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Yee I-Lann

Whitewaller Hong Kong 2019: What to See

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For those in town for Art Basel and Art Central, you won’t want to miss these top exhibitions on view at Hong Kong’s top galleries.

David Altmejd
White Cube Hong Kong
March 26—May 18
David Altmejd is celebrating his first solo show on in Asia with an exhibition at White Cube. Known for combining themes of science, science fiction, magic, and gothic romanticism, Altmejd often focuses on the delicate balance between decay and regeneration. With this show, the artist is continuing that thread, featuring a suite of the artist’s new head and bust sculptures. Altmejd’s “perfect object”—an idea he’s described as something both seductive and repulsive—is conveyed with additional unusual and grotesque details on the human form. In his show, we see that in works like Crystal System, a piece where a head appears to be growing another head, and his sculpture Art Student, where the subject’s head has a gaping hole that reveals a crushed cantaloupe.

Cézanne, Morandi, and Sanyu
Gagosian Hong Kong
March 26—May 11
In an exhibition curated by Zeng Fanzhi, Gagosian is presenting the works of Paul Cézanne, Giorgio Morandi, and Sanyu. Featuring works like Cézanne’s still life Fleurs dans un pots d’olives, the show highlights the similarities of the modernist artists, showcasing their works together for the first time.

Neo Rauch: Propaganda
David Zwirner Hong Kong
March 26—May 4
For the artist’s debut exhibition in China, Neo Rauch is presenting his new series of paintings titled “Propoganda” at David Zwirner. Remarkably different from the socialist conditions that dominated his life growing up in eastern Germany, the show highlights Rauch’s distinctive personal style in a series of large- and small-scale works. Captivating viewers through his mastery of color, Rauch employs a blend of figurative and surrealist elements, painting both from his personal point of view and through historical perspectives. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a catalogue, which includes a short story written by novelist and playwright Daniel Kehlmann.

Louise Bourgeois: My Own Voice Wakes Me Up
Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong
March 26—May 11
Coinciding with the artist’s first large-scale museum tour through China, “My Own Voice Wakes Me Up” is an exhibition of works by the late Louise Bourgeois, curated by Jerry Gorovoy. Taking its title from one of the artist’s writings, the exhibition serves as a retrospective of the last two decades of Bourgeois’ life, featuring a series of hand poses, red gouaches, sculptures, experimental large-format prints, and her rarely exhibited holograms. Bourgeois’ practice was fueled by her need to use art as a means of imposing order on her chaotic emotions, employing the body as a means of finding key to self-knowledge and cathartic release. This is seen in works like: Tête II, a fabric and stainless-steel head sculpture with crude stitching across its face; and The Family, a red gouache on paper series of blurred nude human figures.

An Opera for Animals
Para Site Gallery
March 23—June 9
Para Site’s group exhibition “An Opera for Animals” considers the parallels between the highly controlled environment of an operatic setting and the world of performance, and the artificial truths and virtual realities of our contemporary society. With the works of artists like Ali Cherri, Kelly Nipper, Simon Soon, and Wang Wei, the exhibition explores the similarities and differences in operatic histories and today’s society, using animals as a means of symbolism and human representation. Works on view include Sycorax’s Collection (Herbarium), a multimedia work by Candice Lin; and The Ch’i_lin of Calauit, Yee I-Lann’s surreal image depicting two human figures in wedding garb holding a giraffe on a leash, inhabiting a minuscule island.

Erin Wurm
Lehmann Maupin Hong Kong
March 25—May 11
Erin Wurm’s exhibition at Lehmann Maupin features recent photography and sculpture from one of the artist’s most renowned series. Known for his explorations in unorthodox sculpture, Wurm often pushes the boundaries of traditional art forms, incorporating psychological, temporal, and participatory elements. This is emphasized in the gallery’s weekly activations of Wurm’s “One Minute Sculptures,” wherein visitors are asked to pose with the household objects for one minute, capturing their own personal “sculpture” on polaroid film to take home. Also included in the show are new works in Wurm’s “Abstract Sculpture series,” which point out the absurdity behind common figures of speech via sausages with human features.

Heimo Zobernig
Simon Lee Gallery Hong Kong
March 26—May 10
Heimo Zobernig’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong features a new series of paintings that take into account the ways artists have looked at one another’s work for inspiration for centuries on end. Using Pablo Picasso’s take on Edouard Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herb as a starting point, Zobernig reinterprets other masters’ works, calling on his own abstracted style to recreate personal spins on their images, ideas, and motifs. We see this in a take on a Picasso still life work, where the inclusion of the word “NO” literally urges viewers to take on a perspective alternative to the original composition. Zobernig’s practice is best known for his thorough reinterpretation of the language of formalism, which he has created over the years through a range of media, including architectural intervention, performance, film, video, sculpture, and painting.

Return to Nature (Zao Xue Han Zhang)
Lévy Gorvy Hong Kong
March 26—May 18
Lévy Gorvy’s premier exhibition in its new Hong Kong space, “Return to Nature” (or “Zao Xue Han Zhang”) is a group exhibition surrounding artists whose practices turn to nature for clarity and cohesion. Named for a passage in the 5th century book of literary theory, The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons, the translation of the show’s original title refers to a breadth of mind that keeps the spirit pure. The title alludes to times of moral, political, and cultural crises where artists have returned to the fundamental qualities in the natural world. Featuring works by artists like Song Dong, Wassily Kandinsky, Agnes Martin, Joan Mitchell, Wu Yinxian, Zao Wou-Ki, and Claude Monet, “Return to Nature” demonstrates how the chaos of humanity can be overcome by merging human imagination and nature’s creative capacity.

Xu Zhen: The Glorious
Perrotin Hong Kong
March 25—May 11
Highlighting three of Xu Zhen’s most iconic series (“Under Heaven,” “Evolution,” and “Eternity”), the exhibition at Perrotin features a range of the artist’s sculpture, paintings, and installations that juxtapose classical elements of civilization from different points in history. By contrasting well-known art history symbols and elements from everyday visual experiences, the artist urges exhibition visitors to view issues like the value of art, geopolitics, and clashes of culture from a new perspective. In the show, viewers will find a completely restructured iteration of Under Heaven—now called Under Heaven – Gold—where the artist creates a realm “under heaven” by swirling golden pigments across a canvas; and  Evolution–North Wall of Mogao Cave No. 220, Boa Pongdudu Mask, which displays cultural disparity against a global backdrop by transforming a tribal mask into a mixture of traditional art and cartoon.

Yoan Capote: Territorial Waters
Ben Brown Fine Arts
March 26—May 17
For Yoan Capote’s first solo show in Hong Kong, “Territorial Waters,” he presents his “Isla” series. Taking over the walls of Ben Brown Fine Arts, his works transform the gallery into an immersive collage of textured seascapes. Made by penetrating the surface of a canvas with thousands of tiny fishhooks, the “Isla” works illustrate memories of Capote’s childhood in Cuba. The pieces shed light on the dualities of the sea as both an entity of boundless beauty and a menacing monster that creates impossible circumstances for those with hopes of immigrating. In covering each work’s surface in fishhooks, Capote created a tactile, tangible experience for viewers, simulating the experience of standing in front of a metal fence—similarly to how Cuba’s inhabitants view the waters surrounding them.



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James Welling’s “Thought Objects,” an exhibition of new and recent photography, opens at David Zwirner in New York
Mickalene Thomas shared details on her latest show in Paris with Whitewall.


Go inside the worlds
of Art, Fashion, Design,
and Lifestyle.