In the Show- 31st May 2011

Future of Chinese Ink Painting; Movie Review – “Let the Wind Carry Me”; Cross Straits Artistic Exchange; In the studio – Carel Kraayenhof and Karen Gomyo

PictureFor centuries Chinese ink painting has been a relatively conservative art form. Many artists have judged their success by how well they can follow established ways of doing things. So how does ink painting move into the future? Artist Zheng Chongbin now focuses on abstract metaphysical paintings. His work was among that discussed at a recent seminar on new developments in the art form.

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The documentary “Let the Wind Carry Me” is about the life and work of cinematographer Mark Lee, otherwise known as Lee Ping-bing. If you are a lover of Asian movies with more artistic ambitions you will certainly know his work. He has filmed for Hou Hsiao-hsien and Wong Kar-wai among others. The title refers to the fact that he likes to incorporate wind and other elements into his work, not only as a subject but also metaphorically, and to his nomadic existence as a much in demand camera man. Gary Pollard reveniws “Let the Wind Carry Me”.

PictureCurrently on show at the Hong Kong Arts Centre is “1+1: A Cross-Strait-Four-Regions Artistic Exchange Project“. It’s part of a series of touring exhibitions jointly organized by the centre itself, the Shenzhen He Xiangning Art Museum, and the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts at Taipei National University of the Arts. Fourteen participating artists, five from mainland china, three from Hong Kong, four from Taiwan and two from Macau were invited to take part in 1+1. Last October they attended a gathering at the Shenzhen He Xiangning Art Museum to present their creative concepts to one another. Once they had done so, the artists chose a partner to work with.

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In our studio today are two musicians who are performing “Bravo Piazzolla” with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra on Friday and Saturday. Bandoneonist Carel Kraayenhof introduces his instrument and plays us Astor Piazzolla’s “Adios Nonino” while violinist Karen Gomyo performs Piazzolla’s “Tango Etude No 3”

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In the Show – 24th May 2011

Ha Bik-chuen Retrospective;

The veteran artist Ha Bik-chuen died in 2009, but he left behind a spectacular legacy of sculptures, prints, ink art, mixed media works, and photographs. He also made a lasting contribution to Hong Kong’s art world. The Museum of Art is currently featuring a retrospective of his work, which even includes a reconstruction of his studio space.

Movie Review – “Animal Kingdom”

David Michod’s “Animal Kingdom” won the World Cinema Jury Prize at 2010’s Sundance Film Festival. It’s a film about seventeen year old Joshua who, after the death of his mother, goes to live with his grandmother and uncles. It sounds a bit like a Hallmark Channel kids movie, but it’s far from that. For one thing, Joshua’s mother died of a heroin overdose. Slowly we begin to realise why she kept him away from her own mother and brothers. His uncles are part of a gang of armed robbers, and Granny Smurf as she likes to call herself, is perhaps more dangerous than all the rest of them put together.

Hong Kong Artists go to Africa

Away from Hong Kong’s galleries and museums we’re increasingly getting the chance to see art as we do our shopping. The K11 Mall recently sponsored two artists to take a trip to Africa with a member of its own staff and present their impressions of what used to be known as the “dark continent”. The resulting art works are on show now, in an exhibition called “East Africa – Joy on the Red Soil”.

Studio Performance: Bob Mocarsky

Bob Mocarsky grew up in a musical family and started playing the piano at six, studying it with his father. He established himself in San Francisco as a performing and studio musician but in 2001, he began performing in cities across Asia, and now lives in Hong Kong. Today he’s with us to talk about, and play a tune from, his new Shanghai-recorded CD, titled appositely enough “Shanghai”. .

In the Show – 17th May 2011

The King Of Kowloon

PictureTo most people street art or graffiti is a young person’s art. It’s usually done late at night, and in secret, and it’s very much part of the contemporary music and fashion scene. But one Hong Kong graffiti artist was decorating the streets with his messages from the age of 35 until he late into his old age. He lived in relative poverty, but several of his works fetched HK$475,000 at auction in 2007. And he was the first Hong Kong artist to be invited to the Venice Biennale. He was the King Of Kowloon, and a major new retrospective of his work highlights his life and “career”.

