Hong Kong art shows its global creative colours

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 May, 2013, 5:47am

A distorted life-sized taxi, a symphony of sounds made by MTR turnstiles, five women dressed up as Hong Kong's five tallest buildings.

These are just a few of the Hong Kong-inspired contemporary art pieces at an exhibition that opens today.

The Hong Kong Eye exhibition on show at ArtisTree, Tai Koo Place, throughout May, is aimed at presenting Hong Kong art to the world and promoting its artists, organisers say.

"Hong Kong art is the best-kept secret in the art world, but now the secret is out," one of the three curators, Johnson Chang Tsong-zung, said. "I hope that this makes a statement about creativity in Hong Kong."

The exhibition, visited by close to 200,000 visitors at London's Saatchi Gallery in December, includes the works of 24 people who consider themselves Hong Kong artists.

Chang said the works were distinctly Hong Kong and different from the works that came over the border from the north.

Curator Nigel Hurst, also chief executive of the Saatchi Gallery, said there had been such focus on mainland China in the past that Hong Kong art was often overlooked.

Also, with studio space at a premium, "many would think that ambitious work cannot be carried out", he said.

"But this exhibition shows that ambitious work is possible … there is a lot of talent here."

Exhibitor Amy Cheung Wan-man said her taxi, distorted by outward pressure, encouraged Hongkongers to use resistance to make positive change during social and political turmoil in the city.

"With Hong Kong in such turbulent times lately, I still believe that no matter what happens externally, we who are driving the taxi will make it if we keep our direction," Cheung said.

Portuguese Joao Vasco Paiva, who has lived in Hong Kong for seven years, took inspiration from MTR maps and turnstiles.

MAP Office - Hong Kong-based artist duo Laurent Gutierrez from Morocco and France-born Valerie Portefaix - picked Hong Kong's island geography to explore the concept of space in the crowded city.

Another artist, Chow Chun-fai, painted iconic Hong Kong film scenes.