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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Posts Tagged ‘art in Hong Kong’

Questioning “Made in China” – Interview Avant-Garde Beijing Artist: Huang Rui

Posted by artradar on October 28, 2009


CONTEMPORARY CHINESE ART

Artist Huang Rui standing in front of the Comerchina exhibition.

Artist Huang Rui standing in front of Shadow at Comerchina exhibition at 10 Chancery Gallery.

 Father of contemporary Chinese art, Huang Rui  is a Beijing artist who dares to think and act differently in a society that demands conformity. Prominent founder of the historically momentous 1979 Stars Group as well as the famous Beijing 798 Factory, Huang Rui showcases his exhibition Comerchina at 10 Chancery Lane Gallery (17 Sep – 10 Oct 2009) in Hong Kong.

Characteristic of his previous work such as “拆那(demolition)/China”, this series of new paintings called “Hall of Fame” is a collage that tweaks a pun on advertising imagery contributed by online participants.

In an exclusive interview with Art Radar, Huang Rui explains the layers of political and economic connotations in Comerchina, the difficulties facing art in this consumer society and the impossibility of escaping political scrutiny.

Q: Why is the exhibition called Comerchina?

ComerChina coverThe theme is related to commercialization and China. Ever since the 1990’s, China has become more and more commercialized in three aspects.

First, politics is becoming a servant of commerce. Second, commerce is labeled with cultural slogans. Third, the entire structure of society is changing and, as an integrated society,  is very dangerous.

 It’s different from a global society, which is only an element of an integrated society. It’s not a dictatorship, but rather a particular organizational system.  

Politics, the demand for a rise in economic standards and personal interests means that other important concerns such as art are being sacrificed. We need to reflect, criticize, and protest.

Q: How do your new paintings and installations in this show speak to over-commercialization and the power of money in China? What do the numbers represent? 

Hall of Fame 1-25 by Huang Rui, silk-screen printing/collage/canvas, 45X60X25cm pieces, 2009

Hall of Fame 1-25 by Huang Rui, silk-screen printing/collage/canvas, 45X60X25cm pieces, 2009

If someone attacks you, you attack him as well. It’s a natural response. In my work, the number represents you and me, since everyone uses cell phones. In the work of a 100-yuan bill with Mao, there are 100 numbers. 100 out of 100 represents an integrated society. “Made in China” refers to the global economy and the power of cooperation.

Q: How do you see contemporary art in China evolving? Where is it going (the trends)? Would you consider yourself a trend leader?

 

 

Chairman Mao Wan Yuan by Huang Rui, 128X88X4.6X6cm, 2006

Chairman Mao Wan Yuan by Huang Rui, 128X88X4.6X6cm, 2006

 

 

Huang Rui’s take on trends in Chinese contemporary art

It’s getting more commercialized, there is more variety and commerce is a factor that makes cooperation indispensable. Chinese society in the South including Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Shenzhen are producing imitation art. Hong Kong is focused on business, so real art is hard to develop. Artists in Hong Kong either have to bear with it or move out. It’s not up to the individual artists to enforce change. Our power is confined to criticizing and perhaps creating new structures or models, new thinking, and making proposals. To lead changes in the art world, it is up to the social elites, the politicians, and the urban planners.

Q: In your work Shadow, the characters taken together mean “maintain dictatorship of the proletariat”**. Would this work be permitted in mainland China?

 

Shadow(1-25) by Huang Rui, 90X60X27cm, oil on canvas, silkscreen lithograph, 2009

Shadow(1-25) by Huang Rui, 90X60X27cm, oil on canvas, silkscreen lithograph, 2009

 

 

It is now permitted, but this only happened recently. There were a lot of controversies with the Twin Tower (2001), which comprised layers of words and political expressions. My intent was to draw an analogy. The Twin Towers in New York were a symbol of menace as well as a political and economic strength. Likewise, the thinking of Mao and that of Jiang Ze Min are symbols of power yet also have tones of menace. Another work of mine that was banned from exhibition was “Chairman Mao Wan Yuan“(2006) [Note: wan sui in Chinese refers to “longevity” or “10,000 years”. The character wan also means 10,000.]

