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10 must-see art exhibitions in Hong Kong in November 2019

It’s not just the weather that’s starting to send a chill down our spine — this month’s roster of art shows run the gamut of explosive, spirited performance happenings to brutal investigations of the psyche in pitch darkness. From Daido Moriyama to Frog King, check out November’s top art exhibitions to see in Hong Kong.


Stephen Friedman Gallery Pop-up: Stephan Balkenhol & Andreas Eriksson

Stephan Balkenhol, ‘Man in Black Trousers’

When: 4–14 November

Ahead of its inaugural appearance at West Bund Art & Design in Shanghai, West End gallerist Stephen Friedman makes a pit stop in Hong Kong. Partnering with Hong Kong art dealership Ticolat Tamura, this pop-up exhibition presents the works of German sculptor Stephan Balkenhol and Swedish painter Andreas Eriksson for the first time together in Asia. 

Ticolat Tamura, 601 Printing House, 6 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3998 4147


Frog King: The Living Legend

Frog King, ‘Autumn Love Live Celebration’

When: 7 November–12 January

Frog King, aka Kwok Mang-ho, is Hong Kong’s most recognised performance artist. A new body of work is set to festoon the 10 Chancery Lane Gallery space, with his signature bold splashes of paint, stamped prints and unique calligraphy which blends Chinese and Western cultures. Originally trained in ink painting under the tutelage of ink master Lui Shou Kwan, Frog King’s persona emerged when he moved to New York’s East Village in the 1980s, created as an identity for him to wear and embody his art through wigs, layers of handpainted clothing, jewellery, and of course, his pièce de résistance, the handmade ‘Froggy sunglasses.’ 

10 Chancery Lane Gallery, 10 Chancery Lane, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2810 0065


City of Darkness by Greg Girard & Ian Lambot

Greg Girard, ‘Walled City, Tung Tau Tsuen Rd,’ Hong Kong 1987.
Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery.

When: 8 November–8 December 2019

It was home to 35,000 people at its peak and had no discernible governance, yet it thrived with makeshift essentials that catered to its residents from healthcare to religion — and hard drugs, if you wanted it. No other dystopian superstructure has been as revered and referenced throughout popular culture as the notorious Kowloon Walled City. Canadian and British photographers Greg Girard and Ian Lambot set about to document the ‘organic megastructure’ before it was demolished in 1994. Here at Blue Lotus Gallery, the duo will be exhibiting that seminal body of work which has reached cult acclaim. More info here.

Blue Lotus Gallery, G/F 28 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, + 852 5590 3229


Vibrant: Shozo Shimamoto x AU

When: Through 17 November

Osaka-born artist Shozo Shimamoto is credited as one of the co-founders of the original avant garde Gutai group in 1954. After the war, the group turned to the materiality of paint itself as a medium, working on the notion that creation goes hand in hand with destruction. Shimamoto was also part of the Mail art movement, where artists exchanged small artworks through the postal service. Through this correspondence, he was voted to become the Secretary General of the Artist Union, which was later renamed to the Art Unidentified group. This exhibition at Whitestone Gallery showcases the work of Shozo Shimamoto with pieces created through live performance from four AU members.

Whitestone Gallery Hong Kong, 8/F, H Queens, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, +852 2523 8001


Daido Moriyama 

Daido Moriyama, ‘Farewell Photography’ (1972-2012).
Courtesy of Simon Lee Gallery and Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo.
Photo: © Daido Moriyama Photo Foundation

When: 13 November–20 December

Daido Moriyama is idolised as the godfather of Japanese street photography thanks to his abrasive, radical and at times erotic lens on Tokyo in black and white. Citing Jack Kerouac’s On the Road as a major influence on his wandering spirit, he considers the journey as more important than the outcome. This survey show spans 50 years of his career, with examples of his infamous monochrome works on film of the city after dark as well as more recent digital colour images.

