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Hong Kong Museum of Art

Picture Perfect

British landscape artists set the scene at the new Hong Kong Museum of Art for its first collaboration with Tate, United Kingdom

Time Out Hong Kong in partnership with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department

Having re-opened its doors to the public late last year, the Hong Kong Museum of Art has already cemented its reputation as the city’s new cultural hotspot. With its open-air eateries, contemporary exhibits and workshops, the newly refurbished space is the perfect place to while away an afternoon. And with its latest collaborative exhibition, you’ll find yourself hard-pressed to leave. 

From now until March 4, The Special Gallery and The Attic play host to 'A Sense of Place: from Turner to Hockney'. Jointly presented by Tate, United Kingdom and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the 76-strong artwork exhibition takes visitors through the history of British landscape painting.

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Joseph Mallord William Turner, The Harbour of Brest: The Quayside and Château, c.1826 – 1828 © Tate

The first collaboration between the two museums will highlight key milestones in landscape painting through the decades, and features standout pieces from the iconic British institution. The exhibition includes seminal pieces by Joseph Mallord William Turner and John Constable. Turner’s delicate brushwork can be seen in the 19th century oil on canvas piece, The Harbour of Brest: The Quayside and Château. Debuting for the first time in Asia, it is inspired by the harbour views that the painter Claude Lorrain had depicted in the 17th century, Turner made a pencil sketch of the Port of Brest during his last visit to France in 1826, which he later worked up into an oil painting of the scenery at sunset. 

John Constable, Hampstead Heath with a Rainbow, 1836 © Tate

Hampstead Heath with a Rainbow (bequeathed to Tate by Constable’s daughter, Isabel) will brighten any winter afternoon, evoking all the warmth of a British summer’s day. Constable’s later works often feature rainbows for symbolic and aesthetic reasons. 

Rounding off the collection is a striking piece by contemporary artist David Hockney. The artist’s largest ever painting – Bigger Trees near Warter or / ou Peinture sur le Motif pour le Nouvel Age Post-Photographique. The painting spans over 50 canvases and reaches a width of over 12 metres and a collective height of 4.6 metres.

Hong Kong Museum of Art

A Sense of Place: from Turner to Hockney takes visitors through six key developments in landscape painting. Beginning with 17th century landscape artists and their quest to set the scene, the exhibition progresses to more emotive artworks depicting dark, stormy scenes. Further into the exhibition, Turner and Constable explore the realm of travel. 

Into the 19th century, visitors will see a more natural and subtle approach to landscapes before the early 20th century abstractionist and surrealist artists came into began to introduce symbolism. The 1950s and 1960s proved the staying power of landscapes as a focal point of artistic inspiration, despite the differing interpretations over the years, while artists like Hockney further explore the natural world using nothing more than the naked eye and the imagination.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Venice at Sunrise from the Hotel Europa, with the Campanile of San Marco, c.1840 © Tate

Turner's last visit to Venice in 1840 inspired his latter artwork of watercolour paintings, layering colours to merge air and water.

In true collaborative spirit, one of the sections of the exhibition features contributions from two local Hong Kong artists in response to the artwork on loan from Tate and the Hong Kong Museum of Art’s own collection of landscape paintings. These artistic offerings bring a uniquely Hong Kong approach to the exhibition. 

Those inspired by the artworks on display can create their own responses, too. Stephen Wong and Chan Po-fung will host a series of workshops in assembling outdoor paint boxes, enabling people to put paint to paper for themselves.

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