Summer break is officially here!!! I’m so so happy to be done with my long semester, and I can get back to viewing art around Hong Kong. In the meantime, here’s a quick post on Vision Tunnels, an architectural installation showcasing artworks at LANDMARK Mall as part of the Be Inspired in Central events, that was held for a week or so till 4th April.
Vision Tunnels is the name of the installation designed by Hong Kong architect Rocco Yim. Within its three “tunnels” are a selection of artworks loaned by galleries, most of which are conveniently located in Central. These artworks are hung up in the tunnels, and you have to look up to see them.
Salvador Dalí, L’oeil fleuri, 1944, Opera Gallery
The first artwork I encountered was Dalí’s. I found it strange yet fascinating; I just absolutely love this Surrealist work! The amount of detail is also notable, like the flowered eyelashes, the scratchy orange color on the stone eye, the contrasting texture between the eye and bricks – so brilliant to me.
Eric Baudart, Concave – Cuivre, 2015, Edouard Malingue Gallery
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Portrait of Pierre Renoir a la Capeline, 1886, Opera Gallery
This is the second time I’ve seen Renoir, the first time at Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris. It’s in his signature light, fluffy style, and the painting comes with a gorgeous gold gilt frame. But I think that Renoir’s small portraits look too lightweight. Naturally, his renowned works seem to look much better, at least in digital images. I’ll like to view them for myself in real life one day and see if I might think differently.
Huang Rui, Dance of I Qing – Yao (1-32), 2015 (left), Dance of I Qing – Yao (33-64), 2015, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery
Tseng Kwong Chi, Hollywood Hills, California, 1979, Ben Brown Fine Arts
Coincidentally, I’d just seen this photograph in an art magazine a little while before I saw it in real life! Always feels good to encounter an artwork you’ve only seen as an image before.
Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Hercules and Omphale, early 1620s, Christie’s
I used to be pretty interested in Greek mythology when I was a kid, with their host of gods and goddesses and their classic stories. I didn’t realize how broad Greek mythology was (and how little I knew of it) until I started probing around the gazillions of Greek myths depicted in many European paintings of earlier centuries. I’ve no clue what’s going on in this painting, and I don’t know who Omphale is, though I’d heard of Hercules (thanks, Disney)… So a bit of research it is.
This mythological story is about the Greek god Hercules who had to atone for the murder of a friend, and does so by being lowered from his godly status and becoming a slave of Omphale, the queen of Lydia, an ancient kingdom located somewhere in present-day Turkey. Hercules was forced to do the bidding of Omphale, and he was involved in women’s work like spinning yarn/wool and would also wear women’s clothing. Omphale is often depicted wearing Hercules’s lion skin, while Hercules often holds a distaff or spindle, representing his work. While the story is originally about Hercules’s humiliating punishment, Renaissance and Baroque art took it as a representation of woman’s dominion over men. I assume that’s what Sir Peter Paul Rubens was also going for as he was a Flemish Baroque painter. In this painting, Omphale is the woman in red pulling on Hercules’s ear, who is surrounded by who I presume are Omphale’s maidens.
I’d happened to visit Vision Tunnels while there was a children’s painting workshop going on, and they were either painting after individual artworks or painting the Vision Tunnels. I found one young boy’s painting after Renoir so impressive I had to take a shot!
I really like the idea of viewing art within a mall, but I had one problem with this year’s installation. Most of the artworks were located within the Vision Tunnels, so I had to crane my neck to see them and it didn’t make for the best viewing experience. Reuben’s and Dalí’s paintings were best positioned at the ends of the tunnels and I could view them from a comfortable distance. I’d prefer it if all the artworks could be easily viewed without obstruction. It is interesting though how all the artworks are suspended from the ceiling without occupying any floor space and potentially disrupting shoppers! Probably only in Hong Kong would space be utilized so fully.