Doretta Lau

  • picks February 25, 2015

    Heman Chong

    Singaporean artist and writer Heman Chong’s show “Never, a Dull Moment” examines communication and the process of putting together an exhibition. Chong, who trained as a graphic designer, often employs text in his practice. This particular body of work features more words than images, across painting, installation, performance, readymade sculpture, digital prints on cloth, and a short story that doubles as the press release.

    A number of the works here are the result of instructions from the artist to the hosting institution. Smoke Gets In (Your Eyes), 2015, for instance, provides an area where

  • picks March 29, 2014

    Lee Kit

    Over the last few years, Taipei-based Hong Kong artist Lee Kit has been expanding upon his preoccupations with painting, everyday life, the passage of time, the absurd, and the mundane. For “You.,” 2014, a large-scale installation mounted in a refurbished former slaughterhouse built in 1908, Lee has taken elements from his “You (you).” exhibition at the Fifty-Fifth Venice Biennale and has interwoven new paintings, videos, and sculptures.

    A replica of a guard booth adorned with a beach umbrella sits at the main entrance of the exhibition space. It is empty; without a person inside, the object does

  • slant February 28, 2014

    Together Again

    PICTURE HONG KONG’S cultural and political landscape in 1983. PRC Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher were still a year away from signing the Sino-British Joint Declaration that would return sovereignty of the region to China in 1997. At the time, no one in the colony thought it necessary to learn Mandarin. The film industry was pre-piracy and flourishing, with Jackie Chan’s Project A a hit at home and abroad. It was in this context, in December of that year, that Hanart TZ Gallery held its first exhibition in a basement in Kadoorie Hill. Hanart director Chang

  • picks January 01, 2014

    Atul Dodiya

    Indian artist Atul Dodiya showcases his wit and range, as well as his preoccupation with art history, in his first Hong Kong solo exhibition, “Duplicator’s Dilemma.” The show features his signature paintings made upon metal shutter doors (which conceal canvases underneath), as well as new works on paper. Mirror, Stretcher, and Eyes (all works 2013) have Roy Lichtenstein reproductions on their exteriors. Each security shutter—a ubiquitous object in Mumbai’s urban landscape—rolls up via a remote-controlled motor to reveal equally vibrant canvasses beneath that mesh Lichtenstein’s familiar Pop art

  • picks December 21, 2013

    Do Ho Suh

    “I am always drawn back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighborhoods,” wrote Truman Capote in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. London-based South Korean artist Do Ho Suh’s “Specimen Series” exudes that same sentiment—it revisits living spaces via memory—delivering sculpture rather than prose. For his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, Suh continues to explore the personal and the domestic with polyester fabric works modeled on appliances and fixtures from places he once resided. Here, he recalls dwellings in New York, Berlin, and Seoul.

    The six largest sculptures—a radiator, refrigerator,

  • diary May 26, 2013

    Blow Up

    IN THE DAYS leading up to the first edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong, the city made headlines around the world because a giant rubber duck floating in Victoria Harbor—essentially a marketing tool for Hong Kong Art Week—had mysteriously deflated. On social media, the fowl was said to be a victim of the avian flu. Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman had titled his unfortunate piece Spreading Joy Around the World, and indeed the city rejoiced when the duck was revived last Tuesday, the day before the fair’s private view.

    That night, many out-of-towners journeyed to the West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade,

  • picks November 10, 2012

    Cerith Wyn Evans

    The title of Cerith Wyn Evans’s current solo exhibition in Hong Kong, “Grace to be born and live as variously as possible . . . ,” references the inscription on poet Frank O’Hara’s tombstone in Springs, New York. The line is from O’Hara’s poem “In Memory of My Feelings,” which is dedicated to the AbEx painter Grace Hartigan. It begins: “My quietness has a man in it, he is transparent / and he carries me quietly, like a gondola, through the streets.” This disarming image sets the tone for the exhibition, which has a calm and uncanny quality to it. Aspects of these works do not announce themselves

