A revolving-door list of current art exhibitions in Hong Kong; updated monthly for your convenience. Keep this page bookmarked!
An empty Sunday afternoon? Need recommendations for first- (or second-, or third-) date activity? Yearning for some artistic inspiration? Pencil down a list of your favourites from our round-up of the best art exhibitions in the city — and make a day out of it.
Rules and regulation in light of COVID-19 restrictions are ever-changing. As usual, please contact the galleries prior to visiting.
Sam Francis and Walasse Ting’s Celebrating a Friendship
When: 19 January – 20 March
Sam Francis and Walasse Ting are each prolific artists who worked within the realm of Abstract expressionism — the former whose work with clear stylistic cues from Jackson Pollock; the latter, a bright, pop-art influence. Shown together for the first time, the ‘Celebrating a Friendship’ exhibition, in honour of Alisan Fine Arts’ 40th anniversary, delves not only into Francis and Ting’s individual bodies of work, but also the myriads of ways in which the two artists’ lifelong friendship — having met in New York in the 1950s — have influenced the other’s style, subject and execution.
Alisan Fine Arts Central, 21/F Lyndhurst Tower, 1 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2526 1091
Breakthrough 2020: Master of Art in Hong Kong
When: Through 10 March
We’ve waxed rhapsodic about the terrible fortunes that have befallen 2020; COVID-19, then, sets the backdrop for this exhibition — a seven-way joint show between Hong Kong artists Chu Tat Shing, Lam Tianxing, Eddie Liu, Wong Sau Ching, Shen Ping, Lam Man Kong and Hui Yan Ki. A homage to the importance of art and artistic renderings as both a balm that comforts us in times of turmoil and as a lens from which we understand the world, this exhibition contains work created in the midst of the pandemic, as well as past works that have since taken on new meaning.
Art of Nature Contemporary Gallery, Room 2101-06, 21/F, Mega Trade Centre, 1 Mei Wan Street, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2416 3632
Raoul De Keyser
When: 15 January – 6 March
The late Raoul De Keyser’s modus operandi spans over fifty years; for his first solo exhibition in Greater China, the works on show at David Zwirner Hong Kong are derived from the last twenty-five years of De Keyser’s career. Flitting between ideas of abstraction and figuration, De Keyser’s self-taught aesthetic explores lines crossed between colour, form and the evocation of feeling through shapes and strokes that suggest rather than declare.
On view, too, as a complementary piece to De Keyser’s painterly creations is ‘New Visions: After De Keyser’, an exclusive online viewing experience that brings the late Belgian painter in dialogue with legions of contemporary artists whose work have been influenced — directly or otherwise — by him.
David Zwirner, 5-6/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, +852 2119 5900
When: 18 January – 21 February
‘Cosmic Girl’ is the name of artist Okokume’s emblematic mascot; a child-like spirit with turquoise skin, pink hair and a signature doe-eyed gaze. This pop-surrealist character was first ideated six years ago; first as an eco-warrior evangelist for promoting issues of sustainability and the environment. Now, Cosmic Girl has taken on a life of her own with a pop-up café in Harajuku in 2019, and now, as an extension of Okokume’s own persona. ‘Inside’ — Okokume’s third solo exhibition in Hong Kong — is her most personal yet, with the name of the show alluding to the artist’s interior life within her mind and emotions, all expressed through the vehicle of Cosmic Girl.
JPS Gallery Hong Kong, Landmark Atrium, Shops 218 – 219, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2682 6216
JM Robert’s You Rise
When: Through 27 February
JM Robert’s expressive range of portraits can easily be imagined spray-painted alongside a cobblestoned alleyway in Paris as much as pristine white gallery walls in Hong Kong. For his ‘You Rise’ exhibition at Art Supermarket, expect to see the French pop-artist’s signature scrapes and scratches, layered fluorescents and anonymous, superimposed visages etched in black.