Many of my works were not just banned in China, but also elsewhere such as Japan, where I used to live. In 2005, there was a 3D Asian Art Fair in Korea and Singapore, but the Consulate General of China protested against the exhibition of my work.

**note: In the Commerchina book that Huang Rui gave me, there are pages of quotations by Mao categorized respectively under upholding, proletariat, classes, and dictatorship

Twin Tower by Huang Rui

Twin Tower by Huang Rui

Q: Tell us about your activity as an artist against political force.

I participated in the Wall of Democratic Rule (1978-1981) in Beijing. With Deng Xiao Ping’s permission, people could voice their opinions, until Deng Xiao Ping withdrew the democratic wall in 1980. I also participated in an underground magazine about arts and literature.  In 1979, I founded the Stars Group of 1979 along with other members. Just search on the web and you’ll easily unearth a lot of information about the group.

WM/KE

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Posted in Activist, China, Chinese, Collage, Consumerism, Cultural Revolution, Hong Kong, Huang Rui, Logos, Mao art, Money, Numbers, Political, Profiles, Words | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

V+A museum-commissioned photography show The Mother of All Journeys lands in Hong Kong – interview Dinu Li

Posted by artradar on October 7, 2009


BRITISH-CHINESE PHOTOGRAPHY

Dinu Li, an award-winning British-Chinese visual artist, showcases his exhibition The Mother of All Journeys at Amelia Johnson Contemporary (17 Sep – 31 Oct 2009) in Hong Kong. Initially commissioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the exhibition is a collection of the artist’s family snapshots which traces the journey taken by the family when they emigrated from Guangdong to Hong Kong and finally to England. Dinu Li speaks to Wendy Ma about the reasons and emotions behind this collaboration with his mother as well as his fascination with time and space.

The Mother of All Journeys by Dinu Li, 2007

The Mother of All Journeys by Dinu Li, 2007

Q: You have had an interesting life.  Which photographs capture your most memorable experiences?

This project is about memories. The one that really captures my experiences is the picture of the first house we lived in when we emigrated from Hong Kong to UK in 1973 when I was 7 years old. As I took this photograph in 2004, there was a distance of 30 years between living there and taking the photograph. We lived there for only 1 year. We don’t know who has been sitting there since. Strange that after 33 years, they have kept the same carpet, wallpaper, and cabinet in the bedroom. Now it’s rented to students.

Q: What inspired you to collaborate with your 80-year-old mother on this artwork? Is your mother an artist, too?

When I was a young boy, she was always telling me her story, and I used to create imaginary images in my head. I always wanted to see the real landscape and not rely on my imagination, so that I could understand where the memories come from and make a comparison between fantasy and reality.

No, my mother’s not an artist. Her job was to identify the place. I also have 6 brothers and sisters in the fields of engineering and catering.

The Mother of All Journeys by Dinu Li, 2007

The Mother of All Journeys by Dinu Li, 2007

Q: Was there a gap between the reality and your imagination?

She had a memory about hiding behind a tree during Japanese invasion of China. I imagined a tree in a dense forest, where she would hide. But it was just a tree on the hill, which meant that she was desperate to find anywhere to hide. In that sense it was very powerful.

The Mother of All Journeys by Dinu Li, 2007

The Mother of All Journeys by Dinu Li, 2007

Q: What are your images trying to narrate other than the past?

Duality. When you step into a place, there is a duality between what is personal and universal. The photograph is not just about our own experiences, but others’ as well. In the process of unearthing our personal history, there are other histories in that very space. You’re sitting here on the sofa now, so you have a history here. If I come back here tomorrow to take a photograph, I have to understand that someone else sat there and has his own history. The project is multi-layered.