  • picks March 17, 2012

    “No One to Hear You Scream”

    Explorations of space—physical, liminal, temporal—provide the unifying theme for this ambitious group exhibition. Curated by Robin Peckham, it is the first official show at Saamlung, a commercial space that opened last November. Here works by Chen Chien-jung, Gao Weigang, Frank Havermans, João Ó, John Powers, Piers Secunda, and Yaohua Wang transform seemingly familiar buildings, architecture, or objects into something altogether otherworldly. This feeling is underscored by the show’s title, a reference to the 1979 Ridley Scott film Alien, which was promoted by the tagline: “In space, no one can

  • picks February 15, 2012

    “Two Thousand Eleven”

    For his debut exhibition as the executive director of Para/Site, Cosmin Costinas has curated a group show with work by Olga Chernysheva, Heman Chong, Federico Herrero, and John Smith. On first glance the title of the show is something of a conundrum, since all of the works––except for Herrero’s Intervention in and around Para/Site, 2011––were created before 2011. Cleverly, Costinas chose to bisect the gallery with a wall that cuts through the space diagonally, forming a triangle that highlights the impact of Chong’s Monument to the people we’ve conveniently forgotten (I hate you), 2008, which

  • picks July 29, 2011

    Scott Redford and Hiram To

    For its one-year anniversary, 2P Contemporary Art is showing Scott Redford and Hiram To. The artists first met in 1986 in Australia, where Redford still resides; To is based in Hong Kong. For this exhibition, the pair, who have separately contributed works to such group shows as “This Is Not America” in 2006 at QCA Gallery in Australia, use the band Roxy Music as a starting point to examine their own art practices. In one of their collaborative pieces for the exhibition, Redford and To have covered the gallery’s front window with the image that appears on Roxy Music’s For Your Pleasure (1973).

  • diary May 30, 2011

    Beautiful Way

    IT WAS A STORMY START for Hong Kong art week. Just as I left the house for all of Monday night’s gallery happenings, it began to rain. But inclement weather didn’t stop dozens of other art lovers from traveling to the week’s kickoff shows—Wang Keping’s “Eternal Smile” at 10 Chancery Lane and Miquel Barceló’s opening at Ben Brown Fine Arts, in the historic Pedder Building. Comparing itineraries with another writer at the latter space, I discovered that we would hardly have a moment apart from each other. “It’s like we’re on a theme vacation together,” she said.

    The next night I was back at the

  • picks February 05, 2011

    Wilson Shieh

    Hong Kong artist Wilson Shieh’s latest exhibition, “Mortal Coil,” is an examination of celebrity, power, pop culture, and history. In the fourteen works shown here, rendered in colored pencil on cardboard and various types of paper, it is apparent that he is continuing on a similar trajectory to the one established by his 2009 exhibition “Chow Yun-Fat’s Fitting Room,” but here his scope has expanded beyond Chow to a host of other personalities and preoccupations.

    In Famous Hong Kong Film Actors, 2010, Shieh depicts nine performers in iconic roles; the drawing acts as a survey of Hong Kong film

  • picks December 12, 2010

    Ellie Ga

    The Arctic landscape, though barren and disorientating, proves to be a fertile ground for New York artist Ellie Ga. Her solo exhibition “At the Beginning North was Here” is divided into three chapters, with the works drawing upon Ga’s experience as the sole artist-in-residence on a scientific research sailboat, the Tara. For months, Ga worked on the vessel as it drifted, course unknown, through ice. Even the length of the stay was uncertain. In the Arctic, Ga tells us, predicting the weather can become a form of divination. The future shifts with each fissure in the ice.

