PMQ Corner #12

Art is a piece of basil

Open Quote, Art Project Gallery, Lui Chi Ming

Written & Photos by Kit Chan
Translated by Derek Leung
Photos by Open Quote, Art Project Gallery, Lui Chi Ming

It seems like a common practice year after year. About this time per annum when flowers and plants do not stop flourishing, the blossoming rate of the art circles cannot be underestimated either. Be they of the private or international scale, or from galleries to malls to open areas, exhibitions of various sizes suddenly grow in their prosperity all around the city.

Sheung wan being not the odd-one-out district, a few exhibitions are found being held in PMQ.

The most eye-catching is Art Basil (Yes, it’s Basil but not Basel) organized by the bookshop Open Quote. While the name makes one smile, there sees more fun when one reads the introduction: “Probably it’s the smallest matinée in the world, which is not considered anything in principle and has never been held even in many metropolises such as London, New York and Paris. While contemporary art fairs are everywhere at the moment and Hong Kong has suddenly become a cultural capital, we’re about to reflect on the nature of art.”

The Snow White story in h-y-p-h-e-n is beyond imagination and inclusive of a hidden plot of Hong Kong style.

The exhibitions stem from the independent publication h-y-p-h-e-n, which lines up nine local creative individuals and consecutively gives creative twists over the familiar literary stories. While the first issue is named “Alice in Wonderland”, the second issue being exhibited is the bold and subversive version of “Snow White”: On his way to kill the princess, the hunter surprisingly found seven Snow Whites with all of whom he eventually fell in love and hence giving birth to seven babies at the same time!

“The new stories are just nothing but derivative works,” claimed Ricky Lai, one of the exhibition organizers. The art works stir up controversies over some hot social topics: “All pieces of art and inspiration in the world result from the work of others.”

While basil is alternatively known as “tower of nine stories” in Chinese and similar art events are being held in the central part of the city, these nine local creative talents thus name their exhibition Art Basil as a resonance of the city’s happening with an interesting association.

A group of local Hong Kong artists works in response to the art month in the exclusive young and earnest way.

“Local artworks are fresh like basil,”

highlighted Lai while asking everyone to ponder. “Are admission fee and champagnes to entertain VIPs a must for art exhibitions? What is the value of a free-of-charge exhibition of local artworks?”

Is the street culture realized indoors liberty or captivity?

The Pop Art of Art Basil: A humourous twist from Campbell Soup to Fried Dace.

Another fantasy on the other side of the same building complex is Hide and Seek – the solo exhibition of Japanese contemporary artist Mayuka Yamamoto: Is a hardly recognizable little boy with bat wings, deer antlers and bear claws meant to be feeble or aggressive? A listless boy staying silent in the depths of his pensive eyes and meandering between the reality and the creation portrays the melancholy, restlessness and vulnerability of human growth.

The boy created by Mayuka Yamamoto is a somewhat lovely being with certain unoffendable solemnity //Does a pair of unflappable wings mean the youth of great depression?

Other programmes include Residuum by local artist Lui Chi-ming. He talks about life and living through his artworks made of residues, with which he is good at in his creation, upon his extraordinary experiences after being diagnosed with a critical illness.

The list for appreciation is beyond expectation. Solely by getting involved can one understand art is like a piece of basil which grows strong and fast even without special care, once it meets the perfect soil and water source. Its unmatched aroma not only spreads but steals one’s heart.

Art Basil
日期:Now to 8th April, 2016
地點:Open Quote - S401 (4/F), S314(3/F), S212(2/F), H404(4/F), PMQ

"Hide & Seek"
日期:Now to 3rd April, 2016
地點:Art Projects Gallery - S510, 5/F, Staunton, PMQ

'Residuum' – Solo Exhibition by Lui Chi-ming
日期:Now to 17th April, 2016
地點:S209, 2/F, Staunton, PMQ

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