Past is all around us, even in the modern city of Hong Kong. Past is only one second ago, not far away. I’m deeply interested in the concept of time and space, and photography is the perfect medium that deals with this. With photography, you play with time by speeding it up, slowing it down, or freezing it still. You’re empowered with the control to manipulate time.

Roland Bathes, a philosopher, called this a subconscious fear of death. Not that we think about it all the time, but the notion that there’s limited time prompt those to use films, photographs, and videos in the endeavor to understand what time and space are.

The Mother of All Journeys by Dinu Li, 2007

The Mother of All Journeys by Dinu Li, 2007

Q: What feelings or revelations surfaced while exploring the sites of your mother’s past?

Sometimes you go somewhere, you rediscover something you’ve not been thinking about for a long time, and all the memories reappear. When you visit a place, certain aspects trigger your memory. It can be the shape of light, the way it falls, the circular pattern it makes. Now in front of us there’s a shadow cast on the wall, if you revisit that place in 20 years, the pattern will reappear as long as the light is still standing there.

Q: How is the joint creation of art different from solo efforts in your other creations?

A lot of my work has some sort of links – people’s identities, their history and memories. I look at other people’s archive and their personal histories. Even though it’s personal, it’s also public. There’s a different type of duality between personal and public. Their existences are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes my mother’s history is not unique, but shared. For instance, many people have been in love or have been sick.

Dinu Li standing next to his artwork

Dinu Li standing next to his artwork

Q: In what ways has Mother of All Journeys affected other projects of yours?

Family Village and all my new projects – come from Mother of All Journeys. In 2005, a British architect had sent a Christmas card to his Sichuan friend, also an architect, who decided to build the town illustrated on the card in Chengdu. That inspired me and led me to question the authenticity of that place.  In terms of features, the Chengdu town has similar tile, roofs, and chimney shape.  The differences are the local materials and the fact the population in China is bigger, the houses are also taller and bigger.

Moreover, the new town in Chendu brings the authenticity of culture into question. While I was there working, the security guard tried to stop me, “How do I know you’re not a British architect who came to copy our style” Apparently, he was oblivious to the origin of the building. Often we claim that something belongs to us, such as fish and chips just because they’ve been in the UK for such a long period. In fact, chips are French and fish are Dutch.  So it’s interesting to find out where things come from.

For the Family Village project, I scanned a particular 1950’s cartoon book and retold a narrative about a hero boy who intercepted the Japanese soldiers. My adaptation of the story is about a boy on a journey while collecting bamboo. Every time he returns home he finds his home changing. I turned a static original cartoon into a five-minute animation video.

Q: What cultural shocks did you have to overcome as you emigrated from Hong Kong to Manchester? What historical events took place at that time that affected you?

The idea of space – growing up in Hong Kong, we lived in small space. England offered more space. There was more space among people in the metro. The climate – the fog and snow in England.  The sound – the silence in England, as opposed to the noises in Hong Kong.

Since we moved in1973, compared to my parents, I was too young to be affected by historical events. In the 1960’s, people feared that the Cultural Revolution might invade Hong Kong, so those who left China for Hong Kong continued their journey to the West.  

Q: How do you reconcile the cultural and generational differences?

It’s strange. Since my cousins didn’t leave China, there exists a massive cultural difference between them and me.  Having lived in the West, I perceived things from a more objective angle. But for them in that situation, they were so close that they couldn’t see or to understand the 50’s and 60’s.  You had to be further away. That’s why I became an artist.

Q: I read that your father and your mother once made underwear for a factory in Hong Kong. Tell us more about it.

In the 50’s, Hong Kong was like Shenzhen (a manufacturing region in the south of mainland China) now. The westerners established factories in Hong Kong, which at the time was just some island with fisherman.  The exodus of Chinese people to Hong Kong meant they had to start a new life from scratch. Like others, my parents just wanted to get a job in the factories. Now history is repeating itself.

