A CAPITAL OF CULTURE
Hong Kong becomes the centre of the art world beginning this week during Art Basel Hong Kong (29-31 March), with a wealth of other events timed to coincide with the fifth edition of the fair and continue into spring. An evolving cultural scene encompasses thriving non-profit and commercial art sectors. Spaces such as Para Site and Asia Art Archive are known for their innovative programmes, while organizations such as Duddell's and the K11 Art Foundation are making their mark. Hong Kong's early anticipated museum for visual culture, M+, will focus on art, design, architecture and the moving image, opening in 2019.
Sotheby's Museum Network takes a look at the museums, exhibitions, and temporary installations not to miss this week. For more on Hong Kong, including expert tips from our regional experts on where to shop, eat, and sleep, check out the Hong Kong Insiders' Guide.
The Future Site of M+, designed by Herzog de Meuron in the West Kowloon Cultural District
Inspired by the art and objects she saw on a trip to Iran, Liang Yi Museum director Lynn Fung decided to mount an exhibition of Persian artefacts at the Hong Kong institution she oversees. "After being exposed to such a magnificent culture, Fung thought it rather a shame that most poeple in Hong Kong would never get a chance to see it," says a museum spokeswoman.
Lynn Fung, Director of the Liang Yi Museum in Hong Kong
The resulting exhibition, Blue Road: Mastercrafts from Persia, features 94 Persian decorative objects that illustrate the cultural importance of the colour blue in the region, ranging from 16th-century blue-glazed porcelain made during the Zhengde reign (1506-21) to Safavid silk textiles. Works are on loan from eleven museums worldwide, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore, as well as from three private collections. The show is on view until the 24th of June.
Samson Young, Risers, 2017
From Venice to Asia
The Hong Kong-based artist Samson Young has reworked his 2017 Venice Biennale projects - Songs for Disaster Relief World Tour - for the M+ Pavilion, the primary site for M+ exhibitions in the run-up to the museum's opening next year. It includes new works reflecting his fascination with the charity singles of the 1980s and 1990s, such as Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas? Ying Kwok, the exhibition's curator, says: "The show has been enriched by new pieces that urge the viewer to reflect on the past an dour current ways of life."
Robert Indiana at Asia Society
Meanwhile, the Asia Society hosts Hong Kong's first major presentation of 89-year-old American artist Robert Indiana's work. His way of reconfiguring words into art - the Love sculpture of 1966 stands out - is explored through 30 pieces, which include The Four Diamond Ping (Yellow/Red/Black), 2002, and the sculpture Eat, 1962/cast 1991. The curator, Miwako Tezuka, has linked Indiana's work with eight artists and collectives from Asia who play on words and images, including Beijing-based Xu Bing and Hong Kong's Hung Keung. She says the show is a "sustained investigation into language."
Nilima Sheikh, We must bear (detail), 2013
Historical Connections with Southeast Asia
Meanwhile, Asia Art Archive presents a scholarly survey of Indian artist Nilima Sheikh. Over the past 50 years, she has created works that draw on sources such as Indian and Persian miniature painting and Kashmiri folk tales. Özge Ersoy, the show's curator, says: "This exhibition explores how the body shapes the understanding of space in the Baroda-based artist's practice." It brings together works from Sheikh's archive, including photographs, videos, stencils, poems, folk songs, letters and the artist's writings, "to reflect on ideas of walking, drifting, traveling, landscape, memory, stage and scale," according to Ersoy. The show is on view until June 30th.
For more on what to see and do in Hong Kong, see the Museum Network City Guides.