In the Show – 26th April

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day

PictureLast week we introduced you to a photographer who likes to use the old technique of wet-plate photography. This week is devoted to another old form of photography. Sunday was Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. This year it’s been extended for a week and you can make yourself a homemade camera and submit your pictures up until next Sunday.

Movie Review – “Source Code”

PictureIn Duncan Jones’ movie “Source Code, Colter Stevens (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a train. A woman opposite him tells him she took his advice and that it was good advice. He’s confused. He isn’t the person she thinks he is. Before he can figure out what’s going on, an explosion rips through the carriage and kills them both. Colter wakes up in a capsule of some kind. As the film gradually reveals, he’s taking part in a government project called “Source Code.” He has to relive the last eight minutes in the life of a man who died during the explosion on the train until he can identify the bomber and prevent another attack. Gary Pollard reviews it.

March for Ai Weiwei

PictureLast Saturday, Hong Kong artists and art lovers marched from Mongkok to the Cultural Centre in Tsimshatsui. Organisers estimate that around 2,500 people took part. They were marching, and creating their own art to ask for the release of artist Ai Weiwei, who has now been in detention in mainland China since April 3rd.

Clarinettist Richard Stolzman in the studio

PictureRichard Stoltzman has degrees in music and mathematics. He’s also a Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef who knows how to make a mean Linzer Torte. But he’s better known as possibly the world’s finest classical clarinettist. He began learning the clarinet at eight. Since then he’s appeared as a soloist with more than a hundred classical orchestras, and with jazz and pop musicians, including Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma, Judy Collins, Keith Jarrett and Mel Tormé. He gave the first clarinet recitals in the histories of both the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall. He’s made over forty records and has earned two Grammys. We’re delighted to have him here in our studio.

In the Show: 19th April 2011

Zao Wou-ki

PictureInternationally, Zao Wou-ki is one of the most respected Chinese artists. He’s 90 this year, and has been painting since he was 14. He’s become a French citizen and lived most of his life in Paris, where he produces works that are mostly abstract but that still combine Chinese and Western elements. For its inaugural exhibition in Hong Kong de Sarthe Fine Arts exhibited ten of his greatest works.

Film Review – “Limitless”

Neil Burger’s film “Limitless” is about a drug that can make you smart, give you the ability to use 100% of your brain instead of the 20% or so we supposedly normally use. Eddie Morry (Bradley Cooper) plays a writer who knows he has a great novel inside him. The problem is he can’t write the first word … until he takes a drug called NZT-48, which turns him into a genius … sort of. Gary Pollard reviews it.

Wet-Plate Photography

PictureGavin Au is a Hong Kong-based artist. In his first solo exhibition “Still sitting on the wall” he’s reflecting on recent events in mainland China and Hong Kong.He sees the exhibition as, in part, a dialogue with a series of photographs by Chinese photographer Weng Fen ten years ago. In his photos Weng was reflecting the state of change in China since it opened its doors to greater capitalism. All of the photos in Gavin’s exhibition were made using the 19th century “wet plate collodion process”, invented in 1851 by Frederick Scott Archer.

Studio Performance: Tina Karen Lo and Joanna Li

In our studio performance, Tina Karen Lo and Joanna Li bring together the piano and the guitar. They’ll be giving us a preview of their upcoming concert on 4th May which includes works by Diabelli, Giuliani, and Ponce, as well as an adaptation of the Butterfly Lovers Concerto.

In the Show – 12th April 2011

Writers Amitav Ghosh and Mrs MoneyPenny

PictureYou may remember that a couple of weeks ago we introduced you to writer Jonathan Watts, who had visited Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Literary Festival. This week we’re introducing two more very different authors from opposite sides of the world who were her for the same event. Indian writer of “Sea of Poppies” Amitav Ghosh, and the very English Mrs Moneypenny.

Movie Review: “Hanna”

PictureOnce upon a time, a girl lived in the woods with her father. That girl is “Hanna”, and in Joe Wright’s film of the same name, she reaches sixteen and is about to step out into the big wide world and encounter, among others, an evil stepmother. It sounds like a fairy tale, and in a way it is, but it’s also a spy thriller. The evil stepmother figure works for the CIA. So how do the two different genres combine? Reviewer Gary Pollard was mostly impressed.

Tribute to Ai Weiwei

PictureTo show their concern about the detention of Ai Weiwei in mainland China, several local artists have been creating a series of photographs. In 1995, Ai himself made a series of three photographs called “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn” in which he … well … dropped a Han Dynasty Urn. Hong Kong artists responded to the news of his arrest by creating a series of variations on that theme.

Microsculptor Willard Wigan

PictureHow steady are your hands? How long would it take you to thread cotton through a sewing needle like this? Some of us are better at it than others. But suppose I asked you to make a sculpture inside the hole at the end of the needle? Well, English artist Willard Wigan could get a whole crowd of people into that little space. But it takes an almost supernaturally steady hand.

In the studio – Theremin Player Lydia Kavina

PictureHere’s a question. What musical instrument can you play without even laying a finger on it? Need a clue? It was invented only in 1928.… Well, it’s the theremin. And Lydia Kavina, who learned from the inventor Lev Theremin, is in our studio to demonstrate its very special sound.

In the Show – 5th April 2011

Art for Clean Air

PictureHaving trouble breathing lately? Hong Kong’s air pollution is now three times worse than New York’s. In the hope of improving the situation the Clean Air Network has asked a group of artists to donate works to an exhibition and an auction. Over two million dollars in funds were raised for future promotional efforts.

Movie Review – “Inside Job”

PictureIn our film review,  Gary Pollard talks to us about “Inside Job”, Charles Feguson’s Oscar-winning documentary about how a group of bankers, financiers, academics and politicians came close to destroying the world economy. Not only did they all escape any punishment, despite doing more damage to developed nations than Al Qaeda, most of them gave themselves nice bonuses.

Koh Hang-woo solo show

The Cat Street Gallery is presenting the first solo show in Hong Kong by the acclaimed Korean-American artist, Koh Sang Woo. Sang Woo creates vivid images of human figures with an approach that adopts painting, performance, and photography.

Li Tianbing

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We also talk to artist Li Tianbing, whose portraits of childhood are portraits of the society in which those children grow. A single-child, owing to China’s one child policy, Li populates his canvas with the imaginary brothers and sisters he never had.

Jazz Guitarists Martin Taylor and Ulf Wakenius in Hong Kong

PictureFinally, two great jazz guitarists. Martin Taylor was born in England. Heavily influenced by the music of Django Reinhart, he later went on to perform with the great jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. Ulf Wakenius was born in Sweden, and played for many years with the Oscar Peterson Quartet. He was recently on the works with Koran jazz singer Youn Sun Nah. Both recently joined forces to play a couple of concerts in Hong Kong. We caught up with them at the Skylark Lounge.

There’s an extended edit of the interview with the two of them here.