Q: What artwork are you showing at the 53rd Venice Biennale?

Family Village. When you step inside the gallery, you see screens suspended in the middle of the room like a moon, inside which there is a story of a boy watching his home changing all the time as he is picking bamboos.  Inside the video, children are chanting the Chinese translation of a western song from the 1970’s film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Q: During the 4 years of making Mother of All Journey, has anything changed?

Yes.  You start off taking many photographs, and then you keep editing it to make it smaller until you get the core. The most important bit is the real meat of the project. Similar to making a soup, you have to patient and allow time to condense it to the best bit. I can’t just take a photograph and use it immediately. The period of four years allowed me to develop a distance from my photographs and therefore choose wisely. In the last year, I finally reduced the bunch from 300 to 35-40 based on the content.

Q: What was behind your inspiration?

People take things for granted so much that they feel they don’t need to reflect. My mother’s very old, so I must reflect. Mother of All Journeys has inspired others to start similar projects.  It’s a personal project that touches a large audience.

Q: What’s your current project?

I’m doing an artist residency in Shenzhen. I like that it’s on the border of China and Hong Kong. Sometimes my projects are accidental, and other times, to be inspired, I need to be physically in that particular place.

-Contributed by Wendy Ma

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Posted in Ancestors, Asian, Chinese, Family, Hong Kong, Migration, Photography, Slow art, Slow/fast art, Space, Time | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Renowned Japanese artist Hiroshi Senju chooses Hong Kong for his solo debut – interview

Posted by artradar on October 2, 2009


JAPANESE ART

Hiroshi Senju

It was the biggest night of the year at one of the most prominent art galleries in Asia. Hiroshi Senju’s opening of Out of Nature: Cliffs and Falling Water at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Central, Hong Kong has been planned for 2 years, and the gallery was naturally delighted to be selected by the renowned Senju to display his artworks. The gallery was so pleased because Hiroshi Senju is among an elite few of international artists who can have their pick of any gallery in the world to showcase their work, and it is notable that he chose Sundaram Tagore. However, more importantly, he also chose Hong Kong.

Senju’s Sundaram debut marks his first solo show in Hong Kong, which introduces the first 4 paintings in his highly anticipated Rocks and Cliffs series. Throughout the opening event, gallery staff nervously guarded Senju’s 16 signature waterfall paintings and 4 new cliff-themed works, as cheery guests sauntered dangerously close to the  $200,000+ (USD) paintings while sipping glasses of champagne.

For those who don’t know, Hiroshi Senju is an important player in the art world, and would be at the top of a hypothetical who’s-who among Asian artists, or all international artists for that matter. He was thrust into art stardom in 1995 when he became the first Asian artist to receive an award at the Venice Biennale while representing Japan, and he is now among the most celebrated contemporary artists in Asia. In 2003 he became the Director of the Kyoto University of Art and Design, where he also currently teaches art. He now splits his time between Japan and New York, spending about 8 months of the year in NYC working out of his intriguing converted-power-plant art studio.

In an exclusive interview, Hiroshi Senju discusses his career and inspiration with Art Radar. Read on to discover why he chose Hong Kong for his new series debut, why he doesn’t consider himself a Japanese artist or even particularly connected to Japanese culture, and what he believes is the greater purpose of contemporary art.

Hiroshi Senju, Waterfall, 2009, Natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper, 90.9 x 116.7 cm

Hiroshi Senju, Waterfall, 2009, Natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper, 90.9 x 116.7 cm. Image courtesy of the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Where did you grow up, and where were you educated? Were there any major influences or people in your life pushing you toward the arts?

I’ve lived in Tokyo since kindergarten, all the way to my graduate school. So, I’ve lived in Tokyo for a long time, and now I’m living in New York. I lived in a quiet suburban neighborhood, but my elementary school was far away, so I had to take trains and buses to go to school. My parents discouraged me from art. Since elementary school I went to a competitive private school, where there was no test to get into college. The university that I went to was very competitive, the children of politicians and business owners graduated from there, many who became politicians and doctors. My father was a famous economist and my grandfather was a famous medical doctor. My parents encouraged me to become a scholar or foreign diplomat. So, since elementary school I studied very hard to become that, and it was a surprise to them when I wanted to become an artist.

