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Posted inArt

Blood, Guts, and Splattered Gore: Hermann Nitsch Hits Hong Kong

HONG KONG — Hermann Nitsch, one of the founders of the visceral Viennese “Aktionismus,” or Actionism, of the 1960s, has resurfaced with a retrospective of his work at the CIA (Culture Industries Association) gallery, located in the gritty and remote industrial Kwai Hing neighborhood, as if to counter the glamor and frisson of Art Basel Hong Kong. The inscrutable and pseudonymous gallery directors, Juiz and Mr. Outside, curated the retrospective, a first for the city.

Posted inArt

How Pop Art Got “Ripped Off”

CHICAGO — A giant replica of the classic yellow rubber duckie drifted into Hong Kong’s harbor last month. Sailing across the water, bobbing about as if in a giant, public bathtub, the Pop art-inspired duck, created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman in 2007, is essentially an enlarged version of the “original” rubber duckie.

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

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.