The gallery is looking forward to be sharing with you some of our team’s favourite, art, sound and text this month, we hope you will enjoy getting to know us through our personal recommendations
I have been listening to my selection of 80s music: a blast from the past, reminding myself of the ‘other career’ I could have had as a DJ: from ABC to XTC, from The Cure to New Order, from post-Punk to New Romantics, from Disco to Rap and early House, what a great and creative time!
I just went to Dunhuang and saw the most amazing show of Buddhist sculptures, gold and silver vessels, silk brocades and more created between the 7th till the 9th century, when Tibet ruled over Central Asia and the greater part of China. This is a must for anyone interested in cultural exchanges rather than trade wars! Plus you can see some of the greatest cave murals ever made by mankind and, if you fancy it, eat camel and donkey!
On the plane to Italy, I watched “What’s Up Doc?” a 1972 romantic screwball comedy film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Barbra Streisand, Ryan O’Neal, and Madeline Kahn. A laugh a minute and a great way to start a much-needed summer holiday with the family.
Quote: It is the Summer of 2019. Remember, Summer of 2019 will never happen again. Choose to enjoy every single day of it. Welcome all those who want to enjoy it with you. Refuse to go into the past or the future.
I have been blasting music from the Belgium band Boogie Belgique. They have been producing music since 2012, their sound is best described as a fusion of hip hop and dub rhythms with secret treasures of the swing era (self-described as swing hop). Playing on a sense of nostalgia, their most recent album Volta is their most mature work to date, as they moved from more “background music” type beats in previous albums to the more vocal, melodic driven tunes for their live performances.
For those traveling during the summer, Setouchi Triennale is a magical festival situated on the islands of the Seto Inland Sea in the southern part of Japan. Started in 2010, Setouchi Triennale is now one of the largest land art festivals in the world. The festival was originally devised to help battle a major problem that Japan is facing: the rapid depopulation of rural areas of Japan. Setouchi Triennale now attracts artists and visitors from all around the world, stimulating the economy, and revitalizing the landscape. This is a testament to the transformational power of art, so go get yourself on a boat and visit the islands, and stop saying art is useless.
Sim Chi Yin’s solo exhibition “One Day We’ll Understand” at Hanart is one of the most thought-provoking shows of the month for me. The body of work opens up to the historial dimension of post-colonialism and its implications – conquest of the territories and of the mind. A rushing river, abandoned monuments, tombstones, unattended impromptu sacrificial site, glimpses of the rainforest, blurry horizon on a man-made lake at dusk…Sim used her photographs and archival snippets to conjure up the landscapes where the Malayan Emergency took place which eventually led to Malaysia’s independence in 1957. Weaving her grandfather’s story as a guerilla soldier into the broader narrative of a country’s independence, Sim somehow created a pervasive sense of absent human presences throughout her works in the show, a disjointed historical tale with missing links buried under the inconvenient truths and the erasure of memories.
I’ve been listening to the most recent album of the English band Blur, The Magic Whip, released in 2015. Recorded in Hong Kong and England, this album came together piecemeal over time. It has the Blur that you are familiar with throughout the years, singer-songwriter Damon Albarn definitely has a marked signature in this album.
A couple of quotes, something to dwell on. Both are from John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing”:
“The art of the past no longer exists as it once did. Its authority is lost, In its place, there is a language of images. What matters now is who uses that language and for what purposes.”
“A people cut off from its own past is far less likely to choose and to act as a people than one that has been able to situate itself in history.”
My current album-of-choice is Aretha Franklin’s phenomenal live-album Amazing Grace. Recorded in an LA church in 1972, alongside Rev. James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir, Franklin’s two-day performance was not only watched by the local community but also filmed by Sydney Pollack. Due to technical and legal difficulties, the release of the film was delayed until earlier this year and I was incredibly fortunate to be able to watch it a couple of weeks ago while sat in a sweltering tent at a Somerset music festival. The film captures a stunning performance by the young Queen of Soul during a pivotal time in the black freedom movement and definitely helped reignite my love and appreciation for the album.
If you are looking for a new book to read this summer, I just finished reading Sally Rooney’s “Normal People”, which I can only describe as phenomenal.
My morning alarm clock is Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma, a great way to start the day!
If you’re heading to Italy this summer, make sure to stop by Fondazione Prada’s Venetian headquarters at Ca’ Corner della Regina. Presenting Jannis Kounellis, curated by Germano Celant in the occasion of the Biennale di Venezia’s 58th edition. The show is the major retrospective dedicated to the artist following his death in 2017. Jannis Kounellis has repeatedly described himself as a Greek person but self-identified as an Italian artist, who immersed himself immediately in the cultural heritage of Italy and establishing himself as one of the leading figures of Arte Povera movement. Believing that modernity threatened to erase our sense of memory along with all signs of the past, the Arte Povera group sought to contrast the new and the old in order to complicate our sense of the effects of passing time. If you’re looking into understanding Italy’s Arte Povera movement, this is the place to be.
Quote of the month: “You do not have to leave earth’s shores to put on wings; you must learn rather to be happy here and now, under all conditions; and consider others’ happiness as part of your own joy.”
By Paramahansa Yogananda
Ever since my last birthday, I have become very conscious that I am slowly edging into a new decade of life…I feel I owe it to myself to stop clinging on to my 2012 university ‘Top of Pops’ playlist for inspiration in life… This year has been a particularly eye-opening year for me so far, and I’ve been trying hard to find inspiration in my every day, drawing parallels between my pre-mum self and my present mum self and opening up to new ideas and challenges.
So I’m finally venturing into enjoying new Music, appreciating different sounds. Tim Misch’s album “Geography” and Maggie Rogers single “Fallingwater” have been giving me Summer Sunset vibes, great “fallow time” with your mind.
Show of the month :
Its been a reflective month for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed From Paris to Venice: A Photographic Journey by Willy Ronis (1910-2009) the exhibit captures the “slices of everyday”. On show at the Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery
Text of the month :
Don’t have a particular text I want to highlight and share, but I really enjoyed listening to Jonathan Haidt and Jo Rogen’s discussion on the social psychology of the past decade, as well as his conversation with Bari Weiss on a similar topic to that with Jonathan, but with a focus on modern day racism, discrimination and ‘call-out culture’. Really interesting perspectives! Can be found on Jo Rogen’s podcast channel