Sep 03 2021

Roundup from Unscheduled 2021

by Victoria Chan

Exterior view of the former Topshop retail location used by Unscheduled for its 2021 location. Photo by HG Masters for ArtAsiaPacific.

The second edition of the boutique mini-fair Unscheduled brought 15 local gallery participants to the two-story Central retail spot formerly occupied by Topshop. Curated by Jing Chin-Yin Chong and Clara Wong, and organized by the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association, this year’s event saw a range of artworks arranged within a free-flowing layout designed by BEAU Architects, with booths divided by clear PVC curtains.

CHARLIE ROBERTS, Red leather, Blue Nights , 2021, Flashe gesso and pastel on linen painting, presented by Woaw Gallery (Hong Kong). All photos by Victoria Chan for ArtAsiaPacific unless otherwise specified.

On the former shop floor, Contemporary by Angela Li sold out Hong Kong artist Cheung Tsz Hin’s recent paintings of scenes from his rooftop garden at the VIP preview. 10 Chancery Lane garnered much attention with Gu Benchi’s mesmerizing wall works composed of colorful threads. Multimedia artist Kesang Lamdark jazzed up Rossi & Rossi’s booth with his installation of a cracked windshield composed of Plexiglas, glowing LED lights, and illuminated beverage cans with small portraits punctured into their bases. Woaw Gallery presented enigmatic paintings by newly signed American artist Charlie Roberts. In Red Leather, Blue Nights (2021), for instance, a man seated alone at a restaurant is surrounded by a swirl of hands holding dollar bills and other miscellaneous items, inviting the viewer to imagine the character’s backstory.

TSE CHUNG SING, I Am Watching You, 2021, plastic lucky cat with pinhole lens, presented by Karin Weber Gallery (Hong Kong).

PIXY LIAO, Find a Woman You Can Rely On, 2018, digital C-print, at the booth of Blindspot Gallery (Hong Kong).

Some presentations integrated with Topshop’s architectural remnants, including Karin Weber Gallery’s display of works by professors or alumni of Hong Kong Baptist University’s Academy of Visual Arts. Installed individually in the former changing rooms, these thought-provoking pieces respond to aspects of consumerism and shopping practices in some way, echoing the venue’s previous function and invited close scrutiny and contemplation within their limited confines. Among the most notable works was Tse Chun Sing’s I Am Watching You (2021), a traditional lucky cat figure with tiny surveillance cameras for eyes that feed live footage of the viewer to a small screen on an outside wall, reversing the relationship between the potential buyer and the object. Nearby, Blindspot Gallery occupied what used to be the personal shoppers area, installing Pixy Liao’s intimate photographic self-portraits with her partner onto well-lit mirrors and walls, as well as a video in a small side room.

View of Unscheduled’s entrance featuring Edouard Malingue Gallery’s booth in the stairwell space of the former Topshop retail location on Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong.

FLORENCE LAM, Cut Piece, 2021, live performance of hair-cutting, presented by Per.Platform.

Edouard Malingue Gallery took over the stairs linking the entrance and the first floor. Suspended from the ceiling, Eric Baudart’s COVID (2021), a shiny curved form composed of overlapping face shields, could be observed from different angles as one walked up and down the stairs. Although installing works along the stairs was an efficient use of space, it was not advantageous for those who wanted to stop and examine the works, especially considering how Baudart’s layered and unconventional use of materials warrants a closer look. 

To close out the VIP day, Florence Lam offered audiences the chance to cut and take home her hair, priced at HKD 1,200 an inch, for Cut Piece (2021), commissioned by live-art program Per-Platform as part of a series of daily performances in different locations from September 2 to 5.   

Unscheduled 2021 is on view at Asia Standard Tower from September 2 to 6, 2021.

Victoria Chan is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.

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