When did you know you were an artist?

I liked art since I was a child. My artwork was represented in my primary school every year, which was unusual, so since then I knew that I had some talent for art, but I never thought I would become an artist. When I started thinking about going to art school I was in high school, but there were so many choices, graphic arts, architect, product designer, so I had a hard time deciding what to become in the field of art. But when I was in high school one of the art teachers suggested I go to a certain exhibition. That exhibition was all done in the style of painting that I do now, which is ‘Nihonga’ style. So as a high school student I was very impressed with the pigments, and I decided I wanted to make art with these kinds of pigments.

In which countries and cities do you spend most of your time?

I probably spend the most of my time in an airplane, that means I travel a lot! But really, I spend about 2/3 of the year in New York in the studio, and 100 days in Kyoto where I am the president of the art university. Other than that I am traveling around the world looking for motifs, especially to Brazil and Argentina.

Do you have a deep connection to any other places or cultures other than Japan?

I don’t necessarily feel connected to Japan. I do not follow any certain culture, but a modern culture. We eat Indian, Chinese, and French food, we drink wines and sake. And sushi. This is what modern people are all about. I want to speak as a cosmopolitan, so therefore I do not necessarily want the audience to feel ‘oh, this is Japanese, or this is Chinese’. There may be some connections to German works of art as well. I try to keep an equal distance from all cultures. But, at the same time, I explained that I love the pigments and that’s why I started this kind of painting. I would like to connect to before the ages when all the people were divided, before the races were divided into east and west, before the culture was divided into east and west.

Which cultures and art scenes do you follow the most?

One thing I really like is 11th century Chinese art. So when I created this new series of work called The Cliff, I could have shown anywhere in the world, but I chose Hong Kong. I felt that the Hong Kong audience will be the most critical audience, since they have the traditions of the work that I love, 11th century Chinese art.

Which artists do you admire?

I admire Claude Monet, Max Ernst, Andy Warhol. All these masters created art and art history. I respect this and all the arts. If I had to choose one, which is very hard, I would choose the Italian Renaissance. Those people have left a big footprint in art history.

Which contemporary artists are you most interested in?

Since I am an artist I am most interested in myself.

What things inspire you?

The inspiration I value the most are the emotions that all humans feel. I value this not as an artist, but as a human being. Also, I like to read Haruki Murakami.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not making art?

I play with my kids, my 3 sons. They are 16, 15, and 12. They are in New York.

Why did you first start painting in the ancient style?

As I have studied oil and acrylic painting, I found this style had the most potential. The pigments themselves are extraordinary and paper is very attractive and has many possibilities. Mulberry paper is very strong, even if you tried to rip it you can’t. This paper has a long history in Japan. I didn’t choose this because it is Japanese, but having equal distance from all techniques, I chose this because it had the most potential.

How did you first begin marketing your work?

It was very difficult. Probably every artist remembers the first piece that was sold. When you think of creating a work to sell, it won’t sell. When you first creating a work that you don’t want to let go, that’s when people start buying.

Who are your major collectors?

Of course many buyers are in the Japan and U.S. Many entrepreneurs. I shouldn’t mention names.

How long does it take to produce an artwork?

Since I’m 51 years old, I can say that the work all took 51 years to create. What it means is that since I’ve lived 51 years, and it took this long for me to decide to use these pigments and find motifs to create the work. That is the most accurate. However, if you mean how long I actually spend creating a single painting, each one takes about a month.

Tell me about how you work? A typical piece?