Simon Lee Gallery, Unit 304, 3/F, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Hong Kong


Para Site Annual Fundraising Auction

When: Viewing available through 14 November

The yearly fundraising auction for Para Site poses the opportunity to own exceptionally curated art, but also supports one of Hong Kong’s leading contemporary art incubators in their upcoming activities. Catch the collection of 90 donated works — sourced from local and international artists and galleries — with pieces such as the bright landscapes by essayist and painter Etel Adnan to shrouded NBA players in Paul Pfeiffer’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse series; as well as local luminaries Firenze Lai and Ellen Pau. The live auction will take place at a gala dinner on 15 November, while pieces are available for online bidding at Paddle8. Preview pieces in person at Soho House Hong Kong from 6–14 November.

Soho House Hong Kong, 8/F, 33 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong


Massimo Antonaci: Retrospective

When: Through 16 November

Rossi Martino (Rossi & Rossi’s European arts division) presents works by Italian artist Massimo Antonaci that trace his early glass installations to recent works on papyrus. The genre-crossing pieces reveal the artist’s evolution as an artist, poet and philosopher, completed as he travelled throughout his career on several pilgrimages in search of metaphysical meaning. It is his second show with the gallery in Asia.  

Rossi & Rossi, 3/F Yally Industrial Building, 6 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, +852 3575 9417


Play. Boredom. Worship.

Work by Vunkwan Tam, ‘Are you addicted to caffeine, nicotine and the idea of the city as a metaphor for your body?”

When: Through 24 November 

Eaton HK’s contemporary art space Tomorrow Maybe presents a multi-sensory exhibition with new artworks from six emerging Hong Kong artists. Each artist has worked with curators Alex Yiu and Suze Chan to reflect on the idea of ‘Profanation’. According to the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, it is an act of taking sacred things from the gods and turning it into mortal usage. This exhibition is the result of these artists’ kaleidoscope of interpretations.

Tomorrow Maybe, 4/F Eaton HK, 380 Nathan Road, Jordan, Hong Kong, +852 2710 1947


Christy Chow: :\She_Borg>

Christy Chow, ‘Flood’ (2018)

When: Through 30 November

This solo exhibition of new installations and mixed media works by Hong Kong artist Christy Chow poses questions on ethics and gender in the artificial intelligence era. Presenting works created during her artist’s residency in Germany, Chow reinvents the concept of a female cyborg, commonly seen as sexualised forms in popular culture. She tackles the subject with humour and critique, focusing on the cybernetic transformation of women today, and how humans navigate physiological and perceptive limitations.

A Concept Gallery, Flat 1C, Kingearn Building, 24-26 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2547 9115


The Bare Life: Philippe Grandrieux

Philippe Grandrieux, ‘The Scream’ (2019).
Image courtesy of the artist and Empty Gallery
Image credit: Michael Yu

When: Through 30 November

Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s theories come to life again in this exhibition at Aberdeen’s black box The Empty Gallery. Philippe Grandreiux drew inspiration from the theorist’s notion of the ‘sacred man’ to create a series of moving image works that fashion the gallery into house of horrors of sorts. The exhibition is a haunting place between dream and nightmare, where primordial shadows and twisting, life-sized bodies act out curious choreographies. Upstairs, ‘The Scream (2019)’ is a piece created especially for the gallery, where the viewer is surrounded by a sequence of eleven staggered projections to create the sensation of blurred time. Downstairs, themes of anxiety, violence and intimacy come to life in three single-channel works.

The Empty Gallery, 18th & 19th Floor Grand Marine Center, 3 Yue Fung Street, Tin Wan, Aberdeen, Hong Kong, +852 2563 3396

Evelyn Lok
Managing Editor
When not trying out the latest beauty and wellness trends, Evelyn is likely enjoying a perfectly balanced negroni or exploring some of Hong Kong's best new places to eat and drink. At Lifestyle Asia she covers everything from the biggest events in town to interviews with Hong Kong specialists, with topics spanning art, food and drink, health, tech, and travel.
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