10 must-see exhibitions in Hong Kong this June

From masterworks by one of the most revered street photographers in Hong Kong history to illusionary oil paintings to weird and wonderful sculptures mimicking life from an alien world, there’s a magnificent range of art to see and soak up this June. Here are our picks below:

“Visual Dialogues: Hong Kong Through the Lens of Fan Ho”

“Pattern,” 1956, Silver Gelatin Print, 36 x 49.4cm

When: 14–30 June, closed on Sundays and public holidays

Not many Hong Kong artists — especially even after their deaths — can get as many hearts racing as Fan Ho can. The legendary young photographer shook the world with his dramatic shots of Hong Kong street scenes in the 1950s taken in black and white. This month over 30 works are up for sale at a Sotheby’s exhibition, gathering what is one of the most comprehensive retrospectives of the artist, where you’ll be able to view and purchase some of these prized, nostalgic slices of Hong Kong life. Among vintage works, the public will also be able to see Ho’s precious Rolleiflex f3.5 camera used throughout his lifetime, as well as check out the brand new photo book, “Fan Ho: Portrait of Hong Kong,” available for sale at the exhibition.

Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery, 5/F, One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, +852 2822 5566

Eternal Life: Exploring Ancient Egypt

Post image Related: 10 must-see art exhibitions in Hong Kong this May

Funerary stela of Deniuenkhonsu, shown offering luxury foods and flowers to the god Ra-Horakhty-Atum, c. 800 BC; Image courtesy of Trustees of the British Museum

When: 2 June–18 October

One of the biggest exhibitions this month attempts to shed some light on one of the deepest mysteries of human civilisation: the idea of life after death. Sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club and jointly organised by the government and The British Museum, this exhibition brings six real Egyptian mummies between 3,000 and 1,800 years old to Hong Kong. Through the latest computerised tomography (CT) scanning technology, researchers have been able to delve deeper than ever before into the ways of life and the funerary traditions in ancient Egypt. Coincidentally a reboot of “The Mummy” film starring Tom Cruise will be reaching Hong Kong theatres this summer too, but we expect this show at the Science Museum to be much more satisfying and educational to boot.

Price: Admission HK$30 at the door; HK$10 on Wednesdays; free for Museum Pass holders. Closed on Thursdays (except public holidays).

Hong Kong Science Museum, 2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong

Angela Su: The Afterlife of Rosy Leavers

“The Afterlife of Rosy Leavers (film still),” 2016-2017, Single channel video, 14’ 24”, Edition: 5 + 2AP; Image courtesy of artist and Blindspot Gallery

When: Through 30 June

Art collectors may be familiar with the works of Hong Kong artist Angela Su and her pencil drawings that reference medical sketches. Moving on from perceptions of the body, this exhibition is the result of extensive research on mental illness and social control, as well as a deep introspective dive to explore where she stands on the existence of autonomy, agency and empathy in our daily lives. Works span the mediums of drawings, video, hair embroidery and installations.

Blindspot Gallery, 15/F, Po Chai Industrial Building, 28 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, +852 2517 6238

Ged Quinn: Rose, Cherry, Iron Rust, Flamingo

“Plane, Plank, Nameless Bridge,” 2017, Oil on line, 200 x 380cm

When: Through 8 July

Here’s time for a bit of trompe d’oeil fun: Pearl Lam Galleries is bringing the UK painter Ged Quinn for the first time to Asia for a solo show, presenting a series of new landscapes and still lifes. As referenced by the exhibition title, Quinn’s works string together seemingly unrelated concrete objects to explore and stretch the potentials of reading a painting itself. In these works, the illusionary landscapes take elements from master paintings from history, such as Nicolas Poussin from the Baroque art period, and melds them together with subjects and characters from other points of reference. As Quinn noted, “The spaces between the images are important because one’s perception is altered by the juxtaposition.” It’ll be a fun, mind-boggling afternoon for sure.

Pearl Lam Galleries, 6/F, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2522 1428

Taryn Simon: Portraits and Surrogates

Installation view, “Taryn Simon: Portraits and Surrogates” at Gagosian Hong Kong, May 25 to August 5, 2017. Courtesy Gagosian. Artworks ©Taryn Simon

When: Through 5 August

Multidisciplinary conceptual artist Taryn Simon presents her work for the first time in Hong Kong at the Gagosian, with fascinating works that are set to make you question the powers and systems in the world, as well as how history, culture and politics shape meaning. In “Portraits and Surrogates,” she explores how different subjects gain new significance when they are displaced in new contexts: namely, juxtaposing groups of items seized at the US customs from abroad; comparing the abductions of various groups of people and animals around the planet and the various rationales behind each happening; and pairing seemingly frivolous flower arrangements with archival images of powerful men who signed some of the most important agreements in history to highlight the fragility — and useless formalities — from within history.

