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Embodied exhibition by Willem Hoeffnagel
Photograph: Courtesy Wong Pak Hang / Woaw Gallery

The top art exhibitions and displays to check out in Hong Kong

Where to get your dose of culture in the city

Jenny Leung
Catharina Cheung
Written by
Jenny Leung
&
Catharina Cheung
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Whether it’s street photography spots or world-class art galleries, Hong Kong is a city that’s bursting with creativity – thanks to the incredible art scene filled with local and international talents. To narrow things down and help you be well on your way to true culture vulture status (and level up your Insta-feed along the way), here are some of the best ongoing and upcoming art shows to visit around town.

RECOMMENDED: Discover Hong Kong’s coolest hidden art spaces or pay a visit to the city’s top museums.

Top art exhibitions and displays in Hong Kong

  • Art
  • Painting
  • Wan Chai

This solo exhibition by Dutch painter Willem Hoeffnagel seeks to introspectively explore human emotions. Using his recognisable figures with floating eyes, there are no actual faces to be found so they do not represent any specific person, but rather invites the viewer to embody the space of the figures. Each of his paintings convey emotions but they are not clearly defined and it’s up to the viewer to decide what feelings are awakened by each piece.

  • Art
  • Painting
  • Sheung Wan

After contemporary artist Park Yoon-kyung moved to Jeju Island, she found herself inspired by the locale’s natural landscapes and scenery, rich culture, and unique spoken dialect. In this latest body of work. Park uses vibrant colours and bold brush strokes to explore the connection between humans and the natural world around them. Look out for her mastery in incorporating painted frames to create interesting three-dimensional works that transcend the traditional canvas.

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  • Art
  • Abstract
  • Discovery Bay

Dubai-based Tunisian artist Taher Jaoui will be holding his solo exhibition in Hong Kong this month. Jaoui has never had any formal art education but has rather taught himself to meld a range of styles and influences including African primitive art, abstract expressionism, and even mathematical symbols. His work is a dynamic dialogue with the canvas, with each brush stroke representing a spontaneous decision to live in the moment.

  • Art
  • Photography
  • Tsim Sha Tsui

Local photographer David Leung will be showing five collections of his artwork that explore the boundaries of perception and how the mind can process everyday occurrences – in this case, dining. After an eye injury, Leung began to incorporate pareidolia (perceiving meaningful images in random visual patterns) into his food photos, pulling imaginary faces out of the food that he eats. Part of the exhibition also invites fellow food enthusiasts to submit their own unique food photos for a chance to be featured by Leung. This is sure to be a journey that satisfies both gastronomically and aesthetically.

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  • Art
  • Painting
  • Wan Chai

If you’re checking out the Embodied show, then don’t forget to also pop by two doors down Sun Street to also visit this group exhibition. Bringing together figurative paintings from Mikey Yates, Nada Elkalaawy, and Asif Hoque, this show explores contemporary interpretations of home. From a vibrant, layered depiction of a young man’s bedroom to a soft study of a tureen decorated with angel figures, what kind of ideas of home will this exhibition spark in you?

  • Art
  • Installation
  • San Po Kong

Hong Kong creative Vaevae Chan and New York-based artist Jordan Kasey have collaborated to present a joint project that reflects the parallels between their lives, even though they live halfway across the world from each other. Hidden behind four identical doors in a nondescript industrial building – some of which simply open to artsy dead ends – Chan has created a subterranean world which follows on from her cave installation She Told Me to Head to The Sea from a couple of years ago, only this time the pitch-black darkness has been lifted by crystals and their refracted rainbows.

Make your way through the exhibition space to find a series of charcoal drawings and murals by Kasey which play on light, darkness, and the ensuing shadows. This is truly a multisensory journey that deserves to be experienced. See if Chan happens to be in her art space when you visit, and have a chat to understand the deeply personal story of loss, collective trauma, and multi-dimensional parallel universes that drove this series of work.

