The Future Perfect exhibition is a must-see for science fiction fans

Future Perfect agnès b.'s Librairie Galerie

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 10:52pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 10:52pm

Jean-FranÇois Sanz often feels like a kid in a candy store. As the head of art and culture of the agnès b. endowment fund, he gets to work on shows that he's passionate about. And the latest exhibition at agnès b.'s Librairie Galerie in Central, for which he is curator, is no exception.

After being shown in Paris and New York, "Future Perfect" has now touched down in Hong Kong and is a must-see for lovers of science fiction.

Showcasing artefacts, drawings, illustrations, and devices of the genre, it is an eye-opening show that mixes works and documents of contemporary artists with those of artists from previous centuries. Each gives perspective to the others, and each item cleverly ignites talk about how past cultural output imagined the future.

"The items really challenge, almost confuse, people's perception of what is old and what is new," says Sanz, who is passionate about all things science fiction.

And confuse it does. A pair of leather goggles, a mask, a hat and a watch all look like something out of the 1800s, but, in fact, are made by the French accessories company, Tempus-Factoris.

In the middle of one room is an intricate cardboard submarine by modern French artist Didier Graffet, who was inspired by the classic science fiction novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. There are architectural drawings by American Hugh Ferriss (1889-1962) that perfectly blend with the works of modern French artists Sam Van Olffen and Hugues Reip.

There is also a section dedicated to PhotoStatic/Retrofuturism, a magazine created in the early 1980s by American artist Lloyd Dunn, while the entrance to the gallery is covered in wallpaper comprising the covers of sci-fi magazines.

Sanz says the exhibition is structured around movements including retrofuturism (a term coined by Dunn describing the creative trend in the 1980s — mainly in graphic art, design and architecture — of depictions of the future from an earlier era that combined old-fashioned styles with futuristic technology) and steampunk (characterised by science fiction narratives and the imagination of steam power within the context of the 19th century).

To mark the exhibition in Hong Kong, two books published by galerie du jour are also available.

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