Last week I booked a ticket to check out the Chanel Mobile Art exhibition on opening day, Wednesday, February 27th. Getting there today was easy. Starting from the Chanel store in Central, I walked under the footbridge to get to the pavilion. The way was well labeled with signs.[photopress:Chanel_mobile_art_Hong_Kong.jpg,full,pp_image]
Once inside the tunnel you take the second right and walk towards City Hall. Near the beginning of the parking structure I found the entranceway staircase and proceeded up.
I arrived early so that I could admire Zaha Hadid’s contemporary art container before heading inside. From its perch on top of a parking garage in the middle of Central, the Chanel Mobile Art pavilion has some pretty famous neighbors.
Gazing around there are buildings by I.M. Pei (the Bank of China,) and Norman Foster (HSBC Main Branch,) just a few blocks away.[photopress:IM_pei_zaha_hadid_hong_K.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Chanel_art_Hong_Kong.jpg,full,pp_image]
I took photos of the futuristic structure next to other Hong Kong landmarks like the eighty-eight story IFC2 which looms above.[photopress:Chanel_art_building_Zaha.jpg,full,pp_image]
In Hong Kong, the tickets to the exhibition are free, but there is a $10 HKD processing charge for booking. The reason you need to book a ticket is to reserve a time slot. This is necessary since the walk through the exhibit incorporates a timed audio soundtrack. An important thing to realize is that it’s not an audio tour, it’s the audio portion of the exhibition. If you start exploring prematurely, you will throw off the experience and miss the interesting sound-scapes that were created to compliment the artwork.[photopress:Chanel_mobile_art_tickets.jpg,full,pp_image]
Arriving at the first check point, you wait until they let you enter the check-in area. After presenting your ticket you can enter the coat check to check your bag. No cell phones, cameras, or large bags are allowed in the exhibition.[photopress:Chanel_art_container_Zaha.jpg,full,pp_image]
Next you exit again to proceed to the entrance just a few steps away. Here you are fitted with a set of headphones and a special mp3 player. As you receive the mp3 player, the attendees ask you which language you prefer. For Hong Kong I believe the choices included English, Cantonese and Mandarin, though they may include the languages of the additional countries on the international tour. Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to wait during the check-in process, they stagger the crowd to make it a comfortable viewing experience.
The first dialog you hear is a woman with a raspy voice, almost like the female equivalent of a Russ Meyer narration! The exhibition starts as you turn a corner and enter the first space. The floor below you is decorated in mosaics and there are several mobiles hanging. Here is where you need to get synchronized with the audio sound-scape. Don’t start exploring without hearing the cue instructing you to climb the stairs. The timing for the exhibition is well thought out and easy to follow once you adjust to it. Wait for the audio cues about when to leave. It gives very specific directions.
I don’t think it’s proper for me to give away any spoilers about the art inside, so I won’t do any detailed descriptions. The artwork is mostly installations, where the artist has created a space to amplify the experience, rather than simply leaving you to stare at a static canvas or frame.
The curator, Fabrice Bousteau, did an excellent job assembling a range of artists who interpreted the Chanel theme in a very loose way. Each artist went about their project from a different angle. The show is a success in its diversity.
Highlights for me included a 360 degree projection that worked well with the music; an interesting installation based on a reflection by Leandro Erlich; the Nobuyoshi Araki film; Lee Bul, an artist from South Korea’s use of details and space in her installation; and an over-sized Chanel bag with an exceptional video (both in content and tone) that was looped inside.
The last stage of the exhibition takes place under the pavilion’s atrium. This is where the clear sky-roof panels are visible when the pavilion is seen from above.[photopress:Chanel_mobile_art_exhibitio.jpg,full,pp_image]
I actually went through the exhibit twice – once with the audio accompaniment and another time without any audio. The second time around I had more of a chance to take in small things on my own and to admire the wonders of the art container, which may be the real star of the show.
Looking around the interior of the building it didn’t disappoint. Inside it was a swirl of complex angles with interesting details. Even for a temporary structure, there were small elements such as Chanel-style quilted paneling and interesting railings in places. Just when you think you’d encounter a straight line, there would be another twist or curve. Part of the fascination with this is that most of our environments are confined to four straight walls at right angles. There wasn’t a single conventional space like that in Zaha Hadid’s pavilion.
At the end of the tour you’re presented with a special magazine – Hong Kong Chanel Mobile Art Issue #1. Exiting, I spent a few minutes walking around the perimeter of the structure taking photos before departing. With the exhibition open until April 5th, I’ll be back![photopress:Chanel_Mobile_Art_Magazine.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Chanel_art_exhibition_artis.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Chanel_mobile_art_opening.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Zaha_Hadid_Chanel_art_conta.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Zaha_Hadid_architecture_Cha.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Chanel_art_book_ticket.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Art_exhibit_Chanel_world.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Chanel_art_container_Zaha_H.jpg,full,pp_image]
Featured artists include: Lee Bul, Daniel Buren, Blue Noses, David Levinthal, Fabrice Hyber, Leandro Erlich, Loris Cecchini, Michael Lin, Nobuyoshi Araki, Pierre & Gilles, Sophie Calle, Soju Tao, Stephen Shore, Subodh Gupta, Sylvie Fleury, Tabaimo, Wim Delvoye, Yang Fudong, Yoko Ono, and Y.Z. Kami.
The audio accompaniment was put together by Stephan Crasneanscki of Soundwalk.