Explore the great ‘artdoors’
Who could have imagined that our little enclave in Hong Kong would one day chase at the heels of London and New York as a world centre for art? Indeed, when considering what to write about in this debut column for Time Out, it wasn’t so much the lack of great shows to discuss, but rather the abundance of choice! Yet diversity and quality are now the norm in Hong Kong, and this new column is a testament to that happy fact.
Against the backdrop of a blossoming gallery scene, two major institutions open their doors in Hong Kong this month. Ironically, both have selected to dazzle us with shows on Buddhism.
In a lush faraway land known as Admiralty, beyond the beehive of Pacific Place, lies the lofty new Asia Society Hong Kong Center, which was formerly a 19th-century explosives and munitions storage facility. After a decade in the making, the centre opens with a more benevolent mission – to enlighten us with a simply beautiful exhibition entitled Transforming Minds: Buddhism in Art. The exhibition marries 13 artifacts from the Rockefeller Collection of Asian art with six contemporary works. The pièce de résistance is a knock-out third century Gandaharan Buddha encased in a dome with 50 cameras trained on it, each reflecting the Buddha’s image. In turn, the Buddha is also magnified by 90 mirrors to dramatic effect. Don’t miss out on the guided tours over the weekends!
As part of their grand opening festival, the new Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre in a separate fête to the past opens Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang. Featuring spectacular 3D animations, the show literally immerses visitors in a 360-degree, interactive, one-to-one scale chamber as if inside a cave temple of magnificent Buddhist wall paintings.
Had enough spiritual food? Well, from that wonderfully immersive cave experience, transport yourself to 50 Connaught Road for the grand opening show of art world heavyweight gallery White Cube. The new space, easily mistaken for a wing of the Tate Modern in London, features an examination by the quirky duo Gilbert & George into the jingoistic, yob-bashing world of British tabloids through disturbing monochromatic imagery.
Wander down to Sai Ying Pun, and meet Sin Sin Fine Art. Hidden at the top of Sai Street, you’ll find Indonesian art on the menu this month, where the cartoon and moody paintings are as eccentric as Sin Sin’s operatic fashion sense. In Central, Ben Brown Fine Arts serenades spring with a formidable survey of German Photography from 1960 to the present, including works by Andreas Gursky and the enchanting library lover Candida Höfer. Finally a hop, skip and a jump around the corner gives you Scottish artist, Callum Innes, at Edouard Malingue Gallery. I haven’t seen the show yet (it opens March 13) but if the selections are as good as the French gallerist’s eye for striking works then I’m looking forward to a little abstraction in my life.
Put on your shoes, leave your box, and go explore the great ‘artdoors’.
Raised in Hong Kong, intrepid art enthusiast Whitney Ferrare studied art history and business at McGill University before joining Christie’s, and now Ben Brown Fine Arts in Hong Kong. Her secret weapon? Fluent Cantonese.