Revista - The Third Eye Sees It All
I have a bit of an art penchant, to put it mildly. I admit that I am one of those people who walks into every single gallery and annoys the gallery assistants with a thousand probing interrogations about “why?” and “how?” and “yes, but why…?”. I hope to leave whooping and gasping with appreciation, having experienced something truly marvellous.
Wherever I travel, I normally visit three or four galleries, and I spend most weekends in London up and down Cork Street or in museums gazing across masterful works. I like to feel galleries at their busiest. I don’t really attend openings and private viewings, preferring to have an everyman experience. People’s amusement, engagement and fear of art, is part of its voyeuristic pleasure. I feel disappointed by vast empty spaces housing work that remains unseen except by a privileged few. Art is never meant to be thus.
In recent months, I confess I have found most exhibitions in recent times rather lackluster and unimpressive. It breaks my heart. Recession and unrest normally breed great works. But my disappointment once again returned to childlike thrill when I tootled over to the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London for the Hong Kong Eye exhibition on a chilly January afternoon. I came away breathless with excitement. My eyes sparkled and jumped around the gallery titillated with wonderful visions, sounds and interactives. My mind whirring with images of my favourite city, reminding me of the buildings pulsing with the life from within, the chaos on the street of Central, the noise of construction and the drone of cars.
Visitors to the exhibition get an immersive sensory experience of Hong Kong city life. Silas Fong's video installation of iconic outdoor escalators, and Joao Vasco Paiva's installation of five Mass Transit Railway turnstiles remind me of the hustle and bustle beneath the city.
Curated by Chang Tsong-Zung, guest professor of China Art Academy and Director of Hanart TZ Gallery, Serenella Ciclitira, CEO of Parallel Contemporary Art and Honorary Fellow at the Royal College of Art, and Nigel Hurst, Director and CEO of the Saatchi Gallery, the exhibition offers insight into the contemporary art scene in Hong Kong through a diverse range of artworks from 18 emerging artists.
The majority of works in the exhibition have never been shown outside Asia, giving crucial recognition to Hong Kong's contemporary art scene on the international stage
Artists included are; Amy CHEUNG, CHOW Chun Fai, Silas FONG, HO Sin Tung, KONG Chun Hei, KUM Chi Keung, LAM Tung Pang, LEUNG Kui Ting, Otto LI, LUI Chun Kwong, Florian MA, Joao Vasco PAIVA, Hector RODRIGUEZ, Angela SU, Annie WAN, Adrian WONG, Justin Wong Chiu Tat and Fiona WONG Lai Ching.
A number of artworks engage with and reinterpret traditional media and techniques, such as Fiona Wong's handmade terracotta clothing and Leung Kui Ting's large-scale hanging ink scrolls.
Hong Kong Eye is the third ‘Eye’ initiative following Korean Eye and Indonesian Eye. The ‘Eye Initiative’ is founded by David and Serenella Ciclitira of Parallel Contemporary Art. “The contemporary art scene in Hong Kong has been growing rapidly since David and I first visited in 1982. A few years ago Hong Kong was called a cultural desert, but since then there has been a growing pool of exceptionally talented artists. Drawing on their specific cultural baggage instead of concentrating on political formulas, they have expressed the nuances of their own artistic environment showing a wealth of talent and quality. For this project we received an extraordinary quantity of artists portfolios, a testament to the important contribution that Hong Kong Art will make to the global contemporary art scene.”said Serenella.
And she is right! Hong Kong was a cultural wasteland for a long time, but now a myriad of new art galleries and cultural spaces pepper the Hong Kong map. Amongst them, the White Cube’s latest space on Connaught Road opened in April 2012 and the Gagosian on Pedder Street, opened in 2010. A symptom of the growing wealth within the region and the hunger for more cultural spaces.
There is most definitely a mutually appreciative cultural exchange in action. The West’s fascination and wonderment at the talent from China and wider Asia, whilst Asia’s seemingly exhaustive demand for well known contemporary art. A recent Damien Hirst pop up in Causeway Bay caused a major stir. People simply could not get enough jewel encrusted skulls and dotted paraphernalia.
As Damien returns to the UK, the Hong Kong Eye will now travel to Hong Kong for an exhibition at ArtisTree from 1 to 31 May 2013. I recommend going along for an afternoon of genius inspiration.