Saturday, August 8, 2015

Claudio Parmiggiani at the Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong

On entering the Simon Lee gallery I was greeted by two works of the renowned Italian artist Claudio Parmiggiani. The first, hanging on the wall directly opposite the entrance was a powerful image, like an eye staring back at me. It appeared to be a photograph of the Helix Nebula but as I approached closer it became apparent that a hole had been burned into the centre of the image. The flames had engulfed the entire 'pupil' of the image and the contrasting white background, seen through the hole, emphasised the damage. It was as though the intensity of the hot, fluorescent gases being expelled from the star caused the photographic image itself to combust.

The second work, occupying almost a third of the gallery, was comprised of a great pile of white rubble, classical heads heaped one on another blocking access to that part of the gallery. Parmiggiani's iconography was assembled in Italy during the radical 60s, when contemporary artists struggled with the suffocating presence of ancient Italian culture. Through a post-modern lens, Parmiggiani creates metaphysical poetry that borrows allegory and symbolism from the Catholic tradition. This work, Untitled (Senza Titolo) 2013-15, is enigmatic, De Chirico-like and great fun.

Senza Titolo, 2013-15

Second Student Graduation Show - June 2015

Unbelievably 2 years has passed and the second cohort of students were graduating from the Higher Diploma in Visual Arts programme at the Hong Kong Design Institute. This year our programme was assigned the 'Experience Centre' in a prominent position on the ground floor, but which contained a dominating lighting fixture, the remnants of a display originally designed for the Shanghai Expo.

Although the lighting fixture is quite striking, I found it to be a little too dominant and diverted a little too much attention away from the student work. However, the design of the exhibition tried to incorporate the lighting by directing the focus onto a large, oval display platform where some of the work was arranged.

On Friday 19th June was the HKDI 'Talent Show' opening, but the HD in Visual Arts & Culture 'Artist's Night' was held on Monday 22nd June. On this night we held an official opening, with speeches, dedications, gifts and short performances.

Once again it was rewarding for the teachers to see the students enjoying their moment to the full, hopefully starting their long journey in the visual arts field. These moments make it all worthwhile!
Congratulations to all!!

Panoramic photo courtesy of JJ Wu.