Hong Kong art show opens in London

Largest show of its kind in the West intended to give city’s contemporary artists international exposure, and hopefully art lovers a wider view

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2012, 3:39am

London's first show of Hong Kong contemporary art is intended to give the city's artists exposure on the world stage, says one of the organisers, the Saatchi Gallery.

But whether or not the show, Hong Kong Eye, would also encourage fans of Chinese contemporary art to take a broader perspective and look beyond mainland China remained to be seen, said Nigel Hurst, chief executive of the prestigious gallery.

The exhibition, which features more than 50 works by 18 Hong Kong artists and runs from today until January 12, will be brought to Hong Kong in May.

It is the largest show of Hong Kong contemporary art ever held in the West. A book of the same name featuring 76 artists was launched in Hong Kong last month.

Hurst said Hong Kong had become an international focal point through the success of modern and contemporary fair ART HK as well as through international galleries establishing themselves in the city.

"But [there] hasn't been much of a platform for contemporary Hong Kong artists," he said.

"We want to reverse that cultural exchange by bringing the Hong Kong artists to be seen and viewed in London by an audience that has never seen those works before. And by taking this show back to Hong Kong there will be an opportunity for the audience to see the works being chosen from the perspective of international curators."

"Hong Kong Eye" is the third of the "Eye" shows from the founders of Parallel Contemporary Art, David and Serenella Ciclitira, after "Korean Eye" and "Indonesian Eye," which were also staged at the Saatchi Gallery. The Hong Kong edition is sponsored by insurance giant Prudential.

Works featured in the London exhibition include Amy Cheung Wan-man's six-metre long multimedia piece Toy Tank from 2006, which takes up the centre of one room, and Justin Wong Chiu-tat's 2011 installation Difficult Life Station, which occupies an entire wall. Paintings by Chow Chun-fai and Lam Tung-pang, and installations by Kum Chi-keung, also feature.

Hurst, co-curator of the exhibition, said it was not intended to be a comprehensive survey, but an introduction to the Hong Kong art scene.

He agreed the Western art world had thus far focused on mainland Chinese art.

The founder of cultural agency Made in China, Philip Dodd, who attended the show's preview, said it was much more modest than previous Eye exhibitions but he was impressed by the wide range of works.

Dodd, former director of London's Institute of Contemporary Arts said Hong Kong's identity was "alive and well".

In Hong Kong, the show will be set up in ArtisTree at Taikoo Place in Quarry Bay.