Going up Hong Kong’s H Queen’s tower

What to see in the city’s newest gallery hub

By Nirmala Devi

View of H Queens tower, Hong Kong Mark Bradford, Rocket, 2018, mixed media on canvas, 183 × 244 cm. © the artist. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, Hong Kong Wolfgang Tillmans, sections, 2017. © the artist. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York, London & Hong Kong, Galerie Buchholz, Cologne, Berlin & New York, and Maureen Paley, London Yoshitomo Nara, studio view of sculpture in progress, 2018, ceramic. © the artist. Courtesy Pace Gallery, Hong Kong Dale Chihuly, Zinc Orange Macchia with Turquoise Lip Wrap, 2012, glass, 51 × 76 × 77 cm. Courtesy the artist and Whitestone Gallery, Hong Kong Ai Weiwei, Law of the Journey (Prototype A), 2016, reinforced PVC, 1640 x 580 x 350 cm. Courtesy the artist and Tang Contemporary, Hong Kong Arcangelo Sassolino, Untitled, 2018, concrete and steel, 154 × 140 × 22 cm. Courtesy the artist and Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong Xiao Xu, Beyond the Sky, 2017, ink on paper, 40 × 60 cm. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Ora-Ora, Hong Kong Christopher Wool, Riot, 1987, enamel on paper, 56 × 35 cm. © the artist. Courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York

Wolfgang Tillmans at David Zwirner, 26 March – 12 May

In Hong Kong, contemporary art is currently chewing its way through the H Queen’s building. David Zwirner became the latest gallery to open a space there (on the fifth and sixth floors) at the end of January and will open the debut show in the SAR by superstar photographer Wolfgang Tillmans (for more on that, see the features section of ArtReview Asia’s Spring issue) to coincide with Art Basel Hong Kong.

Mark Bradford, Rocket, from ARA Spring 2018 Previews Part I Hong Kong
Mark Bradford, Rocket, 2018, mixed media on canvas, 183 × 244 cm. © the artist. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, Hong Kong

Mark Bradford at Hauser & Wirth, 27 March – 12 May

Hauser & Wirth meanwhile will open their latest space (15th and 16th floors) with an exhibition of work by Los Angeles artist Mark Bradford on 26 March. Like Young, Bradford represented his nation at last year’s Venice Biennale and, in what was something of a monumental year for the American, unveiled Pickett’s Charge, a suitably monumental suite of paintings (collectively measuring more than 100 linear metres) that reinterpreted one of the defining moments of the American Civil War (the subject of an 1883 cyclorama by French painter Paul Philippoteaux, itself reinterpreted in Bradford’s work) in a work of cut, torn and scraped layers that reflects on the complexities of history, its interpretation and its impact upon the present sociopolitical climate in the US. Somewhere along the way he’s found the time to create new works for his Hong Kong debut.

Yoshitomo Nara, studio view, from ARA Spring 2018 Previews Part I Hong Kong
Yoshitomo Nara, studio view of sculpture in progress, 2018, ceramic. © the artist. Courtesy Pace Gallery, Hong Kong

Yoshitomo Nara at Pace Gallery, 26 March – 12 May

Taking things one step further (albeit five floors down) is Pace Gallery, for whom H Queen’s will be home to its second exhibition space in Hong Kong, opening with a solo show by Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara. Last year, at Pace New York, Nara’s exhibition Thinker marked a turn away from the Pop-inspired cutesy violence (wide-eyed children with knives) with which he made his name three decades ago to paintings, drawings and sculpture that meditated on process, colour and material. You’ll doubtless be on tenterhooks to see which Nara will turn up in Hong Kong.

Dale Chihuly, Zinc Orange
Dale Chihuly, Zinc Orange Macchia with Turquoise Lip Wrap, 2012, glass, 51 × 76 × 77 cm. Courtesy the artist and Whitestone Gallery, Hong Kong

Dale Chihuly at Whitestone Gallery, through 15 April

There will be no such surprises on H Queen’s seventh and eighth floors, where American monomedium glass sculptor Dale Chihuly will be exhibiting various series of works at Whitestone Gallery. Among them will be selections from Ikebana, which takes Japanese flower arranging as an inspiration, appropriate, perhaps, to a gallery that was founded in Tokyo. A moment of lightness, one assumes, for an artist who has recently been newsworthy as a result of his struggles with bipolarism and litigious former assistants.

Ai Weiwei, Law of the Journey (Prototype A), from ARA Spring 2018 Previews Part I Hong Kong
Ai Weiwei, Law of the Journey (Prototype A), 2016, reinforced PVC, 1640 x 580 x 350 cm. Courtesy the artist and Tang Contemporary, Hong Kong

Ai Weiwei at Tang Contemporary Art, 26 March – 30 April

Meanwhile, and not to be outdone by the competition, Tang Contemporary Art (founded in Bangkok, but an early H Queen’s adopter, where they’re comfortably housed on the tenth floor) will open a show of work titled Refutation by Chinese big gun and Lego menacer Ai Weiwei, advance details of which, as is often the case with this politically sensitive artist, are thin on the ground.

Xiao Xu, Beyond the Sky, from ARA Spring 2018 Previews Part I Hong Kong
Xiao Xu, Beyond the Sky, 2017, ink on paper, 40 × 60 cm. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Ora-Ora, Hong Kong

Xiao Xu at Galerie Ora-Ora, 26 March – 12 May
Arcangelo Sassolino at Pearl Lam, 27 March – 8 May

Heading upwards again, to the 17th floor, Galerie Ora-Ora’s second exhibition in their H Queen’s digs features work by Chinese painter Xiao Xu. Down one floor again and Pearl Lam presents work by Italian artist Arcangelo Sassolino, whose sculptures explore the physical limitations of materials in order to question, apparently, the destructive forces that lie behind humanity’s progress.

Christopher Wool, Riot, from ARA Spring 2018 Previews Part I Hong Kong
Christopher Wool, Riot, 1987, enamel on paper, 56 × 35 cm. © the artist. Courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York

Christopher Wool at Hill Art Foundation, 27 March – 8 April

By now you’ll be traumatised by all the running up and down the H Queen’s staircase, so why not relax in the atrium, where a selection of works (from the New York-based Hill Art Foundation) by preeminent American painter Christopher Wool are on show. Billionaire vice-chairman of the Blackstone Group (a private equity firm), J. Tomlinson Hill owns no less than 14 of the artist’s works, and in Hong Kong he’ll be sharing that slice of his life with you. Wool’s signature text paintings, such as an untitled work on paper from 1992 reading HOLE IN YOUR FUCKIN HEAD, may well describe what all the scampering and art-absorbing has done to you, but you can lose yourself in some of the master’s more abstract works, such as Maybe Maybe Not (2003), and perhaps achieve a moment of calm amidst the H Queen’s storm.

From the Spring 2018 issue of ArtReview Asia