuen’s lively kinetic installation made with vintage Hong Kong-made toys turned heads at last year’s Art Central presentation, and extends into a full series exhibition at Contemporary by Angela Li Gallery this March. Her works bring a sense of nostalgia with the use of carefully sourced vintage toys — a remnant of Hong Kong’s former prized industry as plastic toy manufacturer of the world — and harks back to a period of growth during the city’s golden era of the 70s and 80s.
Contemporary by Angela Li, G/F, 248 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Tatsuhito Horikoshi: Happy City
When: Through 8 March
A2Z Art Gallery injects a much-needed dose of optimism and naivete in these trying times in Hong Kong, with a solo show of paintings by Tatushito Horikoshi. The Japanese artist is greatly inspired by the introspective, psychological aspect of shoujo manga, which translates into his portraits as inward-looking characters who exude an air of melancholy, despite their serene and positive postures. Looking for art that will feel like therapy? You’ll want to check out this show before it wraps up on 8 March.
A2Z Art Gallery, 41 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong
ASHK x HKAGA Outdoor Sculpture and Installation Exhibition
When: 26 March–26 April
Despite the cancellations of major art fairs this month in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association is stepping up to champion the local gallery scene. In a laudable collaborative effort, the HKAGA has teamed up with Asia Society Hong Kong to host a large scale outdoor sculpture and installation show featuring works from partner galleries. While the confirmed participating galleries and spotlighted artists are still yet to be announced, make sure to save the date for 28 March for an Art Talk and Picnic that will be hosted at the gorgeous Asia Society Hong Kong centre.
Asia Society Hong Kong, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Armando Salas Portugal: Emotional Architecture
When: Through 24 March
In addition to Happy Valley’s F11 Foto Museum and Wan Chai’s F22 Foto Space, a new photography-led art space joins Douglas So’s family of shutterbug paradises. Inaugurating the new F22 Peninsula gallery at The Peninsula Arcade in Tsim Sha Tsui is a showcase of works by Mexican photographer Armando Salas Portugal. The show features 19 stunning works, each spotlighting the most important structural marvels by fellow countryman and architect Luis Barragán.
F22 Peninsula, Shop W16 & W18, The Peninsula Arcade, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong