October 11th 2013
Despite still being in its infancy since only launching last year, the Asia Contemporary Art Show
has already developed quite a following in Hong Kong. Also new to the city is blogger and amateur art appreciator Aoife Mackenzie, who offered to give us her take on last weekend’s colourful proceedings at the JW Marriott.
As I am a novice art appreciator at best, I was slightly apprehensive about attending such a large exhibition. Admittedly, I have always felt intimidated and overwhelmed by expansive gallery settings, but as soon as I stepped into the luxurious but welcoming Marriott lobby I was instantly reassured that this wasn’t a stuffy affair.
The exhibition was unlike any I have been to before due to the totally unique setting. Each exposition was tucked away in a hotel room, making every viewing feel like a very private affair. Pieces were strategically placed on beds, on the windowsills and even in the bath tubs, allowing guest to enjoy a personal moment with each discovery.
The familiar atmosphere of a hotel suite meant that I could take in as much or as little as I wanted in my own time. Every room also boasted a spectacular view of the steely skyline of the city, and the juxtaposition between this ultra-modern backdrop and the softer aesthetic of some of the pieces only made them more alluring.
It was very much a family affair, with kids and grandparents alike welcomed into the world of colour and creativity. There wasn't a trace of art snobbery or exclusion, as young and old, tourists and locals milled around the rooms as one.
Wedding Above the Village by Dr TF Chen.
I felt the inclusive nature of the show was demonstrated well by ‘Wedding Above the Village’ by Dr TF Chen. The paintings of this Taiwanese legend are full of thick lines and clashing colour ways, and the brilliance of their simplicity almost lets you believe you could have created them yourself - if you were a painter, writer, art historian and visionary who also happens to be the Cultural Ambassador for Tolerance and Peace, that is.
I also loved ‘The 101 Bed Collection’ by New York artist Leah Poller; her bronze Bed Pillow is now firmly on my wish list. Leah examines our relationship with the bed, and given the fact a third of our life is spent there, it's a deserving topic! Taking time to talk to us about her work, she said that she interprets this examination through 3D sculptures, adding that she likes to approach her art with a sense of humour and witticism.
I saw Bobbi Van's paintings for the very first time and was fascinated by the description of her process. She explores the human unconscious by painting in reverse on Plexiglass. Bobbi, a Boston native, told her audience that the contrasts found in her work are reflective of how we experience life. There is so much light and texture within each piece, demonstrated beautifully every time she moved a particular painting and allowed the sunlight to highlight its depth and dimension.
The 101 Bed Collection by Leah Poller
The show was expertly run and very well organised with either the artist or a representative available in each room to discuss the works and, of course, hopefully make a sale. Just HK$150 for two tickets granted access to four floors of the hotel, and the complimentary tea cocktail also added to the Asian aspect of the fair.
The show was an easy introduction for the uninitiated like myself, and the ideal way to whet my appetite for artistic creation. I will definitely be attending next year.