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Hong Kong Looked Up and Event Horizon changed the future of public art in the city

May 26, 2016 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

image008This month sees the completion of Event Horizon in Hong Kong. Presented by British Council Hong Kong and supported by lead partner the K11 Art Foundation (KAF), the city’s most extensive public art project saw 31 sculptures installed at both street level and building tops, encouraging citizens to stop, look up, engage, and re-assess their current position in the world by looking within. The installation, complemented by a successful education and outreach programme, gave the Hong Kong public access to world class contemporary art. During its six month installation, Event Horizon enriched Hong Kong’s cityscape and paved the way for more public art in the city.

“It was exciting making Event Horizon in Hong Kong. Whether visible or not, somehow the subtle influence of those lookouts on high towers seemed to me to make the tight streets of Hong Kong more open and alert. It was a privilege and a pleasure to encounter so much good humour and engagement in your vibrant city. I look forward to all future attempts to engage the public imagination – being able to dream with your eyes open is good!” comments Antony Gormley.

“In the past six months, ‘Event Horizon Hong Kong’ has brought us a lot more than 31 identical life-size sculptures in Central. It has encouraged discussions of public art in the community and given much food for thought and insights to our local artists. I am pleased that this Asian premiere of Event Horizon in Hong Kong has demonstrated to the world our city’s progressive and promising development into a regional hub of arts and culture, as well as reinforced our position as an economy where creative industries are set to prosper,” said Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, GBS, JP, Chief Secretary for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).


Event Horizon | presented in Hong Kong by the British Council, 2015 | Photography by Oak Taylor-Smith

At a panel discussion hosted by British Council before the closing of Event Horizon, the project team shared the experience and the challenges that the project encountered, “One of the most challenging things is to get all permissions that we need for Event Horizon. We are excited to see the support from the government and Hong Kong community. We are a creative problem solving team with all the departments and parties that we worked with. All parties were trying to find a way that works as there is no “public art” sector that we can apply. It is the effort of all 14 government departments to come to a solution. It is a legacy and also a case study for how Event Horizon Hong Kong has paved the way for future public art projects to understand how the process works.”

‘The most wonderful thing about the success of Event Horizon Hong Kong has been the welcome it received across the board, from citizens of all walks of life. And while it’s true that it might never have seen the light of day without the resolve the Chief Secretary, Carrie Lam, the subsequent reaction has overwhelmingly demonstrated that there is a thirst in Hong Kong for imaginative, daring art. That augurs well for the future of public art projects here,’ said Robert Ness, Director of British Council Hong Kong.

 “It has been a great privilege to have worked with an artist as respected as Antony Gormley. It is an important part of the mission of the K11 Art Foundation to bring the work of outstanding international artists to Chinese audiences, and we were delighted that audiences in Hong Kong were able to experience this seminal project first hand. Behind all of KAF’s activity is the drive to elevate and strengthen collective appreciation of culture, through providing wider audiences with easy access to art. Presenting works in the public realm as with this project with Antony Gormley enables audiences to interact with contemporary art in new and engaging ways.” says Adrian Cheng, Founder and Honorary Chairman of the K11 Art Foundation.

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