Oct 16 2020

What’s Up in Hong Kong: South Side, October–November 2020

by Editors

Since a third wave of Covid-19 infections in late-July through August forced public facilities and museums to temporarily shutter yet again, Hong Kong has gradually returned to a semblance of normalcy, though limits on public gatherings and mandatory mask-wearing remain in force. Here are a selection of South Side shows currently open for visits.

Installation view of LIANG BAN’s Pearl Rolling Across the Floor No. 2, 2020, video installation, crystal blocks, TV screen, single-channel video with sound: 7 min 39 sec, dimensions variable, at “Pearl Rolling Across the Floor,” de Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong, 2020. Courtesy the artist and de Sarthe.

Liang Ban: “Pearl Rolling Across the Floor”

de Sarthe Gallery

Sep 26–Nov 14

Liang Ban’s third solo show at de Sarthe brings together multimedia and sculptural installations that reflect on the crippling implications of what the artist terms “possessive technology,” connoting the control that devices like mobile phones exert over their over-reliant users. In Caged Bird (2020), evoking a blown-up smartphone screen, the icon for the Twitter app floats over a background of red and white stripes, as if the bird in the logo is attempting to escape. Another highlight is Pearl Rolling Across the Floor (2020), a series of blocky sculptures resembling large, pixelated “guardian lions” sitting on video screens installed throughout the exhibition space. 

CHENG YIN NGAN, Teenage girls with bricks, 2020, mixed media and oil on canvas, 150.2 × 100.2 × 3.7 cm. Courtesy the artist and Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong.

Cheng Yin Ngan: “In the name of the moon, I’ll punish you”

Featuring drawings, paintings, and sketches produced during Cheng Yin Ngan’s residency at Blindspot Gallery, “In the name of the moon, I’ll punish you” emphasizes the vulnerability of individuals in a hostile world. Some of Cheng’s large-scale paintings reference the ongoing pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, such as the gestural, abstracted portrayal of Teenage girls with bricks, while Memory stretches as long as a rail (both 2020) depicts a dejected nude male on a skateboard.

ELISA SIGHICELLI, Untitled (9038), 2019, direct UV print on marble, 80 × 100 × 4 cm. Courtesy Rossi & Rossi, Hong Kong / London.

Elisa Sighicelli: “Stone Talk”

Rossi & Rossi

Oct 3–Nov 14

Rossi & Rossi gallery and the Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong present photographer Elisa Sighicelli’s debut solo exhibition in Asia. On view are a selection of Sighicelli’s close-ups of artworks and architectural features in various museums. Printed on marble, Untitled 9038 (2019), depicting a torso of a Roman sculpture, conflates the flat image with the material corporality of the original figure. Several ancient Roman steles and remnants are also on view at the exhibition, juxtaposing antiquity and its contemporary reinterpretation.

JAROMÍR NOVOTNÝ, Untitled, 2020, acrylic, organza, paper, carbon paper, 200 × 160 × 5 cm. Courtesy the artist and Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Hong Kong / Wijnegem.

Jaromír Novotný: “Just a Narrow Range of Possible Things”

Born in Český Brod in 1974, Jaromír Novotný is known for his minimalist works utilizing layered organza. Novotný’s oeuvre is deeply inspired by the Taoist and Buddhist concept of emptiness as well as the immense potentialities of tactile experience. This is exemplified by an Untitled (2020) piece in which the white organza surface is slightly misaligned with a preceding layer of white paper featuring a black circle, crafting an illusory void while bringing attention to this trick of the eye. Also on view are organza works where the artist painted over thread, leaving lines of higher transparency compared to the rest of the white fabric.

HENRY SHUMRevolution of Night, 2020, oil on canvas, 181.2 × 121.2 × 5.6 cm. Courtesy the artist and Empty Gallery, Hong Kong.

Henry Shum: “Vortices”

Empty Gallery

Sep 26–Nov 21

“Vortices,” Henry Shum’s solo debut at Empty Gallery, is an apt title for the artist’s exhibition of dreamlike paintings, which allude to a sense of entrapment within a maelstrom of entropy and chance. In Revolution of Night (2020), for example, an eerie, transfigured landscape of trees and a river envelop two figures, one of whom appears to be pulling the other’s limp body out of the water.

HILARIE HON, Sunlight Murmur, 2020, acrylic and oil on canvas, 75 × 100 cm. Courtesy the artist and Gallery Exit, Hong Kong.

Hilarie Hon: “Yesterday Brightness”

Gallery Exit

Oct 17–Nov 28

Using a characteristic palette of bold and contrasting colors, Hilarie Hon paints oneiric scenes of mysterious figures and dramatic landscapes that accentuate the alienation and transience of human existence. In Sunlight Murmur (2020) a man’s head can be seen beneath an open umbrella as green and black torrents of rain fall in a blood-red sky. Hon also experiments with space beyond the boundaries of the canvas. For example, Tree in Kowloon Park (2020) features a curtain and is installed next to a gallery window as a playful illusion.

STEPHEN KING, Sunday Stroll, 2020, archival pigment print on Hahnemühle photo rag bright white matt paper, 107 × 71 cm. Courtesy Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong.

Stephen King: “Synchronicity”

Alisan Fine Arts

Aug 8–Oct 31

“Synchronicity” showcases Hong Kong-based photographer Stephen King’s recent landscape works, which create a sense of harmony between nature and human civilization through painterly compositions and chiaroscuro. King’s distinctive style can be seen in Sunday Stroll (2020), a black-and-white image of a man walking on the Hong Kong harborfront against a backdrop of towering clouds and skyscrapers.

WONG YAN-KWAI, Young Horseman & Qiqige, 2009, photograph, 23.5 × 42 cm, glass box: 41 × 51 cm. Image via Sin Sin Fine Art’s Facebook.

Wong Yan-Kwai: “Steppe By Steppe”

Sin Sin Fine Art

Sep 4–Oct 24

Sin Sin Fine Art presents a group of 24 black-and-white photographs taken by Wong Yan-Kwai during his travels in France and Inner Mongolia. Images such as 2 Men & 2½ Horses and Young Horseman & Qiqige (both 2009) capture a traditional way of life in the steppes that is being eroded by urban-industrial expansion.

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4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art ARNDT Opera Gallery