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  • Art
  • Photography
  • West Kowloon

To open the French May Art Festival, M+ museum will be presenting its first special exhibition on photography in collaboration with the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF). See more than 250 significant photos from BnF’s world-renowned collection alongside over 30 works from M+’s own collection. If you like the melancholic and dramatic quality of black-and-white photography, you’ll definitely enjoy this exhibition. Standard tickets are on sale for $140 while discounts are available for M+ members and guests of M+ patrons.

  • Art
  • Tsuen Wan

Celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT) with their exciting Spring Programme 2024, Factory of Tomorrow. From now to July 14, immerse yourself in a fascinating group exhibition that showcases CHAT's contemporary art collection and newly commissioned works. With artworks by 19 Asian artists, the exhibition explores the role of textiles in Hong Kong's past while delving into the present and future. Through textile works, sculptures, immersive installations, and videos, artists examine themes such as technology, diversity, climate change, and our collective future. Additionally, be sure to experience new elements like the Misfitted: Unspoken Stories of Tailoring display, the interactive Illumin-Loom, as well as the reopening of the CHAT Lounge.

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  • Art
  • Fortress Hill

Step into the weird, wacky, and wonderful world of acclaimed British artist Gary Card at his first large-scale solo exhibition in Hong Kong titled People Mountain People Sea. Gary's diverse talents span painting, sculpture, illustration, graphic design, and set design, having worked with some of the biggest artists and designers from around the world. For this exhibition, Gary was inspired by the vibrant fusion of East and West cultures in Hong Kong. Using various objects and elements he's observed during his visits to the city, Gary has crafted a series of bold and unique artworks to transform the historic Oi! Warehouses into a multimedia art space, where animation and sound merge to create an immersive visual and sensory experience. Visit Oi! Street Art Space between now and July 28 to his works and be sure to snap pics of the giant outdoor sculpture on the Oi! Lawn.

  • Art
  • West Kowloon

This major special exhibition at the Hong Kong Palace Museum highlights the former glory of the Yuan Ming Yuan imperial garden, which was also known as the ‘Garden of All Gardens’. With artefacts such as paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, architectural models, drawings, and prints – many of which are on display in Hong Kong for the very first time – this event provides a great look into the life and artistry of the Qing court. 

The garden-palace was first constructed by the Emperor Kangxi and later fully developed by his fourth son, Emperor Yongzheng, with a total of five emperors continually adding to the Yuan Ming Yuan over the course of more than a century. It was the most favoured imperial residence outside of the Forbidden City and boasted spectacular landscaping, scenery, and architecture. The Yuan Ming Yuan was sadly looted and destroyed during the Second Opium War, but this exhibition aims to transport visitors back to the height of its glory through five thematic sections on its overall layout, the seasonal festivities that were celebrated, its landscaping design, imperial family life within the grounds, and its eventual destruction.

The displays will also be complemented by documentary screenings of The Lei Family, who were the Qing dynasty royal architects over several generations and had worked on the Yuan Ming Yuan. Standard tickets cost $150 and will also grant access to other thematic exhibitions in the Hong Kong Palace Museum, while a special combo ticket costing $220 will allow visitors to also view the Botticelli to Van Gogh exhibition on the same day.

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  • Art
  • Contemporary art
  • Central

This is the first major exhibition of contemporary artist Bruce Nauman’s work in Hong Kong, with works that span six decades of his artistic career. Nauman is known for working across a wide variety of mediums, from sculpture, photography, and video work, to drawing, neon, prints, and performance art. This institutional survey will showcase drawings, large-scale sculptures, and sound installations, as well as Nauman’s early work with neon all the way to his recent Contrapposto series. 

  • Art
  • Sheung Wan

Using archival materials as a starting point, this exhibition brings together new works from six groups of local artists and collectives, focusing on one specific day in Hong Kong’s past. Another Day in Hong Kong was inspired by Oscar Ho’s One Day in Hong Kong exhibition back in 1990, which collected photographs taken by Hong Kong citizens on a single day. This new show expands upon its predecessor by exploring new dimensions to capture the diverse people and events that occur within 24 hours.