When you start painting you should not spend too much time wondering. You have decided you are creating, and you put on your best efforts to create. I do not look at the cliff and say, oh, that is such a beautiful cliff, I want to paint now. It is different from that. I have emotions I want to express, and creating a cliff would exactly show what I want to say. That’s how I create them. First emotions, then the image comes. When I first look at the cliff there is an emotion I had, and with this cliff I can express my emotion. But that’s only 5% of the work. The other 95% of the work is communication between myself and the canvas.

There is a sculptor who sculpts from stone, and he says that all he does is get the art out of the stone. What he is going to create is sitting inside the stone, and all he does is get it out. When I create the work, the painting tells me what it wants me to do. I listen to the voice of the painting. It is nothing spiritual and isn’t an Asian concept– but most artists, I think this is how they create work.

What kind of space do you work in?

I use my studio, which previously was an electrical factory, or a power plant. It is so large there that my assistants carry the phones around so they can get to it in time when it rings. Previously I used the university’s art studio as a student. It is important to remember the humbling feeling of using the universitys art studio as a student. Students work out of pure love and joy for creation. It is important to keep that.

Where were you inspired to make this current Rock and Cliff series?

These cliff pieces are the first 4 in this series that I have created. I found these cliffs in my dreams, although I did sketch places in Argentina. I went to paint in Argentina during the summer to look for motifs like waterfalls.

What are your next projects?

I’m planning on making a national guest house, working with Mr. Tadao Ando, an architect. There are many more projects, for example an airport project, train stations, and a building in Singapore. I’m very happy and lucky that I have such exciting projects.

Is there a piece in the show especially meaningful to you?

These paintings are like my children, therefore I cannot differentiate one f’rom the other. I like each one of them, and that is my truth.

Hiroshi Senju, Waterfall 2009, Natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper,  90.0 x 116.7 cm

Hiroshi Senju, Waterfall 2009, Natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper, 90.0 x 116.7 cm. Image courtesy of the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Advice for Young Artists

Was it hard starting out? What advice would you give young artists and aspiring art directors?

First is confidence, second is courage, third is talent. Being confident and able to encourage yourself is more important than talent, because everyone has a talent. As long as you believe in yourself and encourage yourself, it will come through. I encourage everyone to pursue their dreams.

What mistakes do you think artists make most in terms of developing their careers? What should they be doing?

Artists can over value their work too much or think of their work too highly. However, at the same time you cannot undervalue it either. You must become objective.

How has the contemporary art scene changed since you began working with it?

The contemporary art situation changes depending on the economic situations in the world. Luckily I have been unaffected, but it is unfortunate the economy dictates the art scene. Since  I am connected to someone with great respect in the art world, I can stick to what I want to create. It is important to be connected to a good gallery.

Which Japanese institutions and galleries do you admire and recommend to art lovers?

First, Tokyo National Museum, and also the Kyoto University of Art. I am the president there, but I do not recommend it because I am the president- I took the job because I had so much respect for the institution.

How would you recommend artists approach galleries for representation and what advice would you give about having a good relationship with a gallery?

Be honest. Gallerists have known of many incoming artists to exaggerate or lie. So be honest and have good quality work. At the same time, you can’t sell rock music to an opera fan. You have to find the right dealer.

What problems do you see for young artists today? In what ways are young artists today fortunate?

The economic situation is a problem for young artists. Also, there is too much information. I think too many people are tied to the trends, and trends are created by someone else. As a young artist, you must find what you have and work with what you’ve got. But, being in the information age is an advantage, because you are able to show your work over the internet. A while ago you had to be in New York. When I was young I had to show something in New York, or else no one would see the work. Now you can create a homepage of your own, and you can submit your ideas through the internet to anywhere in the world.

Hiroshi Senju, Waterfall 2009, Natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper,   90.0 x 116.7 cm

Hiroshi Senju, Waterfall 2009, Natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper, 90.0 x 116.7 cm. Image courtesy of the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Contemporary Art: Why Is It Important?

What role do you think contemporary art plays in society?