Movie Review – “Water for Elephants”

Picture“Water for Elephants” is set in 1931 during the Great Depression. It’s the story of Jacob Jankowski, played by Robert Pattison, a trained vet who fails to get his qualifications after his final exams are interrupted, but who joins a circus to look after the animals. In the circus, he falls in love with star performer Marlena (Reese Witherspoon). The only problem is that she’s the wife of the circus owner August, who believes that both people and circus animals, need to be treated with cruelty to know who is boss. Gary Pollard reviews it.

“Making Music Being Well”

“Music has Charms to sooth a savage Breast” or so goes the old proverb. Music can also excite us, make us feel tense or romantic, or even help us relax. It can even help people cope with mental and physical illness. We’ll talk to a group of veteran Hong Kong musicians from bands of the 70s and 80s who are taking part in the week-long Making Music Being Well event, which begins this Saturday. They also play for us The Eagles’ “Desperado”.

In the Show – 10th May 2011

PictureTwo weeks ago the doyen of clarinettists Richard Stoltzman joined us on The Works. He was in Hong Kong for a project called “The Intimacy of Creativity”. It included six emerging composers, a Grammy award winner, a Pulitzer Prize winning composer and a critically acclaimed quartet who have been working together in Hong Kong over the past two weeks.They were here to bring new music to life and highlight the creative process. Initiated by composer, conductor and pianist, Bright Sheng, project is a public dialogue between composers and performers.

PictureIn the first “Fast and Furious”, blond blue-eyed undercover cop Brian O’Conner (played by Paul Walker) infiltrated the multi-ethnic world of street racing and car stealing. He was supposed to be apprehending Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) but was distracted a little by the fact that he fell in love with Toretto’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster). Well, Walker, Diesel, and Brewster are all back in the latest episode of the series “Fast and Furious 5”, also known as “Fast 5”. And they are joined by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, in Rio de Janeiro. Gary Pollard tells us more.

PictureComedian Patrice Thibaud and musician Philippe Leygnac met in 2003. They created their mime show “Cocorico” for the Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris in 2008.They hope, through wordless and multi-instrumental performances, to give audiences a new perspective on French performing arts. Last week thy were in Hong Kong for “Le French May”.

PictureAs kids many of us had toy musical instruments: toy pianos maybe, or drums, guitars, organs or trumpets. Plenty of classical musicians started on the real instrument at four or five. But one Hong Kong musician still likes to make serious music, but with the original toy instruments. She’s Pam Chung.

In the Show – May 3rd 2011

Restoration of King Yin Lei

PictureAs some people say: “Hong Kong will be a nice place if they ever get it finished.” We’re always tearing down old buildings and putting up newer and taller ones. It seems like we, or at least our property developers and government, don’t much care about the past. But Hong Kong does have around a hundred declared monuments, ranging from rock carvings to schools, that the government has said it will preserve. One Chinese-style mansion, King Yin Lei, was in the process of being torn down before architecture-lovers managed to persuade the government that it should be considered a historic building. We look at the restoration work.

Movie Review – “Thor”

PictureAvid fans of the comic book “Thor” have been watching the production of the movie every step of the way, eagerly mopping up titbits of information from the location. Many were not happy when Kenneth Branagh was chosen to direct. They also groaned when Australian actor Chris Hemsworth was chosen to play the flaxen-haired hammer-wielding God and super-hero. He’d previously been in soap operas like “Neighbours” and “Home and Away”. But the fans’ fears may have been misplaced. As Gary Pollard tells us, Branagh and Hemsworth are fine. It’s the movie’s awful fake 3D that lets it down.

Riverdance in The Works Studio
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For more than 16 years, Riverdance has been celebrating Irish music, song and dance. Since it first appeared in 1994, it has thrilled more than 22 million people in over 350 venues in 40 countries and across 4 continents. And that doesn’t even count all the people who have seen it on television, DVD, or on the internet.

Well, this week, Riverdance is here in Hong Kong and here in our studio.