In the Show – May 29th 2012

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Mobile M+ Yau Ma Tei

One of the highlights of the West Kowloon Cultural District is going to be a museum for visual culture called M+. Well the museum hasn’t been built yet, but M+ is already putting on mobile exhibitions. The current one is running in Yau Ma Tei. It’ll be at least five years before the M+ museum building is completed, but earlier this year the organisation implemented the pop up project, “Mobile M+” was initiated to forge connections with the community. Mobile M+ Yau Ma Tei, currently underway, involves seven artists, six of whom are local.

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Graffiti Artists Ceet and Kongo

Kongo and Ceet are graffiti artists who are both currently showing their work in the Landmark shopping mall. Kongo, now 42, born to a Vietnamese father and a French mother, was a refugee of the Vietnamese War.He moved to Paris at six, living in a depressed area of Paris with his grandparents, the only Asian in the community. He countered his sense of being an outsider with graffiti, through which he could create and express himself using marker pens and spray paints. It’s unlikely that anyone in his neighborhood could foresee that one day his artwork and signature would appear on the scarves of a luxury French brand and become known around the world Originally from Toulouse, Ceet has lived in Hong Kong for three years.Before that, he spent 10 years studying painting and sculpture in China. He says both places have inspired him and he would like to have more cultural exchanges with Chinese people in the region.

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Movie Review – “Men in Black 3”

It’s 15 years since the first “Men in Black” movie, starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. It’s ten years since the second. And now, “Men in Black 3” is here, and in 3D. In this one an alien goes back to 1969 to kill Agent K, (Tommy Lee Jones) and his partner Agent J (Smith) has to also leap in time to save him. As before, it’s directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, but it’s had a troubled production history. Gary Pollard tells us more.

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Daydreaming With …

“Daydreaming with… “ is a series of exhibitions that brings together music and visual art. London DJ and musician James Lavelle introduced the concept in 2010, and the exhibitions usually include work from many artists in different disciplines. For his first international exhibition in the series James Lavelle has come to Hong Kong, with a 20,000 square foot exhibition at ArtisTree in Quarry Bay. It’s curated by himself and locally based artist Simon Birch.
 

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Thomas Bloch and the ondes Martenot
French multi-instrumentalist Thomas Bloch specialises in performing on rare instruments such as the ondes Martenot, the glass harmonica and the cristal Baschet. Last week, Thomas Bloch performed on this rare instrument with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong. While here, he also came to our studio.

In the Show – May 22nd 2012

Art HK12

PictureThe four day Hong Kong International Art Fair, which ended last Sunday, has been celebrating its fifth anniversary with its most spectacular line-up, and is getting bigger than ever. While Art HK12 was under way, we spent several days there, looking at the art on show, and asking whether it will change under the management of Art Basel.

 

 

 

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 Space@West Kowloon

While the Hong Kong International Art Fair has been going on at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, another much smaller exhibition is under way at the Central Library in Causeway Bay. The Art Fair, of course, concentrates on the art market, where works will be sold to private buyers. The Hong Kong Sculpture Biennial this year is focusing on art for the public. It’s organised by the Hong Kong Sculpture Society. It’s called Space@West Kowloon, will be on show until the end of this month, and focuses on possible sculptures to be shown in the West Kowloon Cultural District’s open areas.

 

 

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British Art in Hong Kong

It’s a big year for Britain, not only because the 2012 Olympics is being held there, but also because it’s the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Britain’s also been running a four year cultural Olympiad to coincide with the games, which has its grand finale with the London 2012 Festival from June to September. During the Hong Kong International Art Fair, some of that celebration of British creativity has been spilling over to Hong Kong, both at the art fair itself, and at the Cat Street Gallery.

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In the Show – May 15th 2012

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Glass Sculptor Jean-Michel Othoniel

We begin by looking at the work of two French sculptors here for the French May festival. One of them, Jean-Michel Othoniel, exhibiting in Macau, is currently looking back on his life and work,in the exhibition “My Way”. For this show, French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel was returning to Macau for the first time in 20 years. This visit was for his mid-career retrospective, part of the annual French May programme. It highlights works created by Jean-Michel over the past 25 years. His early works, before he began to use glass as a major medium, were created with sensitive and unpredictable materials like phosphorus, wax and sulphur.