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  • Museums
  • Film and TV
  • Central

This year marks a century since the birth of Dr Louis Cha, better known by his pen name Jin Yong, the literary giant who wrote numerous hit martial arts novels that earned a place among classic Chinese literature. Starting from March 15, there will be a range of events and exhibitions that pay tribute to Jin Yong’s work and legacy, as well as to create unique cultural intellectual property that tells Hong Kong stories.

‘The World of Wuxia’ at Edinburgh Place will present 10 sculptures of Jin Yong’s most iconic characters, created by sculptor Ren Zhe. Apart from figures of Xiaolongnü, Yang Guo, Abbess Miejue, the Golden Wheel Monk, and more, there will also be a Mongolian yurt inspired by The Eagle-shooting Heroes, where visitors can recreate famous scenes with audio guides and AR technology. A larger exhibition of Ren Zhe’s sculptures will also be on show at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin from March 16 to October 7, along with seminars, talks, immersive experiences, and a manuscript display.

As the birthplace of Jin Yong’s wuxia novels, Hong Kong has always been known as a city of diverse peoples and cultures. The organisers of his centennial events have therefore collaborated with international institutions and foreign consulates in Hong Kong to create interactive artistic experiences that promote Jin Yong’s novels as a way to appreciate Chinese culture and tell Hong Kong stories. While most Hongkongers will already have vivid shared memories of Jin Yong and his famous works, younger generations can now also be  introduced to these literary classics.

  • Art
  • Design
  • West Kowloon

Celebrate the father of graphic design at this special exhibition which highlights some of Steiner’s most significant projects from the 60s to the present through more than 200 objects from M+ and Steiner’s own collection. For the uninitiated, Henry Steiner designed the red-and-white hexagonal HSBC logo, the Standard Chartered banknotes, as well as logos for many Hong Kong companies, and has lived in Hong Kong since 1961. Split into two sections, the exhibition covers Steiner’s formative years, his leaving Austria and arrival in Hong Kong, setting up his own company here, as well as how his designs reflect the development of our city. Tickets are available for $120, and will grant entry to four other M+ exhibitions as well on the same day.

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  • Art
  • Architecture
  • West Kowloon

M+ will host the first full-scale retrospective of renowned Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei, his life, his philosophy, and his works, presented through various mediums. Better known as I. M. Pei, he is the mastermind designer behind some of the world’s most recognisable works of modernist architecture, including the glass-and-steel Louvre Pyramid, the Miho Museum in Shigaraki, and Hong Kong’s own Bank of China Tower. Sorted into six themes that place Pei’s architecture within sociocultural contexts, the exhibition will consist of over 300 items on display, most of which have never been exhibited before. Several international photographers have also been commissioned to photograph Pei’s buildings, and architectural models of some of his most significant projects have also been made. 

The exhibition will open on June 29 with a free public talk featuring Pei’s son, Sandi Li Chung Pei, as well as Pei’s close collaborators Calvin Tsao and Aslıhan Demirtaş – they will discuss the relevance and impact of Pei’s life and work across various cities. Tickets for this special exhibition are priced at $160, with concessions available. Ticket holders can also access all general admission exhibitions at M+ on the same day.

  • Art
  • Fortress Hill

Created by American architectural group Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Joyful Trees (Arbores Laetae), is an art project at Oil! featuring 16 Chinese Junipers, three of which are placed on turning planters at a 10-degree tilt. As the trees rotate, the movement channels a rhythmic rustle and evokes discourse about human’s role in nature from Anthropocene’s perspective. Planting a movable landscape, the installation also reinterprets nature as ever-changing and never static, creating an unusual artistic perspective.

The three-dimensional installation can be viewed from eye level on the ground; by the adjacent pedestrian ramp; on the footbridge across the site; from the gallery window in the Oi! Glassie building; or even from the skyscrapers above. 

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  • Art
  • Mixed media
  • West Kowloon

M+ Museum’s new thematic exhibition aims to explore the connection between landscape and humanity in our post-industrial and increasingly virtual world. Literally translating to ‘mountain and water’, shanshui is a Chinese cultural concept that has inspired Asian ink paintings across millennia. Almost 130 works split into nine thematic sections will reimagine landscape through art, moving images, sound, design, architecture, and other large-scale mediums from a range of international artists, architects, and creators.

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