Gagosian Hong Kong, 7/F Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2151 0555

Claude Rutault and Lee Seung-jio

Courtesy Perrotin

When: Through 8 July

Two solo shows run side by side at Perrotin Hong Kong this month, bringing Claude Rutault for the first time to Asia and the works of the late Korean painter Lee Seung-jio for the first time to Hong Kong. Both radical painters in different veins, Rutault turned the idea of a painting as an object topsy turvy when he painted his canvases the same vibrant hues as the walls on which they were hung (as above) — making quite a statement wall (and perhaps a good shot for the ‘gram, we reckon). Emerging mid-century, Lee rejected abstract expressionism that was favoured in the art world at the time, preferring instead simple, clean lines and presentations and later focused on painting results that hovered between two- and three-dimensionality. He is regarded as one of the first artists making Geometric Art in Korea.

Perrotin Hong Kong, 50 Connaught Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3758 2180

Wendy Tan: Nature Enigma

Ceramic trio from “Nature Enigma” series

When: 10-25 June

It’s worth venturing away from the blue chip galleries of Central once in a while to see what some Hong Kong artists are up to. These unusual, undulating roots and arms cast in ceramic will be exhibited at Unit Gallery, located at the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC) this month. Created by Wendy Tan, these works were inspired by the oft-ignored beauty found in nature, where she was taken by the patterns and curves found in small petals and leaves. In her works, she attempts to reflect the microcosms that carry these hidden beauties, bringing a message of motivation for us city dwellers to change our habits — if we want to maintain the current health of our ecosystems for future generations, that is.

Unit Gallery, L5-23, 5/F, JCCAC, 30 Pak Tin Street, Shek Kip Mei, Hong Kong

Nobuyoshi Araki Solo Exhibition

Last by Leica Series 2015-2017

When: Through 30 June

Photography junkies are already in for a treat this month thanks to the Fan Ho exhibition, but for lovers of contemporary works, the largest Hong Kong solo exhibition of the prolific post-war photographer Nobuyoshi Araki is also currently on show. The collection at Over the Influence Gallery features over 70 photographs, with more than 50 pieces from Araki’s acclaimed “Last by Leica” series, which was a visual diary started in 2012 shot using the Leica M7 — the last analogue camera made by the brand. Documenting the small moments of each day, they cast a poetic, melancholic, and even erotic lens on many banal objects and ordinary people. The remainder of the collection is rounded out by 20 recently shot polaroids using The Impossible Project’s Black & Red 600 Douchrome film and a Polaroid 600 camera.

Over the Influence Gallery, 1/F, 159 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2617 9829

Debris: Works by Alexandre Farto aka Vhils

Courtesy of Vhils Studio; Photo Credit: Fernando Guerra

When: 1 June–5 November

After establishing a studio in Hong Kong last year, Portuguese street artist Vhils, also known as Alexandre Farto, has ventured into our sister SAR, bringing his intricately drilled, carved and meticulously destroyed portrait murals with him. Thanks to the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Foundation (HOCA) working with the Cultural Affairs Bureau, Vhils has created four public murals inspired by the city of Macau, and a show of 16 additional works are also exhibiting at the Navy Yard No. 1 – Contemporary Art Center. Like his existing work, new pieces continue to investigate the relationships between cities and their inhabitants. Rather than layering on new mediums in his art, he chooses to strip away concrete and stone, laying bare the history and heritage behind each building, as well as the human stories left behind or represented by each place.

Navy Yard No.1 – Contemporary Art Center, Rua de Sao Tiago da Barra, Macau

Fung Ming Chip: MEME

“Female’s Desire,” 120 x 120 x 42cm, Wooden Stele, 2017; Courtesy of the artist and Galerie du Monde

When: 2–30 June

Fung Ming Chip may be a familiar name for those versed in the world of new calligraphic arts, someone who spent almost the past four decades exploring novel ways to write in Chinese. But his latest exhibition at Galerie du Monde promises to be the most experimental yet, pushing boundaries of the written word past ideograms and pictographs on paper. This time, Fung has delved into sculpture, creating large scale steles — a nod to the way western and eastern cultures both dedicate engraved stones to historically significant events or people, and setting in stone his homage to the importance of words. Alongside these works, Fung will create a site-specific mural specially for the duration of the exhibition.

Galerie du Monde, 108 Ruttonjee Centre, 11 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2525 0529