|In brilliant technicolour, it's Kyoung Tack Hong's Pens. Really.|
This afternoon I had just over two hours to check out the last day of Art Basel at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
|Roy Lichtenstein's artwork on a 1977 BMW 320i|
|Ron Arad's squashed Beetle...|
But we saw another one -- smashed up against the wall at Ben Brown Fine Arts. Called Pressed Flower White by Ron Arad, it seemed very sad to see the vehicle squshed flat, much like flower pressing... the vehicular equivalent...
A Korean artist who caught my attention was Kwang Young Chun with the work Aggregation 14 - AP018 (Dream 5). From a distance the colours are fantastic, warm and bright, undulating and combining. Up close, they're actually Korean mulberry paper that's been made into small bundles and some how woven together or placed together to create texture as well. It's mind-numbing looking at it for too long, mainly wondering how long it took the artist to put it all together!
|Detail of Wang Young Chun's intricate work|
However I was blown away by New Zealand photographer Brian Brake's pictures of China in 1957, which was supposedly cut off from the world. He was one of a few foreign photographers allowed into the country, partly because American photographers could not get China visas. As a result his photographs were in high demand.
|Variations of sardine tins by Fiona Hall|
There is a wonderful picture of Zhou Enlai visiting the Soviet Union and he crouches down and his smiling with his arms outstretched to a little child. We don't know how the child responded but we can tell this is Zhou's effort at soft power.
Other striking images are those of the Forbidden City during that time. It must have been in its original state and not at all what it is today, parts repainted and renovated but they claim it is restored... These are fantastic documents of what the palace looked like.
|Brian Brake's China in the 1950s|
There are also photos of Hong Kong, many taken in Aberdeen of the fishing boats and the fishermen and their families. You don't see that anymore!
Brake was a member of Magnum Photos and shot for magazines like Life, Look, Paris Match and Illustrated. While it's great to know his photos can be seen at Koru Contemporary Art in Aberdeen, the prints are so expensive ($11,000!). My favourite picture is from the Chinese National Museum looking onto Tiananmen Square with the sun's rays creating a brilliant light and dark shadows.
He also photographed Pablo Picasso and is known for his series called Monsoon in India.
Kids were also getting into art at the fair. There were some giant sails hoisted into the air, the canvas filled with blue waves by Chinese artist Xu Qu. And sitting on the floor were children drawing Conquer. Others were led by a guide holding onto a string and trying to identify things he asked them to find in certain galleries.
|The Ping-Pong Go-Round was a fun artistic distraction|
So after all that walking and looking at art, one would get tired, no? Or dead?!
There was a piece of art on the floor, featuring a statue of the artist himself lying face down on the floor! Titled The Death of Marat by He Xiangyu, it was quite hilarious watching people's reactions to it. They knelt down to examine the "body" and of course took the obligatory pictures. The shoes are a dead giveaway that the man is a mainlander!