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Posted inArt

Jean Cocteau: The Man in the Mirror

HONG KONG — I fell in love with Jean Cocteau when I was 19. I spent nights taking photographs of his epic 1930 film The Blood of a Poet frame by frame. The infatuation was similar to one I had with Picasso, whose paintings I copied obsessively, determined to learn the language of the man who made “Guernica.” In both cases, my heart was eventually broken. First, I learned Picasso used women like he used his paintbrushes. Then it transpired that Cocteau was a Nazi sympathizer. It was hard to know where I stood with both artists afterwards.

Posted inArt

Intertextual Healing: Lygia Pape’s “Divisor” Restaged for the First Time in Asia

HONG KONG — The staging of Lygia Pape’s 1968 performance “Divisor” on the streets of Hong Kong was a fantasy I never knew I had, but witnessing it was a dream nonetheless. Presented as part of the current exhibition A Journal of the Plague Year. Fear, Ghosts, Rebels. Sars, Leslie and the Hong Kong Story (May 17–July 20 2013) at the nonprofit space Para Site, this current staging of “Divisor” channels the potency of the seminal work into another context, one defined by the effects of colonialism, plagues, politics, contagion, sterilization, and segregation.

Posted inArt

Walking into the Light at London’s Hayward Gallery

LONDON — When God said “let there be light,” he probably didn’t anticipate how much that statement would cost in the 21st century. Regarding the Hayward Gallery’s current exhibition, Light Show, security on hand are quick to note that this is one of the most expensive exhibitions the institution has ever staged, with staff receiving strict instructions to keep viewers’ hands off the artwork, especially Leo Villareal’s “Cylinder II” (2012), an ethereal column of LEDs that reach up into the first gallery’s cavernous space.

Posted inArt

Who Is the Master, and Who Is the Slave?

I’ve seen it twice, and it still makes my brain feel like it’s been violated in some sublime way. Visually, The Master is an incredibly beautiful piece of work: the effect of filming a reported 80 percent in glorious 65mm. The movie is saturated with color and tone courtesy of cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr., with editing by Leslie Jones and Peter McNulty, who paced the visuals against Jonny Greenwood’s (of Radiohead) odd, whacked-out, jazzed-up staccato soundtrack.

Posted inArt

Open Artist Studios Take Over an Industrial Corner of Hong Kong

HONG KONG — The Fotanian Open Studios has its roots in 2001, when eight artists from the Chinese University — Lam Tung Pang, Tozer Pak, Tony Ma, Sam Tang, and Gordon Lo — relocated to the industrial neighborhood of Fo Tan after their studio burned down. The group took up residence in the Wah Luen Industrial Building, which now hosts 47 art-related units ranging from shared artist spaces to galleries and design offices, not to mention the studio of ex–Chinese University professor Lui Chun-Kwong.

Posted inArt

Revisiting Warhol in Hong Kong

HONG KONG — I wasn’t interested in the exhibition Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Not even while knowing that this is the largest ever showing of Warhol’s work in Asia, that it marks the 25th anniversary of the artist’s death, and that it opened in Singapore and will also travel to Shanghai, Beijing, and Tokyo.

Posted inArt

Documentary Tells the Stories of Forgotten Immigrants

HONG KONG — As big as the world may be and as connected as it may seem, there are invisible worlds that most of us know nothing about. Take Greece, for example, a country that, aside from its well-documented economic crisis and accompanying five years of straight recession, has been dealing with the consequences of an EU treaty ratified in Dublin in 2003. The Dublin II Treaty says that applications for EU asylum seekers can only be evaluated in the country where migrants enter. Because of geography, this has essentially forced Greece into becoming the main processor of all asylum seekers and political refugees flooding into the European Union in the past decade.