May 31, 2012|
In the wake of the art frenzy spreading across Hong Kong during ART HK, the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) has put on a wide-scale contemporary art exhibition that isn’t attached to one building or gallery. Instead, it’ll take place in various underused spaces, like lots, office buildings and parks. Through June 6, they’ll be showing edgy works that encompass myriad art forms, from digital video installations to performances and sculptures.
Yau Ma Tei might not seem like the most obvious choice for a nomadic art exhibition, but curator Tobias Berger states that this was one of the very reasons why it was picked. People often view Yau Ma Tei as a little district lodged between bustling Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui, which both have a strong focus on the commercial—something the WKCDA wanted to avoid when putting on Mobile M+. Yau Ma Tei also has many empty shops and neglected spaces—a rarity in our typically cramped and congested city.
Still very much a local area, Yau Ma Tei was key in capturing the old Hong Kong vibe that the Mobile M+ team was going for. Berger emphasized how most visitors who come to Hong Kong on business never get to experience the real heart of the city. Instead, they go from the airport to their hotel, to their meetings and back again, perhaps dining at a fancy restaurant or two along the way. Berger does not agree that this shows them the “real” Hong Kong.
Regardless of whether you have a strong connection to Hong Kong or are just here on a quick trip, the exhibition has something for everyone. Some artists like Kweng Sheung-chi and Wong Wai-yin draw on political issues with their exhibition “To Defend the Core Values is the Core of the Core Values” - a collection of video and poster art which will cumulate in a performance piece on a boat docked in the harbor, which the audience is invited to participate in. Through their work, they question Hong Kong’s value system in the context of recent socio-political developments. Other artworks are more personal, such as Lee Mee-ping’s “I Miss Fanta,” which is located in a Yau Ma Tei park next to a recycling-and-junk shop. After discovering the removal of neon Coca-Cola and Sprite signs in Macau, which were once iconic fixtures in typical Macau city photographs, Lee transported the signs to Hong Kong, turning them into symbols of collective nostalgia.
The M+ team has more projects and events in store until 2017, when M+ should finally be complete. The aim is to hold an event every year—including more nomadic setups like this one.
For more information on Mobile M+, or to download the tour app and learn how to navigate the exhibition, visit www.mobile-mplus.hk.