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Laurent Grasso 

Laurent Grasso is particularly interested in things that are mysterious and impossible to explain. His works include video, sculpture, installations, as well as paintings and drawings, and seem to exist somewhere between reality and science fiction. They may alarm you. They may draw you closer. Continuing with the idea of a detached reality, Grasso has brought to Hong Kong his “Anechoic Pavilion”, set up on the rooftop of Pier 4 in Central.People are invited to retreat into this cabin-like room to meditate.

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Movie Director/Photographer Mike Figgis in Hong Kong 

Last week we introduced you to some of the artists in town for the recent Liberatum festival. Among them was a film director who has worked with Richard Gere, Nicholas Cage, Andy Garcia, and Salma Hayek. He’s also a keen jazz musician who has played with Bryan Ferry and composed music for his own films. His critically acclaimed 1995 film “Leaving Las Vegas” earned many awards, but lately he’s turned further and further away from big Hollywood movies to embrace more independent projects, new technology … and photography.

PictureIn the Studio – The Trocks

Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo don’t have much at all to do with Monte Carlo, but do have a lot to do with ballet. This week they’re performing at the Academy for Performing Arts, and we’re delighted to have in our studio artistic director Tory Dobrin and dancer Raffaele Morra.

In the Show – May 8th 2012

 

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Sculptor Bernar Venet

The “French May” festival is in full flood, and featuring – among many other great artists – many sculptors. This week we spoke to two of them, including sculptor, painter and conceptual artist Bernar Venet. In the early 1960s, influenced by the New Realists in Paris, Bernar began to create sculptures out of cardboard. In 1966 on a trip to New York he became inspired by Minimalism. And turned to creating work based on mathematics and scientific concepts. He moved there a year later.In the early seventies, he returned to Paris, focusing on teaching rather than creation. He started making art again in 1976.His “Indeterminate Lines” series, variations of straight, curved or broken lines, came to life in the 1990s.

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Nathalie Decoster

Now on show in several of Hong Kong’s public spaces such as Chater Garden, Statue Square and at the Hong Kong Art centre, the monumental sculptures of French sculptor Nathalie Decoster use humour and tenderness to talk of man’s fragility and the elusiveness of time. Her work also has geometric forms, but she includes human figures, or parts of human figures, to reflect on the situation of human beings in a manmade world

 

 

 

PictureMovie Review: “The Avengers”

As part of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe”, we’ve already been introduced, via a series of movies, to the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Loki, Captain America, the “Black Widow”, Nick Fury and Hawkeye. Now these super-heroes, Gods and mortals come together for “The Avengers” directed by Joss Whedon. The idea of a group comic book movie can be daunting. How about this one? Gary Pollard reviews it.

 

 

 

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Liberatum Hong Kong

Liberatum is an organisation that aims to bring together international at different venues around the world through major cultural diplomacy festivals and artistic celebrations. It’s been in existence for more than a decade, and its annual festivals have taken place in countries such as Italy, Turkey, Russia, the United Kingdom, Morocco, France and India. Last week, Liberatum was in Hong Kong.Liberatum Hong Kong brought together guests like Nobel Laureate Sir VS Naipaul, American singer and composer Pharrell Williams, performance artist Terence Koh, and film directors Mike Figgis and Paul Schrader as well as local artists in various fields.
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Wang Jian and Yang Xuefei

Cellist Wang Jian first came to international music lovers’ attention when he was just ten years old, in the Isaac Stern documentary film “From Mao to Mozart”. Since then he’s gone on to even greater heights. Last weekend he was in Hong Kong for a concert with Beijing-born guitarist Yang Xuefei. Both have visited Hong Kong before, and people were very enthusiastic to see them both together. Tickets sold out very quickly. We went to visit them during their rehearsals.

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In the Show – 1st May 2012

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Hearing-impaired photographer Jack Li

Hearing-impaired photographer Jack Li feels that his sense of sight may be more sensitive than that of healthy people. For him, photography brings a greater connection to the world. Ten years ago, he attended a photography course at a center for the deaf. Since then he has loved photography, which has even brought him awards.


PictureIn the Studio – Pianist Francois Chaplin

Pianist Francois Chaplin was born in Paris into a family of painters. He spent many weekends in Barbizon, a commune in north-central France. That gave him a strong feeling of the link between music and the colours of nature. After hearing his mother playing as a child he began piano lessons himself at the age of eight. He’s particularly known for his playing of Debussy, and has made a much-praised recording of Debussy’s complete piano works. He’s also a professor at the Conservatoire de Rayonnement Régional in Versailles and has taught master classes in many countries across the world. This week he was performing and teaching master classes in Hong Kong at the invitation of the French May. He came into our studio to talk, and play a little Chopin.


