Four quite different exhibitions offer treats for the fine art-minded in the coming months.
Conceptual photographic works are a signature of Taryn Simon, and though the widely exhibited and collected American artist has also worked in sculpture, text and performance, it’s mostly arresting photography that makes up her Portraits and Surrogates exhibition, which is on now and continues until August 5. “Arresting”, in fact, is an apt word to describe her work Contraband (2010), which is a series of 1,075 photos of curious items withheld by the US Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Site or the US Postal Service International Mail Facility at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport. Simon spent a week at the airport, documenting goods seized from passengers and the mail. Such goods ranged from prohibited weapons and foodstuffs to exotic creatures and pirated movies. Other suites of images include one on peoples and animals under threat; another pairs landmark historical documents with photos of ornate flower arrangements, and is intended to emphasise the fragility of economic and government treaties.
Video piece Cutaways (2012) is footage of the artist appearing as a surrogate imitation of herself. At the close of a video interview on the Prime Time Russia TV show, Simon was asked to sit silently and stare at the newscasters for several minutes, informed that this was standard practice, and that the footage would be used in the editing process. The results are awkward and amusing.
The bohemian French artist known simply as Fury has a small and somewhat surreal selection of recent works at agnès b.’s new gallery space in Tsim Sha Tsui’s K11 Art Mall. Continuing until August 31, Passing Through features smallish works on canvas or other stretched fabric, with whimsical imagery frequently depicting the child protagonist from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, sometimes as a silhouette against tapestry-like or other imaginative (bordering on psychedelic) backdrops. There is also a self-portrait of the self-proclaimed “cyberpunk artist”, who was born in Paris and part of the Bazooka collective in the 1970s, and a leading proponent of the graphic punk imagery of that time, working principally on paper. Since the 1980s, when Fury first met designer Agnès Troublé (Agnès B), she has experimented with industrial fabrics, which led to the duo’s collaboration on a line of T-shirts.
Catch the imagination-stirring Hong Kong debut of this British painter until July 8. Quinn’s exhibition Rose, Cherry, Iron, Rust, Flamingo showcases small and larger (up to several metres across) oil-on-linen pieces that hark back to centuries-old trompe l’oeil imagery. That’s to say, things are not always what they seem. Take a few steps closer to Quinn’s paintings and what initially appeared to be reference sketches and photos for the artwork – stuck on with masking tape – are, in fact, carefully painted parts of the final composition.
Much has been of Quinn’s former role as keyboard player with 1980s new wave band the Lotus Eaters (big hit: “The First Picture of You”), but he long left that field of creativity behind him. Quinn’s paintings draw from the monumental landscapes and seascapes of 19th-century European Romanticism, but always with modern context and touches. These are works that the viewer might stand in front of for 10s of minutes at a time, hoping to fully take in and decode all that they contain.
This group show features dynamic local artists and includes 11 existing works and 12 newly commissioned pieces on the theme of “breathing space”. Interpretations vary and the artworks spill from indoor to open-air spaces. The exhibitionwas curated to commemorate Asia Society Hong Kong’s fifth anniversary, and is being held at the Former Explosives Magazine in Admiralty until August 13. Artists exhibiting are Chilai Howard, Chloë Cheuk, Cheuk Wing Nam, Enoch Cheung, South Ho, Vaan Ip, Ko Sin Tung, Andio Lai, Siu Wai Hang, Adrian Wong and Magdalen Wong. Three-dimensional works are varied in subject and media, spanning everything from composite installations to smaller sculptural pieces.