January 11th, 2008
A poor and crippled Hong Kong man who became a cultural icon for his unique Chinese-style street graffiti has died at the age of 86, sparking nostalgic calls to preserve his vanishing legacy.
Tsang Tsou-choi, dubbed “The King of Kowloon” after the district he lived in — was a Hong Kong original, who never saw himself as an artist but was hailed internationally as one.
A grubby man who looked like a tramp and who many thought barking mad, Tsang spent five decades roaming the metropolis — often shirtless and on crutches — scrawling his idiosyncratic calligraphy on lamp-posts, walls, phone boxes, pedestrian underpasses and electrical boxes.
“To some extent he’s quite cuckoo,” said leading Hong Kong fashion designer William Tang, a longtime admirer of Tsang who used the graffiti as a motif for several clothing ranges.
“I started to look at the calligraphy carefully and found it’s not just a joke. It has some kind of power, which is very raw, very original,” Tang added
Some say Tsang’s Chinese-style calligraphy, peppered with obscenities and abuse toward Britain’s Queen Elizabeth — is naive and an eyesore. But its quintessential Hong Kong symbolism has inspired other artists, including local film-maker Fruit Chan, and has drawn international acclaim.
sang’s admirers say his unique art slowly permeated the local consciousness and became a part of the city’s collective memory.
“The most important thing is it’s so consistent. It has become an icon and people recognize it — and that imprints in people’s minds,” said legislator Patrick Lau.
But Tsang’s acts of vandalism antagonized both Hong Kong’s British colonial rulers as well as the territory’s leaders after the 1997 handover to China.
The police pitted themselves against the graffiti artist in a cat and mouse game for years, effacing his work wherever they found it and detaining him several times.
Tsang stubbornly kept at his task — even on crutches in his 80s — but was forced to retire when his legs finally gave way.
His works are now in danger of vanishing completely. Only a few examples of his art remain, including a pillar at the Star Ferry Pier, sparking calls by legislators, art critics and preservation experts to save these vestiges.
“I don’t see any reason why they should be removed,” said Bernard Chan, a member of the Executive Council — Hong Kong’s top policy advisory body and the Antiquities Advisory Board.
Lau Kin-wai, an art critic and friend of Tsang’s for many years, called on the Hong Kong Art Museum to mount an exhibition to pay full tribute to Tsang’s legacy.
“He has already become a cultural icon and part of the collective memory of Hong Kong. (His work) is important for our future and past,” Lau said.
Exhibition images via http://flickr.com/photos/kookii/
January 11th, 2008
“I am interested in the complications of desire, what power people have available to them and how they use that power. These images serve as a means of escape from one’s personal histories but also provides a space to question these idealistic scenarios. Drawing on dramatic moments from literature and framing the romantic stereotypes that are created these images are complicated by obscured power structures. Ambiguity conceals where authority lies in these familiar images disrupting our understanding of these hackneyed relationships while bringing into the foreground the continual power struggles still fueling our political, social and intimate relationships.”
– Angela Fraleigh
January 9th, 2008
Warhol sofa, designed by Simone Brewster, is a system that enbables it user to live from one room in one multifunctional system. The individual elements include a desk, a bed, a seat and cushions. Each component acts as an ingredient with which the user can compose and create their desired environment.
January 9th, 2008
So-Yeun Lee is a talented artist born in South Korea in 1971, and currently based in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Her paintings are mainly self-portraits, a little eerie-looking, but sublime at the same time.
January 9th, 2008
Contemporary Asian society is constantly buffeted by change, often sudden, unexpected, affecting an individual or entire culture, and with lasting influence. Come face to face with change, evolution and inevitability in this dramatic and immersive installation artwork that fills an entire gallery space. With seven distinct parts and film-set type construction, the installation takes the viewer on a remarkable journey of sights and sounds, beginning with a large sculpture. Describing the spaces will be a series of room experiences that feature among others, a sword-wielding samurai and a 360-degree movie theatre.
Azhanti High Lightning is one of the most ambitious multiple media projects ever undertaken at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Gallery.
Conceived by Hong Kong/British artist Simon Birch, with additional work contributed by leading Hong Kong photographer Wing Shya.
Exhibition curated by Bridget Tracy Tan.
Born in Brighton in 1969, Birch began painting at a very early age under the guidance of his parents. His mother is an accomplished painter and art teacher and his father is a graphic and interior designer. Birch moved to Hong Kong in 1996 where he eventually took up a professional career as an artist. He is now well established as a leading Hong Kong contemporary artist who is fast building a reputation internationally as both a painter and a multi-media artist with his finger on the pulse of street culture.
Chosen as winner of 2004’s Schoeni Asian Art Award by the Sovereign Group, Simon is known for his painting, in particular his portraits, which have drawn much attention due to a number of high-profile commissions. He has also held a series of extremely successful solo exhibitions in the past few years as well as finding time to curate one of Hong Kong’s largest group shows with over 30 artists involved. He has equally become a target of speculation with his graffiti projects around the city of Hong Kong, and his exciting collaborative works with designers and photographers.
His current projects include not only curating the inaugural exhibition at the new 10 Chancery Lane Warehouse space in Hong Kong, but also a large-scale collaborative project with photographer Wing Shya and Japanese fashion brand Evisu – a solo exhibition with a substantial number of commissioned works.
Wing Shya is a Hong Kong-based photographer who works in the field of fashion, film and art. He started his career as a graphic designer after having studied at the Emily Carr Institute in Canada. He also worked with Pentagram in The United States. Upon his return to Hong Kong, Wing set up Shya-la-la Workshop, an award-winning design studio.
Wing’s works have been exhibited in the Mori Museum in Japan. He is also the exclusive photographer and graphic designer for Wong Kar Wai’s films that included ‘Happy Together’, ‘In the Mood for Love’ and ‘2046’. Wing also contributes to numerous international fashion and art magazines such as iD(UK), French Vogue, 32c (Berlin), Big Magazine (US), More or Less (Japan), Men’s Non-No (Japan) and recently in TIME Style and Design (Spring 2005). He has also worked with clients including Louis Vuitton (Fall 2003+Spring 2005 Editorial), Lacoste (Fall 2002+Spring 2003), Christophe Lemaire (Fall 2003), A Bathing Ape (Japan), Tiger Beer (International Campaign), Hennessy V.S.O.P. 2005, Nike (Asia Women’s Wear 2005) and Dior Skin Care (Asia 2005).
Aside from photography, Wing is also a recognized director. He has directed several music videos for artists such as Karen Mok, Eason Chan, Jacky Cheung and Vanessa Mae. He has also worked on TV commercials with brands including Tiger Beer, Sony and Olympus. He has just held his own exhibition in March 2006 in Roppongi Hills in Japan and is in the process of further collaboration with other organizations.
January 9th, 2008
Crazy Beautiful Japanese Bento. Via, http://justinspace.com/blog/?p=353. See them all here, http://ricocoblog.seesaa.net/.