Hong Kong is often perceived from abroad as a financial place only, and not much as a creative and artistic hub. But this is ignoring the resilience of the local art scene, who has been overcoming challenges related to COVID and political changes for the past two years. UNSCHEDULED is returning for the second consecutive year and is the perfect demonstration of the vitality of the Hong Kong art community.
In 2020, in response to the cancellation of Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central, the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association (HKAGA) came up with a spontaneous ‘unscheduled’ art fair held in Tai Kwun, more intimate than a traditionally classed art fair. The fair was supposed to happen only once, in the aim to reinvigorate the local art scene, but given the enthusiasm from collectors and general public, they decided to return this year from 2 to 6 September, presenting solo exhibitions from fifteen HKAGA gallery members.
Neither a traditional art fair nor a museum exhibition, but initially a platform for selling and networking for local galleries, the fair is located this year in the former flagship Topshop store location in Central and, thus, is aiming to attract more visitors from the general public.
Designed by BEAU Architects, the fair, spreading across 20,000 sq.ft., will feature minimally invasive structural elements, including clear synthetic curtains as booth partitions and free standing walls. This alternative design will maintain the flow and visual connection between spaces while challenging the nature of art fairs.
This non-traditional exhibition space has been thought by two Hong Kong-based curators, Jing Chin-Yin Chong and Clara Wong, as an opportunity to showcase special exhibitions related to the venue as a fashion retail centre, blending art and fashion aesthetics.
Curators Jing Chin-Yin Chong and Clara Wong, Photo Courtesy Felix Wong and HKAGA
For UNSCHEDULED, they have crafted an interconnected experience for visitors beyond the standard art fair, creating an experience of “déjà vu” from fragments of our cityscape.
As they stated, “the former shop floor, staircase, corridor and lounge have been transformed into a distinctive cityscape. […] With an attempt to explore the creativity and possibility in art, space, and cityscape in this unconventional art fair, the visitors are encouraged to depict their imagination of the cityscape and create dialogues with the works around them in the exhibition.”
In addition to this particular exhibition space and design experience, UNSCHEDULED is a great opportunity to discover or rediscover emerging and established local artists, featured in each gallery booth. This year, among others, you will be able to enjoy the works of Hong Kong genius Luis Chan at Hanart TZ Gallery, Cheung Tsz Hin at Contemporary by Angela Li, and a group of artists from the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University at Karine Weber Gallery.
Luis Chan, Everyday Haute Couture of Luis Chan, 1980s, Hanart TZ Gallery
Born in Panama in 1905 to Cantonese parents, and settled in Hong Kong in 1910, Luis Chan was an eccentric genius who, as one of the first generation of Chinese modern painters, has become legendary in the history of Chinese contemporary art. His wonderful sense of humour and playful spirit, his tolerance and open-mindedness, his fantastical creations and his irrepressible creativity have kept his paintings fresh and still relevant today. A “bon vivant”, Luis Chan once said ‘One must never serve friends ‘moon’-cakes!’ (in Cantonese, the word for ‘boring’ is pronounced ‘moon’)!
Luis Chan, Untitled (Life Under a Tri-coloured Flag), 1986
Cheung Tsz Hin, the garden i still vaguely remember, Contemporary by Angela Li Gallery
Cheung Tsz Hin, born in 1987 in Hong Kong, obtained a Bachelor of Integrated BBA (minor in Fine Arts) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2010, and a Master of Fine Arts in Taipei in 2014. He has held solo and group exhibitions in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Iceland.
Cheung Tsz Hin’s latest body of works combine both realistic and imaginative depictions of potted plants and daily objects that reflects upon the artist’s past memories. Cheung describes his works as very personal, while blending his memories with the present scenery of the places where he was brought up and belongs.
Cheung Tsz Hin, Three Pots, 2021
Artists from the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University, at Karin Weber Gallery: Annie Wan, Bryan Chung, Carmen Ng, Francis Yu, Louis Nixon, Tom Chung Man, Tse Chun Sing, Victor Wong
Karin Weber Gallery will present works by eight different artists from the Academy of Visual Arts at Hong Kong Baptist University, seeking to bring to life the shopping experiences people come across every day. The brand new works investigate different aspects of the shopping experience and include ceramics, paintings, installations and interactive media.
Annie Wan, Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread, 2019
By visiting UNSECHEDULED, not only will you enjoy art in the heart of Hong Kong, but you will also support the community. Indeed, proceeds from the fair ticket sales will be distributed back to the participating galleries, as well as donated to the local charity Hands On Hong Kong to support the relief efforts of those most affected by COVID-19.
More details about the participating galleries and artists, the schedule and the tickets pricing can be found here: UNSCHEDULED 2021
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