To bring back memories of things you have forgotten, problems of ecology, the earth’s environmental issues, lack of communications, peace, this is the role of contemporary art. For example, my pieces are made out of all natural ingredients, the paper and pigments are natural, the glue is also natural. By using these natural materials I want people to see the powers of nature. Looking at the painting of the waterfall, I want people to appreciate the falling water as a beauty in itself. When I created the cliff I applied the pigment with a scrunched up paper. The scrunched paper is a fault to most people. However, I do not consider the imperfection a problem, but rather I find beauty in it. It’s about recycling, and bringing back the things that might have been scarred. I believe these concepts are very important for the 21st century. Do not throw out the paper because it is scrunched, but find beauty in its shapes.

What is your philosophy as an artist?  Why create art?

I find it a peace-making process. Like singers sing songs, it is a way of communication. When an artist shows work it is all about communicating. Art is all about communicating with everybody beyond religions and sexes. Therefore it is the peace-making process. I think that is the wonderful part of making art. There is a wisdom within it.

What do you think is the greater purpose of contemporary art?

It helps us understand that everyone has very different ideas, but we are all human beings. I believe that what I think is beautiful, you will think is beautiful also.

What are you trying to achieve or communicate through your art?

I want everyone to remember the concept of beauty, and it is sublime. In beauty I believe there’s a lot of power, which gives people encouragement and energy to live.

How do you want people to feel and think when viewing your works?

I want everyone to think like myself! I want everyone to think like how I feel about beauty.

Does water and the waterfall have a special significance to you?

For all human beings, the most important element is water. Deep inside, that’s why I wanted to create water.

What has been your biggest challenge in art?

My challenge is in creating and successfully showing every work. Now is the most important time for me. Every day is a challenge.

Skira, the leading Italian publisher, will release a monograph on Hiroshi Senju for worldwide distribution in fall 2009.

-contributed by Erin Wooters

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Posted in Gallery shows, Hong Kong, Japanese, Painting | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Which Chinese artists are among the big names at Louis Vuitton Passion show in Hong Kong? NY Times review

Posted by artradar on June 4, 2009


HONG KONG ART SHOW CHINESE ARTISTS

“Admirably …the conservative, government-run museum goes beyond its usual comfort zone” says The New York Times in its review of the Hong Kong Museum of Art’s latest show: ‘Louis Vuitton: A Passion for Creation’ which runs until 9 August 2009.

Hong Kong Museum of Art wrapped for Louis Vuitton Passion show

Hong Kong Museum of Art wrapped for Louis Vuitton Passion show

In a generally positive review, the few criticisms are not sharp:

To hard-core followers of contemporary art, the exhibition can seem like a “greatest hits” compilation. But it is a rare opportunity to see in Asia — outside of Japan — some of the biggest names in global culture today. And offerings like the huge triptypch “Class war, militant, gateway” by the British duo Gilbert and George and the “Xanadu” installation by Robert Boyd, with an Olivia Newton-John soundtrack, can be fun.

The big name artists include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gilbert and George, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Andreas Gursky, Pierre Huyghe, Jeff Koons, Bertrand Lavier, Christian Marclay and Richard Prince.

Also on show are Chinese artists: Paul Chan (a New Yorker) and two young new media artists Cao Fei and Yang Fudong. Though the latter two artists are making a name for themselves internationally — Melissa Chiu of the Asia Society identifies them as two of the most important emerging Chinese artists of the next generation — The New York Times review of their works was little more than a listing:

Ms. Pagé (the artistic director of the Louis Vuitton foundation) gives prominent spaces to three works by Chinese artists: “RMB City: A Second Life City Planning by China Tracy,” a 3-D animation by Cao Fei; “Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest,” an experimental black-and-white film by Yang Fudong; and the installation “no man is an island,” a contemplation of the Sept. 11 attacks by Paul Chan, a Hong Kong-born New Yorker.