    The works in this exhibition

  • picks October 17, 2010

    Edward Burtynsky

    Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong offers works made between 1985 and 2008. His longtime preoccupation with the effect that industrial operations have on the earth is apparent: The large-scale photographs show how various industries currently dominate landscapes around the world, from oil fields to highways, electronics factories to car lots. That Burtynsky’s practice involves a good deal of research comes through in the level of detail in each photograph. Though the camera hovers, for the most part, at a bird’s-eye view, it somehow approaches close enough

  • picks August 06, 2010

    “Spectral Evidence”

    “Spectral Evidence,” the first of two exhibitions curated by Steven Lam at 1a Space, features works by Lin + Lam, Sreshta Rit Premnath, and Simon Leung. The pieces in the exhibition use the media, materials, and language of documentation to create narratives that provoke us to question how we perceive the world. Premnath’s Horizon (all works cited 2010) is a group of photographs depicting various monuments to Christopher Columbus, but the statues themselves have been removed from the images, leaving only the pedestals. Alongside these altered pictures is a faux granite tablet bearing a line from

  • picks June 14, 2010

    Candida Höfer

    Hong Kong’s buildings, nearly all built in the past hundred years, form a sharp contrast to Italy’s architecture, as seen in Candida Höfer’s series of eight photographs,“In Italy, Naples, and Florence,” 2007–2009. The Pedder Building—site of Höfer’s latest exhibition at Ben Brown Fine Arts—was built in 1924 and is classified by the city’s Antiquities and Monuments Office as a historic building. Though a charming structure from the colonial era, and an excellent space for galleries and shops, it was simply not built to inspire awe. Particularly remarkable in this setting, Höfer’s photographs—featuring

  • diary June 02, 2010

    A Fair to Remember

    Hong Kong

    LAST MONDAY, shortly before the vernissage of the third annual Hong Kong Art Fair, the city’s government inaugurated the first-ever Hong Kong Art Week. That night, Ben Brown Fine Arts held an opening for Candida Höfer’s stately exhibition “In Italy, Naples, and Florence,” which served as an unofficial kickoff to the attendant slew of private views, parties, and panels. Conversation moved from unfettered admiration for the photographs (“I love these!”) to focused anticipation for the fair, whose list of exhibitors had increased by some fifty galleries since the preceding year. The crowd, which

  • picks March 14, 2010

    Natvar Bhavsar

    Natvar Bhavsar continues to push the boundaries of what is possible with pure color pigment in his solo exhibition “Rang,” which consists of twenty-two paintings created during a twenty-year span, with many made in the past two years. Each piece comprises anywhere from eighty to two hundred layers of pigment sifted onto acrylic gel. The oldest work in the show is Veebha, 1989; its inclusion allows viewers to see how the artist’s technique has evolved over the years. Here, a textured swirl of red, yellow, and blue atop black pigment surrounds a luminous green center, giving the impression of an

  • picks October 27, 2009

    “A Blow to the Everyday”

    For “A Blow to the Everyday,” curator Yuko Hasegawa presents several works that transmute ordinary aspects of urban life. Japanese artists Kenichi Hagihara, Meiro Koizumi, Ayako Okubo, Yukihiro Taguchi, and Shiro Takatani and collectives Chim↑Pom and Wah engage with the seemingly mundane via performance, photography, video, installation, and painting.

    In the performative installation Away, 2009, the Berlin-based Taguchi documents his visit to Hong Kong. A bamboo scaffold provides the physical framework for the installation, mimicking the look of buildings under construction. A series of found

  • picks September 11, 2009

    Shahzia Sikander

    “The pursuit of detail––not the decorative kind but of the nano––is an engagement with time,” Shahzia Sikander notes in an interview with Fereshteh Daftari. For Sikander’s first solo exhibition in China, titled “Authority as Approximation,” the artist presents five video works that date from 2003 through 2008, which illustrate with clarity her consummate ability to engage with the seconds and minutes that compose our histories.

    Bending the Barrels, 2008, unfolds over a number of different scenes and depicts members of the Pakistan Army playing various musical instruments in solos, pairs, and