Its future uncertain, Hong Kong Fringe Club mounts retrospective art show

0

Pandemic restrictions will be lifted one day, but that may come too late for the Fringe Club – once the bohemian heart of Hong Kong with its alternative festivals and large bar areas, including a popular rooftop lounge favoured by artists and their friends.

Curator C Ting Chan designed the image for the “Be 40” exhibition, appropriated from Japanese artist Hokusai’s famous ukiyo-e print “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”, that shows a giant wave cresting over the Fringe Club. Photo: courtesy C Ting Chan/Hong Kong Fringe Club

Chia says the club is preparing for the possibility that the lease will not be renewed, but that it would be difficult to find an alternative venue before vacating the only home it has ever known.

Meanwhile, the club’s few remaining staff have poured their energy into its largest ever art show, called the “Be 40 Mixed-Media Exhibition”. It is a major retrospective of 66 visual artists who have been featured at the venue.

“Be 40” has clearly been curated to serve as a swansong. It is the only exhibition at the club to use the entire three-storey space, with prints, photos and paintings lining every wall, from the cafe in the basement up the narrow staircases to the Cantonese restaurant on the top floor.

Works by “Frog King” Kwok Mang-ho are hung on the second floor of the club. Photo: courtesy Kwok Mang-ho/Hong Kong Fringe Club

Works by “Frog King” Kwok Mang-ho are hung on the second floor of the club. Photo: courtesy Kwok Mang-ho/Hong Kong Fringe Club

A dedicated exhibition website, hkfringe40.com, includes old photos and testimonies by the artists.

C Ting Chan, the exhibition’s main curator, likens the building to a “big old house” and says the show is “an opportunity to reconnect with our artists and to preserve our memories”.

The show’s main image, which she designed, shows a giant ocean wave cresting over the Fringe Club, in a none-too-subtle reference to the institution’s uncertain future.

“The Fringe is facing a tsunami,” she says. “But I also drew in a beam of light, like that of a lighthouse, and warm lights coming out of the windows, to show that there is still life here.”

Osbert Lam photographed one of the first performances held at the Hong Kong Fringe Club in 1983. Photo: courtesy of Osbert Lam/Hong Kong Fringe Club

Osbert Lam photographed one of the first performances held at the Hong Kong Fringe Club in 1983. Photo: courtesy of Osbert Lam/Hong Kong Fringe Club

At the top of the image is a kite, a large bird often seen soaring over Hong Kong’s harbour. “The kite represents our spirit,” she said. “Even if the wave crashes down on us, our spirit will survive.”

Kwok Mang-ho, the contemporary artist better known as Frog King, has been given his own solo show-within-a-show, including Fringe-commissioned works and those shown at the Venice Biennale. The entire second floor is dedicated to his works, which hang hang from the ceiling of the darkened room like large, wildly painted scrolls.

The earliest works in the “Be 40s” show are from 1983, the year the club occupied the building. A shadowy photo by Osbert Lam captures a performance lit by lanterns and candlelight – the premises had not yet been wired for electricity.

One of Antonio Mak’s nude sketches on display. Photo: courtesy of Hong Kong Fringe Club

One of Antonio Mak’s nude sketches on display. Photo: courtesy of Hong Kong Fringe Club

The show also includes nude sketches by Antonio Mak which were used for some of the Fringe Club’s first publicity materials.

Other pieces reflect daily life in Hong Kong since the 1980s. Emily Law’s ink works depict mundane items such as takeaway food containers. Meanwhile, Peggy Chan’s Responsibility includes a yellow hard hat decorated with flowers and wildlife.

Other stand-out works are Coral by Agnes Pang, who crafts collages out of discarded materials such as colourful styrofoam packaging. A 2002 painting by Tsang Chui-mei depicts the Fringe Club in happier times, set against a bright blue sea and a golden pathway.

Agnes Pang crafted “Coral” out of recycled styrofoam packaging. Photo: courtesy of Agnes Pang/Hong Kong Fringe Club

Agnes Pang crafted “Coral” out of recycled styrofoam packaging. Photo: courtesy of Agnes Pang/Hong Kong Fringe Club

Shan Luk, one of the artists featured, said many of her friends had been going to the Fringe Club since they were teenagers. “There is so much history and so many connections here,” she said.

Luk’s contribution to “Be 40” is a porcelain broken heart, stitched back together with bronze rivets using an ancient Chinese technique for fixing ceramics. She created it after enduring medical procedures.

“I was told to use anti-scarring cream after my surgery, but I didn’t want to. I thought, ‘why should I hide my scars, my history’?”

“Be 40 Mixed-Media Exhibition”, Hong Kong Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Mon-Sat, 11am-7pm. Until June 30. Online exhibit at www.hkfringe40.com.

Stay connected with us on social media platform for instant update click here to join our  Twitter, & Facebook

We are now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TechiUpdate) and stay updated with the latest Technology headlines.

For all the latest Art-Culture News Click Here 

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Rapidtelecast.com is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.
Leave a comment