Art agenda: 5 Hong Kong exhibitions to see in June 2021

Resetting art genres and enhancing cultural connectedness, June’s exhibitions bring art powerhouses from around the world to Hong Kong. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend activity or an inspiring post-work pick-me-up, here’s what not to miss this month.

Only A Joke Can Save Us

Photo: Present Projects

Bringing nine international artists together – Bo Choy, Hu Rui, Cyrus Hung, Kensuke Koike, Kieran Leach, Mak Ying Tung 2, Yan Xinyue, Pow Martinez and Yu Cheng-ta – this exhibition offers a complex yet rebellious account of the current times. Through various mediums of humour, the artists aim to elicit laughter and provide comfort to viewers amidst the uncertainty. With features including a play on Instagram filters and political parodies, each artwork explores humour as a way of understanding ourselves and the unsettling world around us as well as the ability to joke in times of crisis and trauma. 

On from now until 4 July 2021

Present Projects, 3/F, Tak On House, 13 Wong Chuk Street, Sham Shui Po, +852 5418 8144


Photo: Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Esther Schipper & Para Site

In collaboration with Rockbund Art Museum, Para Site’s latest exhibition spans two locations. Showcasing works by 24 artists, the exhibition explores the multi-layered experience and fluid concept of a curtain. From a domestic object to conceptual references in various cultural contexts, Curtain not only serves as a physical partition in the exhibition space, it also expands into the discussion of technology and boundaries of a screen. Immersing visitors, the exhibition allows them to crawl through, peek through or lift them entirely. Many of the works also focus on identity and inquire how humanity perceives themselves and others.

On from now until 25 July 2021

Para Site, 22/F, Wing Wah Industrial Bldg., 677 King’s Road, Quarry Bay, +852 25174620
Soho House Hong Kong, 22/F, 33 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan, +852 5803 8888

Ink City

Photo: Ink City

Experimenting with subject matter and approach, this group exhibition features 19 artists inspired by immediate encounters with contemporary life. Collectively, the artworks showcase the social narrative of the current generation, marked by transition. Some works show the unique perspective of Hong Kong at the end of the colonial era, while others explore the vast range of identities found in the Chinese diaspora and echo shared experiences of gender, identity, desire, and fantasy. They offer keen observations, commentaries, and sometimes even deconstructions of contemporary culture and society through their works, showcasing the current social and political concerns.

On from now until 1 August 2021

Ink City, Tai Kwun Contemporary, 1/F JC Contemporary, 10 Hollywood Road, Central

Horizontals by Mark Grotjahn

Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

I like less looking, more doing,” Mark Grotjahn says. In his paintings, drawings, and sculptures, Grotjahn explores colour, perspective, and the sublime through various forms of abstraction and an array of techniques. He has drawn inspiration from the diverse history of painting, from prehistoric to Op art. This exhibition displays his most recent paintings, the Capri series, originally produced in 2016 for Casa Malaparte on the isle of Capri, Italy. The new paintings extend Grotjahn’s shift towards full abstraction. These works are also marked by the influence of American Abstract Expressionism—specifically Clyfford Still’s use of the palette knife.

On from now until 7 August 2021

Gagosian Gallery, 7/F Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, +852 2151 0555

Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness

Photo: Pearl Lam Galleries

In honour of Pride Month, celebrated visual activist Zanele Muholi presents Somnyama Ngonyama, which translates from isiZulu to ‘Hail The Dark Lioness’. The South African LGBTQ+ ally and artist uses autobiographical, monochromatic portraits to express the self-image and journey of a black individual in modern society. Employing the mediums of classical painting, fashion photography, and the familiar tropes of ethnographic imagery, Muholi rearticulates the notions of race, representation, and identity. The artist, who prefers the gender-neutral pronouns they/them, adopts various personas in the images, accessorising with props and objects to reflect their personal experiences and challenge cultural and historic narratives.

On from now until 15 August 2021

Pearl Lam Galleries, 6/F Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central

See also: Art agenda: 5 Hong Kong exhibitions to see in May 2021

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