PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 April, 2009, 12:00am

Gallery of Modern Art

Until Apr 30 German artist Cornelia Erdmann's second solo exhibition demonstrates that art and commercial design need not be mutually exclusive.

Befl?gelt, which opened yesterday at the Gallery of Modern Art, includes a large-scale wall installation that would sit well in any trendy boutique. Inspired by traditional Chinese paintings, In Clover (above) is a 2.5-metre by 3-metre composition featuring three-dimensional insects buzzing around a tree, all made of stainless steel. The work aims to contrast our natural and artificial living environment.

'My work may look a lot like a design work, but the function of the piece serves as an artwork, not a design object,' says Erdmann, former gallery manager at the independent 1a Space.

Unlike her previous solo exhibition Domesticities at Gallery Uma-G in 2007, all works in this show were made during her three-year stay in Hong Kong. Her piece Goods features red lampshades commonly found in local fresh food markets. 'The first thing I associated with Hong Kong was a shiny business centre with loads of skyscrapers; later I found the unique local culture such as wet markets really charming,' says Erdmann.

She drilled holes in the red lampshades to create shapes of food including ginger, peppers, fish and crabs.

'I'm fascinated by the wet markets, all those exotic fruits, vegetables, fish and everything, we don't have that back home,' says Erdmann. 'These works have a lot to do with the uniqueness of Hong Kong culture'

The installation is also a commentary on how the city is being consumed by redevelopment. 'It's a reminder of the wet markets that are closing in Central and Wan Chai,' Erdmann says. 'The street culture has to give way to new developments. The lampshades themselves are disappearing because local factories don't produce them anymore.'

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