Yang Fudong, Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest, DVD

Provoking more questions than answers, the piece was only a little more forthcoming about the lesser known but emerging Hong Kong artists (Nadim Abbas, Lee Kit, Leung Chi Wo, Pak Sheung Chuen, Tsang Kin Wah, Adrian Wong and Doris Wong) who were invited to participate in the show.

Hong Kong artists were recently showcased for the first time at the Sotheby’s Spring Auction in Hong Kong and Pak Sheung Chuen will be participating in the 53rd Venice Biennale. With growing interest in Hong Kong artists, we wondered what The New York Times had to say about them.

Commissioned works by seven Hong Kong artists are featured in an upstairs gallery. The toys of Naddim Abbas, word-based projection by Tsang Kin-wah and the squawking, duck-themed installation by Adrian Wong, stand out.

Not enough to sate us. Over to you…

How do you think their works stand up against the big international name artists? Which artists do you think stand out? If you are able to see the show why not leave a comment below.

More reviews: Redbox Review   – as always a meaty read over at Red Box

Images: Arrested Motion  – not titled but plenty of them

Profiles of Hong Kong artists – Time Out in Hong Kong has published interesting chatty profiles of each of the Hong Kong artists in the show

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Posted in China, Chinese, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Artists, Museum shows, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Property companies splurge on art in Hong Kong, recent trend

Posted by artradar on June 4, 2009


ART SPONSORSHIP HONG KONG

At the end of last year Time Out noticed a new trend in Hong Kong,

one with its own strange momentum. Property companies appeared to be competing with one another to sponsor the arts.

Zhang Yu, A One and a Two

Zhang Yu, A One and a Two

When the Olympics surged into town in August 2008, the Sun Hung Kai Charitable Fund revealed their City Art Square in Sha Tin, a 190,000 square foot area developed in association with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), featuring 19 public art works by international and local artists (from Zaha Hadid to Freeman Lau). The project won a prestigious Cityscape Architectural Award, and brought a welcome dose of innovation to the New Territories.

There were also exhibitions in Causeway Bay as Wharf, owners of Times Square, launched a series of high profile exhibitions in the development’s public space.

Meanwhile, the Sino Group continued with their award-winning Art in Hong Kong campaign, sponsoring art projects and holding exhibitions in their properties.

Joaquin Gasgonia Palencia, Red Horse

Joaquin Gasgonia Palencia, Red Horse

Even The Link launched the Artsmart fair in Stanley.

But in December, Swire Properties dropped their arts bombshell.

Following their consistent support of the arts since the 1970s, they opened ArtisTree, an astonishing 20,000 square foot space in Taikoo Place dedicated to visual and performing arts.

The opening exhibition (showing until the end of January) was Dame Vivienne Westwood’s retrospective exhibition ‘A Life in Fashion’, organised in conjunction with London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Just to rub it in the face of the LCSD, the Museum of Art had turned down the chance to hold the same exhibition several years ago.

Essentially, here was a property company doing the work of an art museum.

And looking forward in 2009

one of the most unusual property-art events of the year will occur in autumn when an ‘Art Mall’ will open in the new K11 development in Tsim Sha Tsui. The project is a partnership between New World Development and the the Urban Renewal Authority.

“K11 is probably the first art mall in the world, combining an art gallery with a shopping mall,” explains Adrian Cheng, Executive Director of New World Development. The art loving 28 year old and driving force behind the project promises to showcase artworks by local and international artists throughout the mall.

“TST has the Cultural Centre and Museum of Art, and K11 is the main force to integrate the art and cultural elements of TST, so that the district becomes the ultimate cultural district in Hong Kong, like Tribeca or Soho [in New York],” adds the young developer. “Giving local artists the resources and platform to display their masterpieces is the main vision for K11 to promote local art.”

There is a tradition of arts sponsorship by Hong Kong property companies pioneered by Hong Kong Land,  but now there is a new ‘splurge’ which brings with it some risks. Read more at Time Out

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