When: Through 28 February
From Rick Owens’ Michèle Lamy to Gustav Klimt‘s Emilie Louise Flöge, the ‘muse’ has always held a sacred place in industries that require that extra dash of inspiration; one that, however anachronistic, has always held ties to the male gaze. The muse is relegated to the position of object-to-be-looked-at; without agency, voice or hand in the works they inspire. Inverting the narrative, ‘Muses’ Calling’ — Amanda Wei Gallery’s first female-only show — celebrates the works of Huang Yin, Hua Xiyu, Niu An, Scotie Ad, Vianne Savoli and Diana Zhang in distinct, feminine perspectives. The muse, now, no longer only a muse.
Amanda Wei Gallery, Shop B, Ground Floor, Wilson House, 19-27 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2656 2908
When: Through 6 February
If there’s anything a year of lock-down restrictions and stay-at-home orders have taught us, it’s humanity’s utter reliance on the arts as comfort; as inspiration; as a way to transport the psyche into dimensions unknown and unexplored. Karin Weber Gallery’s ‘Now Showing’ exhibition confronts this very axiom through the medium of film, as the bespoke works of art presented by the 11 participating Hong Kong artists all pay homages to a specific film deemed most memorable or meaningful to the artist. For Chui Pui Chee, it’s Rocky Balboa (2006); for Carmen Ng, it’s The Day After Tomorrow (2004).
Karin Weber Gallery, 20 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2544 5004
Vvzela Kook’s Confidential Records: Overwrite
When: Through 21 February, by appointment only.
Kowloon Walled City has always held a place of fascination for artist Vvzela Kook; ’Confidential Records’ is Kook’s science-fiction series inspired by the now-demolished landmark of Hong Kong, imagined in a not-so-distant-future in which the development of artificial intelligence threatens the existence of humankind. A dystopian journey taking the spectator from within Para Site’s exhibition space to the streets outside the gallery, ‘Confidential Records: Overwrite’ — the third, newly-commissioned chapter of the series — is a spatial and sensorial installation guided by a sympathetic AI character. A theatrical, experiential experience that brings a cinematic idea to life: in neon-bright technicolour to boot.
Para Site, 22/F, Wing Wah Industrial Building, 677 King’s Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2517 4620
Shen Wei’s Self
When: Through 27 February
A thread of subversion and sexuality runs through Shen Wei’s photographs, each with a sense of foreboding in dialogue with ideas of power, control and submission. So it goes: A Chinese emperor’s lover fell asleep on his sleeve. Rather than disturb his lover’s slumber, the emperor decides, instead, to cut off his sleeve. Shen Wei’s ‘Self’ exhibition includes photographs from his ‘Broken Sleeve’ series; which draws from the aforementioned myth as inspiration. Also on exhibition are Shen’s self-portraits from ‘I Miss You Already’; other-worldly landscape images from ‘Between Blossoms’; and, his video work ‘Bubble’ (2013) and ‘Dusk of the Harmonious Garden’ (2016).
Flowers Gallery, 49 Tung Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2576 5088
Yeung Tong Lung’s Daily Practice
When: 19 January – 6 March
For Yeung Tong Lung, painting is a daily practice, an activity that anchors as much as it propels the artist’s patience and imagination. Yeung’s range, then, should come as no surprise; his paintings immortalise everything from the minutiae of quotidian life to gargantuan murals of historic heft. This solo exhibition at Blindspot Gallery features the artist’s most recent works from 2019 to 2020, as well as several select works from 2015 to 2018. ‘Mount Davis’ (2020) — the pièce de résistance of the show — is an expansive, 4.5-metre wide tripartite painting, with each of the three scenes meandering through the history of Mount Davis as a site of refugee camps. Yeung succeeds in finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, as he captures daily life with the attention one might award royal portraiture.
Blindspot Gallery, 15/F, Po Chai Industrial Building, 28 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, +852 2517 6238