PictureHuang Rui – “Language-Colour” Exhibition

Huang Rui was one of the founder members of Beijing’s avant-garde art group Stars in 1979. Over the years his art work has covered many areas and has been hard to fit into any one category. Much of it has to do with examining or confronting authority in one guise or another. At 10 Chancery Lane Gallery until this Wednesday, 9th May, you can see his exhibition “Language-Colour”, which focuses on words in colours, and colours in words.


PictureIn the Studio – Violinist and Composer Mark O’Connor

Mark O’Connor is an American bluegrass, jazz, country and classical violinist and fiddler, composer and music teacher, who was also a child prodigy. As a teenager he won national string instrument championships for his virtuoso playing of the guitar and mandolin as well as on the fiddle. His great mentors include old-time Texas fiddler Benny Thomasson, and French jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli. This week he’s in Hong Kong to take part in a series of workshops and performances called “The Intimacy of Creativity”. This week he’s in our studio playing his own pieces “Appalachia Waltz” and “Call of the Mockingbird”.

In the Show – 24th April 2012

Gilbert and George

PictureGilbert & George have been working together for five decades. They are two people, one artist, they say, and have been since they first met at Saint Martins School of Art in 1967 while studying sculpture. It was with the performance, the “Singing Sculptures” in 1970 that they first exhibited their “living sculptures” concept in which they appeared as their own art work. “London Pictures” is the largest series the artist duo has yet created. The 292 pictures is a result of selection from almost 4,000 newspaper posters the two stole and collected on the streets of London over the past six years. 22 are now on show in Hong Kong as the inaugural exhibition of White Cube’s first gallery outside England. We spoke to them during their recent visit.

 

 

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Move Review: “A Dangerous Method”

The movie “A Dangerous Method” is about Carl Jung, his relationship with the great pioneer of psychology Sigmund Freud, and also his relationship with Sabina Spielrein, a patient who became his lover and later an analyst in her own right. It’s directed by David Cronenberg, who some may know better for his horror and sci-fi movies like “The Fly” and “Videodrome”, or his examinations of violence, as in “A History of Violence” and “Eastern Promises”. So how does he do with a historical biography? Gary Pollard reviews it.

 

 

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Water Poon

Water Poon is a photographer, designer, film director, and a painter. For a long time he’s been interested in the colours blue and white, and they are featured in his latest exhibition of paintings in the “Lotus” series at Art Beatus Gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

PictureIn the Studio – Mouron

The French singer Mouron was born in Marseille and began writing her own songs or “chansons” at 12, influenced by such great artists as Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel. She performed in the famous music hall L’Olympia in Paris when she was just 17. In 1995, she met the German cabaret star-pianist Terry Truck. Since then they have given numerous successful performances in France and around the world. At the end of March, Mouron was in Hong Kong giving six days of master classes. This week she’s back to give a concert on Monday and Tuesday, and she and Terry are in our studio to perform Edith Piaf’s “Hymne A L’Amour”..

In the Show – 17th April 2012

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Art Activism

You could be forgiven for thinking that property developers rule Hong Kong. New developments often remove much of what makes an area interesting in the first place. The non-profit art organization Wooferten is currently examining ways for one area, Yau Ma Tei, to defend its own identity from developers in the Yaumatei Self-Rescue Project and Demonstration Exhibition.

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Movie Review – “Shame”

British film director Steve McQueen began his career as a video artist, making short videos for art galleries. He even wn the Turner Prize within just five years of leaving art school. With his movies “Hunger” and now “Shame” he has entered more mainstream cinema. “Shame”, which is showing at local cinemas this week, starts Michael Fassbender as a man who is a sex addict, and Carey Mulligan as the sister who intrudes herself into his domestic arrangements. Gary Pollard reviews it.

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Comix and the City


The comic book illustrator can create whole worlds. He or she can also create fantasy characters that could exist anywhere in the universe, or might not exist at all except in the imagination. But at the Hong Kong Arts Centre right now the exhibition “Comix & The City” is showing just how much comic book creators draw on, and love, their own city.

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In the Studio – Pianist Javier Perianes

On Thursday Spanish pianist Javier Perianes is performing at City Hall. Born in 1978, Javier is already considered one of Spain’s most exciting young artists, and has been called “the poet of the piano. He’s with us in the studio to talk about the concert, and to play Manuel de Falla’s “Andaluz”.