Guests attending the opening night of Work In Progress, a new street art exhibit that debuted on Friday, were immediately wowed by the scale of the art and the size of the space.
As we’ve talked about many times before, high real estate costs in Hong Kong are detrimental to nearly every aspect of life in the city and art galleries are no exception. As Hong Kong becomes an art destination, it still suffers from a lack of large-sized open spaces to properly exhibit work.
Apart from White Cube, even powerhouse international galleries are only able to put on limited shows due to the lack of adequate venues. To combat this situation, some galleries have chosen to be located outside of the major neighborhoods in former factory or industrial areas.
What’s the difference? For a quick analogy, it’s sort of like watching a film on a small TV versus experiencing it in the cinema. Larger spaces provide a richer experience and allow you to appreciate more of the work.
In essence, grand-scale artwork needs to be absorbed at a distance, and this was one of the successes of the Work In Progress show where many of the pieces took up entire walls.
Work In Progress may in fact be a step in the evolution of Hong Kong’s art scene.
The exhibit, which was staged by Hong Kong property developer Swire, utilizes an entire floor of an office building in Taikoo Place.
Made up of works by both international and local contributors, the exhibition features a collection of techniques that were popularized by street artists.
Work In Progress feels like an international-level show. The only precedents in Hong Kong that comes to mind are Simon Birch’s “Hope & Glory” and “Daydreaming With…” exhibitions, which took place at the nearby ArtisTree also owned by Swire. Those took up a similarly expansive 20,000 square foot space that permitted larger-than-life artwork.
A sneak peek into Work In Progress
The video below is a quick walk through Work In Progress that shows some of the key works. The real pleasure however is in walking around the show and viewing the massive works in person.
On the opening night there were two interesting activities featured on either side of the space. In one far corner they had a firing range with paintball guns, and the other held a sledgehammer area to smash things up! It was a fun twist and both proved popular! (Check out the video to see the two areas in action!)
The show was curated by May Wong of Above Second Gallery who has been working tirelessly over the last several years to cultivate a greater interest in international street art.
Congratulations to the visiting artists: VHILS, RONE, Cyrcle, Victor Ash, Meggs, Cannonball Press, and Beastman; the local contributors; and to the organizers, SWIRE Properties, May Wong of Above Second, and Signature HK for a job well done!
Be sure to catch the exhibition before it closes on July 7th!
Work In Progress street art exhibition
June 17th to July 7th 2013
10am – 7pm (no admission after 6.30pm)
13th Floor, Somerset House, Taikoo Place (Enter through the loading bay entrance on the street-level)
Quarry Bay, Hong Kong (Take the MTR to Quarry Bay station and walk about three blocks to the venue)