An empty Sunday afternoon? Need recommendations for a 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 Hong Kong this January — and make a day out of it.
Now that we’re two weeks into the new year, how are those resolutions looking? If you’ve made promises to yourself about nourishing your mind beyond television-show binges (You’ve got to watch Yellowjackets, though) and, uh, sleeping the amount of hours typically reserved for kittens or koalas and certainly not full-grown adults, then you might want to make your way to these galleries on a spare Saturday morning. It might inspire something! A photojournalism career à la Annie Leibovitz! A carpentry side hustle post Crafts on Peel! Either way, here are some cool art exhibitions to hit up this month.
Rules and regulation in light of COVID-19 restrictions are ever-changing. As usual, please contact the galleries prior to visiting.
Get Artsy At These Art Exhibitions:
Annie Leibovitz: The Early Years, 1970 – 1983, Archive Project No. 1 and Wonderland
When: Through 12 February
A short jaunt through Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong’s two-storey space all plastered with Annie Leibovitz’s epoch-making photographs from iconic Vogue shoots you already know by heart to that John Lennon-Yoko Ono image to her earlier, lesser-known pieces will elicit something out of anyone. It might be awe. Might be envy for an incredible life lived. Might stand as a heady source of inspiration. After all, for most, Leibovitz and the phrase “portrait photographer” (or, even, “celebrity photographer”) are twin-flames interlinked. Leibovitz’s formative, rarely-seen pieces — including early-on images captured on commutes from San Francisco and Los Angeles — reveal the seedlings of the career photographer; career portraitist; career photojournalist she then grew into becoming.
When: 28 January – 12 March
The colour grey has long been interpreted as one that denotes a sort of neutrality. The spectrum of shades between unbudging black and white, grey (and its myriad variants well beyond the number fifty) holds space for alternate perspectives; for analysis; for moments of doubt. Simon Lee Gallery’s Grayscale group exhibition — showcasing the works of Christopher Wool, Paulina Olowska and more — examines precisely this; the use of the colour as a visual language for more, or, if you subscribe to Gerhard Richter’s school of thought, of grey as “the epitome of non-statement”. From “associations with industrial modernity and the aftermath of war” to the shade as simply an inextricable depth of colour, expect, you know, lots of grey at this exhibition.
Simon Lee Gallery, 304, 3/F, The Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2801 6252
Stories Encapsulated: Wood
When: 22 Jan, 2022 – 21 May
Following a contemplative mediation on metal, Crafts on Peel turns its gaze onto its next thematic focus: wood. Stories Encapsulated: Wood — co-curated by Ken Chow, Hong Kong-based carpenter and founder of Yat Muk Studio — shines a light on wooden objects both big and small, from furniture stand-outs to decorative carvings. Some featured works are made possible by Crafts on Peel’s Craft Exchange Program, where traditional craftsmen are connected with contemporary artisans to collaborate on something unique and brand new. These collaborative pieces include Chamber of Time, a tambour door cabinet created by Master Siu Ping Keung and exhibition co-curator Ken Chow — and more.
“Wood is a gift from nature; it is a tactile, living material,” says Penelope Luk, creative director of Crafts on Peel. “Not only are wooden objects extensions of a tree’s life, they are also manifestations of the relationship with the craftsmen who give the objects a soul.”
Cerith Wyn Evans: ….)( of, a clearing
When: 21 January – 12 March
The notion of perception — his fascination of it; the exploration of it; the transposition of it — colours much of Cerith Wyn Evan’s creations; a theme he explores through many, many mediums, be it installation, sculpture, painting and sound work. Using the gallery space at White Cube Hong Kong as a “vernacular temple”, Evan’s new pieces draws from moments of Modernism, with themes of doubt and ambiguity tracing through the conceptual oeuvre as the onus of “meaning” is, finally, placed onto the shoulders of the viewers themselves.
White Cube Hong Kong, 50 Connaught Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2592 2000
Fatina Kong & Kwong Man Chun: Dear me,
When: 13 January – 26 February
Memory is a funny thing. A traumatic event that scored scars on your heart; that nudged “who” “you” “are” ever so slightly off-kilter you might only remember in abstraction. In the aftermath of it all. The happiest day of your life — a hazy, sunshine yellow-coloured blur. The utter mundanity of the minutiae — the shape of a chair; the silverware; the chatter of a routine Sunday afternoon meal — becomes profound; the rest, forgotten. Fatina Kong, with her emblematic techniques pulled from both Chinese and western disciplines, and Kwong Man Chun, with his nostalgic renderings of scenery and objects, ruminate on fringes of memory that, at times, feel like dreams in their duo exhibition Dear me, at Contemporary by Angela Li.
Contemporary by Angela Li, G/F, 248 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 3571 8200
No Kids Allowed
When: Through 6 February
The trials and tribulations of being (and feeling) young — in all of its dramatic overtures of feeling misunderstood; feeling barred from entry; feeling looked down upon — headline as main attraction for Tomorrow Maybe’s exhibition No Kids Allowed; ironically named considering its exposition on youth culture-at-large and the artists — local, young creatives — invited to participate. Represented mediums include poetry, painting, sculpture, photography, installation and computer graphics from seven of Hong Kong’s emerging creatives, each delving into their own imaginations about existing status quo’s. Look for Clara Wong’s self-satirical installations and Ringo Lo Wing Tao and Tam Man Ching’s collaborative video, I should not be able to find an old friend this easily, which searches for romance in the nebulous age of internet communication.
Tomorrow Maybe, 4/F, Eaton HK, 380 Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Carnaby Fair x The Stallery: SUB9TURE
When: Through 13 February
The Stallery plays host to Hong Kong’s first ‘CAP-ART’ exhibition in collaboration with Carnaby Fair, showcasing seven local Hong Kong artists’ capsule collections including those of The Stallery’s own Ernest Chang, Plumber King and DaddyBoy®️. Works showcased will include digital installations, large-scale displays and interactive experiences with all artists involved collaborating with Carnaby Fair to imprint their pieces onto caps, T-shirts and NFTs. All proceeds from the exhibition donated to V Cycle, a Hong Kong social enterprise that supports poverty alleviation and COVID-19 stress relief.
Beyond the gallery exhibition, the façade of The Stallery will also become canvas to a large-scale, cross-generational collaborative graffiti-jamming project for Mr. Yim (The Plumber King) and BOMS.
The Stallery WCH, G/F, 82A Stone Nullah Lane, Wanchai, Hong Kong, +852 2771 3800
Love in the Dream
When: Through 22 January
A celebration of 10 Chancery Lane Gallery’s 20th anniversary, “Love in the Dream” is a sweeping 44-artist showcase, with the exhibition itself segmented into groupings of artwork thematically, salon-style. Sections include works built from resin, a dedication to Southeast Asian artists, photography and a solo partition for Hong Kong’s iconic Frog King Kwok — also featured in the toilet.
“The Love in the Dream exhibition is truly a love story to reflect 20 years of passion and connection through art,” says gallery founder Katie de Tilly. “Art is made by one soul, and a gallery is there to make the dreams come true for the artist, to connect their work with other souls.”
10 Chancery Lane Gallery, G/F, 10 Chancery Lane, Soho, Central, Hong Kong