On October 21, 2015, millions of people around the world were very excited. It's the day Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel to the future in their time machine, the DeLorean, in Stephen Spielberg's cult movie Back To The Future: Part II. Yes, it’s a movie, a phantasy, but this amazing movie influenced generations of people, while its theme impacted many segments of our collective imaginary. The Cat Street Gallery and China Art Projects has organized an amazing joint venture – an exhibition entitled Back to the Future, aiming to explore the themes illustrated in the popular American adventure comedy. They have invited 18 Hong Kong-based artists to examine the artistic richness of the city’s past and present, and to take a look at the unpredictable future.
Hong Kong is experiencing an interesting time in its history. A barren and rocky island at the extremity of the Qing Empire in 1842 when it was forcibly annexed by the British Empire, Hong Kong has grown into a major world finance and business center. Actually, Hong Kong is one of the major global cities. The rapid social change that the city has experienced must have left a profound impression on the thinking and cultural development of this society. Today, Hong Kong is passing through turbulent period. It seems it is struggling to both maintain and reinvent its position as both a Chinese and an international city of commerce, trade and political independence. Finally, when it comes to art, Hong Kong is a center of the Asia-Pacific region. In 2015, the Hong Kong art world is energized by the development and planning of major art establishments such as M+ West Kowloon Art District, the Central Police Station and PMQ Married Police Quarters in Hollywood Road, Central (read our article about the future of M+ Museum). With important art fairs, Art Basel HK and Art Central and the major world auction houses of Sotheby’s, Christies and Bonham’s all established in Hong Kong for some years, it is no wonder there is an air of optimism and excitement in the city in regards to the future of the art scene. So, what’s the future of the Hong Kong art scene, but also the future of its political, social and cultural status?
Where does Hong Kong find itself in the now thriving art and cultural world of an emergent Asia – does it look backward for inspiration for both its present and its future or does it ignore its past histories and speed full throttle into the future? Where does a Hong Kong artist look to pose the above questions – Back to the Future - their long Chinese heritage or the very much shorter 156 years of colonial history imposed upon their society since 1842 to the handover to China in 1997 – or indeed - Forward to the Future. Eighteen Hong Kong artists are invited to address these questions in a unique body of work for the Back to the Future exhibition. These artists are: Angela Yuen; Halley Cheng; Chou Yin Man Dabie; Homan Ho; Ko Tin Tan, Celia; Kwong Man Chun; Law Ka Nam, Bosco; Ling Pui Sze, CC; Local Studio HK; Lung Yuet Ching, Joyce; NG Kwun Lun, Tony; Esther Poon; Siu Kwok Kin, Stanley; Damon Tong; Cam Wong; Wong Shun Chi, Vanessa; Wong Yin Kwan, Queenie and Yuen Ka Yee, Angela.
The Cat Street Gallery is one of Hong Kong’s most well-known galleries. Originally established to exhibit the talents of contemporary Australian artists, the gallery has continued to grow, representing some of the most important, and exciting emerging and established talents from all over the world. The Back to the Future show has been organized in collaboration with the China Art Projects. Be sure not to miss this show, there are a number of amazing artists with great works on display. The exhibition will be on view until February 20, 2016 at The Cat Street Gallery and the China Art Projects in Hong Kong.
Featured Images: Local Studio HK-Redraw of The Map of The Hong Kong Railway (1898)1898, 2015, 63X46cm; Sim Chan - Ding Ding-2015, 32X32X14cm each; Damon Tong - Sweet and Sour 2015, detail. Diameter 80cm each. All Images courtesy of The Cat Street Gallery.
Hong Kong, Hong Kong