June 22, 2014

Art Basel HK 2014 Focus: William Kentridge

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William Kentridge @Art Basel Hong Kong 2014.  © Yi Wei Lim

William Kentridge (1955 - present) is a South African artist best known for his animated films, drawings, and prints. His animated films are created by repeatedly drawing with charcoal and erasing, and filming his artwork at each stage of composition - sort of like stop motion, if you will. His drawing and prints are highly dynamic, strongly-lined, and are usually done using Indian ink on torn-out pages from books.

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The Coincidence Demands Its Hearing.The pages were taken from Shorter's English Dictionary.  © Yi Wei Lim

"Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell" by Marty McConnell

I really like this poem's imagery. Here it is, accompanied by a lovely illustration by Hana Jang. You can check out Jang's works on Behance, and read the story of her collection here on My Modern Met.

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Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell
by Marty McConnell

leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses.
you make him call before
he visits. you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.

June 1, 2014

Art Basel Hong Kong 2014 Artist Focus Series Preview

Last fortnight, I was at the 2nd Art Basel Hong Kong (pre-2013, it was called Art HK). This year I didn't cover all the art as I arrived later than needed (4 hours is the minimum for a leisurely stroll, I reckon). However, I had a capital time exploring pieces with my dear Soo (you may remember her from my coverage of Island East Markets and the Harbour Artisanal Food Market here and here).

Although I can't speak for the entire exhibition, I felt this year's works were not as astounding as last year's, especially the installation art. Some of 2013's installations:

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Play - (201301): Installation made entirely of luggage, by MadeIn Company
Stunning work of leather, chains, and studs

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Installation of suspended patterned mirror shards, creating a stunning interplay of light and colour.
"And every glittering kiss and every touch of flesh is another shard of heart you’ll never see again." - Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things.

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Chiharu Shiota, "State of Being (Boy's Kimono)". Metal, and kimono suspended by an intricate network of black thread.

Call me plebeian, but I think I suffered from some visual overload, mostly after seeing so many Picassos peppered across different galleries. It was nice though, to be able to identify some artists' ouevre - it felt like seeing old friends. Damien Hirst's scalpel blade painting of an aerial view of Beijing was instantly recognisable, as were Britart enfant terribles, the Chapman brothers, with their subversive works.

My favourite artists this year (clockwise, from top left): 
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  • William Kentridge
  • Keith Haring
  • Thomas Houseago
  • Grayson Perry
  • Atsushi Kaga
  • Chiu Ya Tsai
  • Ramin Haerizadeh
  • Wu Jian'an

I'll be doing a series of posts on some of the artists, examining their works and styles - discovered really interesting back-stories which I can't wait to share with you!

And with this, I kick off the Art Basel HK 2014 Artist Focus Series :).