July 14, 2014

Art Basel HK 2014: Thomas Houseago

Thomas Houseago (1972 - present) is a British contemporary visual artist. He works primarily in sculpture, with classical sculpture materials such as bronze, metal, and plaster and with lo-fi materials such as clay and plywood, among others. 

Primarily focused on the human body, Houseago's sculptures are typically gigantic and almost Frankenstein-ish; they also bring to mind the African and Iberian masks that inspired the Cubist works of artists such as Gauguin, Matisse, and Picasso, and the golem - an entity formed of clay and brought to life by a rabbi, as legend goes. The unfinished-like nature of his work (exposed pencil lines, piecemeal body parts) conveys motion, as seen in his sculpture Baby.

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Thomas Houseago, Baby; Tuf-Cal, hemp, iron rebar, wood, graphite, charcoal  

This year at the Art Basel HK edition, Houseago was represented by the Gagosian Gallery. I was quite caught with his triptych. The masks hearken back to Picasso's tribal faces; the layering of lines and different blue tones, Georges Braque's collages and Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2. See if you see the similarities!
Houseago's triptych
Braque, Portrait of a Woman

Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, oil on canvas

July 10, 2014

5 Things Friday: 5 Zalora Women's Shoes I'd Love to Have

The cool thing about being clued in to the PE/VC and startup scene is that you discover new companies before they hit the market! One such company I heard of early on is Zalora. Zalora is an online shopping site for fashion and footwear. Founded in 2011, and incubated by Rocket GMBH, Zalora has expanded to become one of the largest online fashion retailers in Asia Pacific, operating in 8 countries such as Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore among others.

I was trawling the Web for shoes, being the shoe addict that I am (I have about 12 pairs of shoes in my little Hong Kong studio!), and decided to stop by Zalora. In conjunction with my (supposed-to-be-weekly) 5 Things Friday series, here are 5 Zalora women's shoes online that I'd love to get my hands on:

5. Ezra Basics stiletto pump: Classic pair for work and cocktails after!
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4. koumi koumi Damien colour block heels: Love the coral shade and scalloped edges... and colour-blocking has never been as on trend as it is now.
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3. New Look pointed wedge court shoes: I have a major weakness for rich jewel tones, especially in burgundy/oxblood. 
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2. koumi koumi Dana leopard print sandals: Not crazy about leopard print but the bright teal definitely makes this pair of sandals pop - all is forgiven.
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1. ALDO Learwen wedges: So sexy... sadly they're not in my size and out of budget. But still pretty to look at and dream of!
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Zalora has lots of merchandise across a wide range of brands and prices so check them out here:

Besides that, if you subscribe to their newsletter, you get a $100 voucher off your first purchase! :)

Images taken from ZALORA. This post is done in collaboration with ZALORA.

July 7, 2014

Saturday Getaway at PMQ Night Market

This is a bit delayed, but I finally made my way to the PMQ Night Market - PMQ standing for Police Married Quarters - located on 35, Aberdeen Street, Central. The compound had fallen into disuse, then played host to several cycles of the design festival DETOUR Hong Kong (which I managed to miss for 2 years straight! :'(...) before being given a facelift. 

Run by the Hong Kong Markets Organisation, the folks behind Island East Markets at Taikoo Place, the PMQ Night Market aims to fuse "the bazaars of Southeast Asia with open-air music concerts, and a touch of a random evening at your best friend’s house". When I arrived, the place was in full swing, with a jazz group playing and revellers enjoying food and drinks in rows of picnic tables and benches, making the place a great family entertainment spot. 

I'm always curious about artisan/handmade/novelty products, so I made my way through the shops. Sadly some were closed before 8pm - I'll have to return to see them again. Here are some shots:

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Love those hanging bulbs - always my design favourite!
The two blocks are named for the streets that they face: on the left is Staunton, and the right Hollywood.

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Marquee lettering makes me happy!

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I love the fuchsia clutch in the foreground at SHOWcase by bread n butter. So bold and very sleek with the stripes.

SHOWcase by bread n butter, HG01-HG05, G/F, Hollywood

July 3, 2014

Art Basel HK 2014: Keith Haring

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Keith Haring (1958 - 1990) was an American artist and social activist. His style was pop and graffiti art, characterised by his iconic humanoids, dynamic lines, and splashes of colour, often in neon. He first garnered attention with his public art in New York subways. A highly commercial artist, he ran stores that sold memorabilia of his designs called the Pop Shop; besides that, one of his works was a jacket worn by Madonna for a performance of her classic song "Like A Virgin".

Common themes in Haring's work included birth, death, sexuality, and war. Somewhat like South African artist William Kentridge in my previous blog post, Haring's art had a dual nature to it. While his art was cheerful thanks to its pop art nature and affirming messages on life and unity, it also depicted the stigma and alienation the homosexual community and HIV/AIDS sufferers experienced in the 1980's - both communities of which Haring belonged to. That sexuality was portrayed as nightmarish, often with skeletons, wild beasts and monsters, probably reflects Haring's internalisation of the struggle experienced by gays in having to live out their lives and loves under wraps.

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Haring, "Ignorance = Fear", 1989

Haring also spoke out against the crack cocaine epidemic, with his double-sided playground mural titled "Crack is Wack". A prolific artist, he also worked in collage and sculpture.

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Conscious of his impending death coupled with having to witness the deaths of friends due to AIDS, Haring nonetheless strove to produce more art in his remaining time. Contemporary art curator and essayist Barry Blinderman wrote beautifully, to tie it up:

"Haring's way of living life – liberated and with death in mind at a young age – allowed him to pull himself away from his diagnosis."

Images from: here, here.