Ten Contemporary Hong Kong Artists Explore Time & Scale at H Queen’s, Central’s New Purpose-Built Art and Lifestyle Tower
As one of the world’s most dynamic cities, Hong Kong is home to a fountain of creativity and a new site in Central offers audiences the opportunity to see original new public artworks by some of Hong Kong’s best-known artists and some of the city’s most exciting emerging artists.
From 21st March 2016, the hoarding surrounding H Queen’s (HQ), the new purpose-built 24-storey gallery and lifestyle tower also known as HQ, presently under construction at 80 Queen’s Road Central and due to open in mid-2017, will showcase a series of newly commissioned works by 10 Hong Kong artists.
Public art infuses public spaces with the spirit of creativity, and the HQ site will be transformed into a platform to spark this dialogue, offering passers-by the opportunity to engage with creative ideas.
The hoardings fronting Queen’s Road Central, Pottinger Street and Stanley Street in Central will become a more than 2,500 square foot canvas for these artists to bring their art to the streets.
HQ changes the way galleries can work. Openable facades allow artworks to be delivered directly to each gallery floor. High ceilings, multifunctional layouts and a high-speed glass elevator that can whisk even the largest first night crowd direct to specific floors offer galleries unparalleled flexibility.
HQ is a game-changer for how we may experience lifestyle and art in Hong Kong. In a similar vein, each of the artists commissioned for the Time & Scale project address the question “What does it take to change a culture?”
On the Queen’s Road facade, the artist known as Frog King (Kwok Mang Ho) will build a graffiti wall using his distinctive iconographical elements and his signature “sandwich font” that switches back and forth between English and Chinese in clever ensembles that alternate between irony and parody. Frog King is a pioneering conceptual and performance artist who has exhibited his work in over 3,000 art events worldwide since 1967. He connects cultures through the thread of levity and joyful expressions.
Lam Tung-pang is one of Hong Kong’s most highly awarded young artists. His work invariably relates to some specific situation or social context. One enduring theme explores the changing trajectory of Hong Kong as it transitions from a British colonial outpost in China to a post-colonial quasiautonomous Chinese Special Administrative Region. He often works on a very large scale but, by integrating tiny found objects, his work has an endearing touch of humanity. On the Stanley Street façade, Lam is making a large site-specific contemporary work that blends elements of old and new Hong Kong.
The Pottinger Street facade is a covered passage-way adjacent to HQ. This section will present the work of eight younger or emerging Hong Kong artists.
Peggy Chan uses a variety of media including cyanotype, a photographic process that dates from the 19th century and is more commonly known as blueprint, to create richly layered worlds that evoke elements of a Hong Kong past and possibly a Hong Kong future. In her four images at HQ, Chan layers image upon image to create a chaotic tension between people and the city, between the past and the present.
Rising star Ho Sin Tung employs superb drawing skills, a keen eye, a satirical bent and a wicked sense of humour to construct imaginary narratives of time, place and relationships. An avid film buff, she has created faux film posters imagining a cinematic world in which the unreal can be every bit as real as the one we inhabit. The four film posters (Cluedid, Andrew Khur Reprospective, The Bad Wombat, The Wrong Person) are humorous examples of traditional film posters that used to be posted in the theatres and streets of cities across the world. They are perfect illustrations of time and scale.
For the last few years, South Ho Siu Nam has been adding blocks of watercolour painting to his black and white archival photographs to comment on Hong Kong’s unique blend of cultures. His combination of two distinct genres – black and white photography and watercolours reflect two aspects of contemporary practice and his unique way of seeing his world. The uniformly sized colour blocks are seen by Ho as a quiet meditative contrast to the complexity of the urban towers of high density Hong Kong. The two images chosen for HQ, Every Daily 7 and Every Daily 16 from the Every Daily series, are sparkling examples of Ho’s technique and philosophical intent.
Bosco Law Ka Nam makes detailed drawings that combine elements of the natural world and the imaginary, and the place in the sub-consciousness where the two overlap. His work is concerned with individuality and self-awareness. His 40 multi sized works for HQ are expanded and enlarged from his smaller work of 2015 titled Frameworks and Contents (circular).
Tony Ng Kwun Lun sees the poetic in the everyday detritus of Hong Kong life. His primary inspiration is the concrete waste used in the various land reclamation projects that slowly increase the land area available in Hong Kong. His photographs fuse modern industrial processes with traditional aesthetics to create a sense of beauty similar to that found in Chinese ink paintings. In Ng’s 8 images in Constructing the Landscape series commissioned for HQ, he has created a series of iconic images of Hong Kong buildings such as IFC in Central and the Tsim Sha Tsui clock tower – the glass, concrete and membrane of Hong Kong.
For the last 30 years, Esther Poon has been developing and perfecting her knitting and crochet skills and in recent years, her art has been appearing in various public places in Hong Kong. Her work is known as “Yarn Bombing” and she wraps trees, balustrades, handrails, fire hydrants and phone booths in a bright and joyfully knitted or crocheted jacket that enliven these otherwise drab urban streets. She will work with a variety of artists and volunteers to install her vibrant knitting to the streetscapes within and around the HQ precinct.
Stanley Siu Kwok Kin is trained and practices as an architect. His photographs of models of old Hong Kong buildings made from wax and candy invite us to contemplate how moral values, social norms and art change over time and what this means for people from different generations. For HQ, Siu will be displaying three large digital prints of his wax model construction of the old HSBC Wax Bank, a scaling up and progression in time of an original work constructed in 2015.
Damon Tong Wai Kit uses repetition, text, colour arrangements and ready-made materials to formally explore the spatial and cultural connections between image and text. For HQ, Tong has designed a large scale grid of both Chinese and English script in bright colours and handmade stickers to draw attention to one of the great preoccupations in Hong Kong culture – food and dining. Tong chooses two dishes, Sweat and Sour to represent imagined western tastes, and Pissing Shrimps and Meat Balls for Chinese consumption. As an added interest, the printed stickers will be hand applied in short performance sequences over the installation period of the project.
HQ is set to become Hong Kong’s most dynamic vertical arts and lifestyle destination. The Time & Scale public art presentation will offer audiences a tantalising taste of what to expect.