Hong Kong art exhibitions you can't miss this month
Undeniably Hong Kong’s biggest annual art event, Art Basel returns on March 29 for its sixth edition and three-day takeover of Hong Kong Convention Center featuring masterpieces and contemporary artworks from 242 leading international galleries. People from all walks of life, from first-time visitors to A-List celebrities – be on the lookout for regulars like Leonardo diCaprio or David Beckham – converge in Wan Chai to make a turn at Art Basel to admire and discover weird and wonderful works. While it’s literally impossible to check out every piece of artwork, the fair is never boring. Last year saw Jeff Koons’ inflatable sculptures, Jaume Plensa’s mind-bending monumental installations and bizarre live performances of actors carrying out random acts with everyday objects. Let’s see what happens this year.
Whether it’s because of the harbourside locale, the open grass space for food or its ever-expanding diversity of works on display, Art Central’s popularity continues to be on the rise. A relaxed and less stuffy affair than Art Basel, this waterfront art fair is also known for its live performance art. This year sees four new interactive performances from leading contemporary artists from the Asia-Pacific region, including a cup noodle restaurant and conversations with a “ghost”. Also look forward to edgy, urban and contemporary artworks presented by more than 100 international galleries, as well as six specially commissioned large-scale installations.
For anyone who’s been missing the presence of the colossal rubber duck, the hugely popular public art in 2013 by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, you can keep your eyes peeled for another giant float making its way to our shores. Renowned American artist and designer Kaws is bringing a 37m long, monumental inflatable sculpture of his signature character, Companion – think of it as a morbid version of Mickey Mouse – to Central Harbourfront. Reclining on its back and with Xs for eyes, the floating sculpture Kaws:Holiday, invites Hongkongers to join Companion to lie back and relax, or amuse themselves with the image of what is essentially is a gigantic dead mouse left adrift on Victoria Harbour.
Luke Jerram's giant moon installation that hung up in Lee Tung Avenue back in 2007 captivated Hongkongers and had us howling for more. Upping the game this Arts Month, Jerram brings with him his latest touring artwork, Gaia, a breathtaking seven-meter wide installation of the Earth which features 120dpi detailed Nasa imagery of our planet. That’s not all, the Earth will be self-rotating as well (about 360 times faster than the real thing). Much like the astronaut looking down from space, you'll feel how small you are yet hopefully walk away with a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the planet.
Hong Kong’s biggest street art festival is back! Taking over the streets of Wan Chai district, HKWalls features an exciting lineup of events including live painting sessions by top local creatives and international graffiti artists, as well as a pop-up print exhibition. Be sure to check their Facebook page for updates on locations and events during the festival!
Looks like Kaws is a major player at this year’s Hong Kong Arts Month. Not only does he have a gigantic floating installation at Victoria Harbour, there’s also a comprehensive exhibition that delves into the artist/designer’s impressive oeuvre. Exploring a decade of Kaws’ 37 most iconic works including life-sized design figures, paintings, sculptures as well as pieces never before exhibited in Hong Kong, the exhibition gives you a chance to meet some of Kaws’ most iconic characters such as Companion and Chum.
Berlin-based duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset transform Massimo De Carlo’s white space into a massive underground boiler room. As part of the twosome’s ongoing dialogue about space and architecture, visitors are invited to navigate around the room and interact with industrial tubes of various sizes and colours that have taken up the gallery.
A major and influential figure within the kinetic and op art movement, Julio Le Parc is hugely interested in what art could do by inviting the participation of the public. Relying simply on basic geometric shapes, a contrast of colours and reflective mirrors, the exhibition allows viewers to move around the space to become an active participant and help create various illusions.
After making a splash at last year’s Art Basel with its quirky live performance art that features ‘actors’ performing seemingly random acts with various everyday objects and furniture, notable Austrian artist Erwin Wurm is bringing back his iconic One Minute Sculptures series to Hong Kong for Arts Month. Visitors are invited to activate one of Wurm’s “sculptures” by mimicking a unique pose with a typical household item, which will then be captured in a Polaroid photo you can take home. Wurm’s new cast metal sculptures including a sausage with human features are also on display.
Audrey Hepburn is undeniably one of the greatest Hollywood icons of all time, and while we can still experience and witness her beauty and talent on film, Hollywood photographer Bob Willoughby has managed to capture her effervescent charm and shows an intimate side to her life. Celebrating what would have been Hepburn’s 90th birthday and marking a decade since the passing of Willoughby, this rare photography exhibition (and a first in Hong Kong) features an outstanding selection of some of Willoughby’s most memorable photos of Hepburn.