On the occasion of our special issue on Art Basel Hong Kong and the art week, we asked artist Kingsley Ng to draw up a special artistic itinerary around Hong Kong.
Ng explores unusual urban settings as art sites. Recent projects include “Twenty-Five Minutes Older“, a commission by Art Basel last year which takes the audience on a moving tram, and “After the Deluge”, presented earlier this year in an underground storm-water tank the size of 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
In March 2018, he is exhibiting in an abandoned primary school in Chuen Lung Village at Tai Mo Shan, and directing an immersive installation for night-time experiential journeys in the former Victoria Barracks (hksecretgarden.com). Ng’s works have been featured in notable exhibitions and international venues. Examples include the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Rome Italy, Guangzhou Triennial in China, Land Art Biennial in Mongolia, Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial in Japan, and IRCAM – Centre Pompidou in France. He is currently Assistant Professor at the Academy of Visual Arts of Hong Kong Baptist University.
An Artist’s Itinerary by Kingsley Ng
“When planning a one-day art itinerary in Hong Kong, you should consider that there are many areas to explore: many commercial galleries are located in Central and Mid-Levels. But because of high rent, bigger loft spaces tend to be tucked in post-industrial areas such as in Kwun Tong, Fo Tan, Chai Wan and the Southern District.
Another unusual area to explore is under the Lion Rock in Kowloon. There are dozens of studios at JCCAC (Shek Kip Mei MTR), and other specialised artistic research facilities such as the City University’s School of Creative Media and HKBU Academy of Visual Arts (Kowloon Tong MTR). I suggest starting from the Asia Art Archive in Sheung Wan. The staff are very knowledgeable and can give good recommendations for what’s on in the city relating to the arts. If it’s already time for lunch, while you are in Sheung Wan, you can eat like a local at an air-conditioned Dai Pai Dong inside the Sheung Wan Cooked Food Centre, right above the wet market. Or there are many excellent Chiu Chow restaurants such as Shung Hing in the area. After lunch, you can take the MTR to the east side of the island, which used to be an entertainment district with cinemas, theme parks, swimming pavilions and a yacht club. Much of that has now faded away, but you can still discover some traces, such as the Oi! Street Art Space which was the former Royal Yacht Club, and is now converted into a centre of contemporary art. The State Theatre is like a labyrinth. It has recently received Grade I historic building status after public outcry over (now suspended) demolition. You may also peek into Connecting Spaces, where they will be rehearsing for a concert with Alvin Lucier & the Ever Present Orchestra, to be held on the evening of Mar 27. Next head to Para Site, the longest running independent art space in the city. Finally, make your way to ArtisTree, an art space run by Swire Properties.
While you are in Taikoo Place, you can have a drink on the 37th-floor Sky Lobby of One Island East, with the panoramic view of the city, then head to the Kowloon side by ferry. You may take a ferry from North Point to Kowloon City, and visit Cattle Depot Artist Village. Alternatively, you can take a small boat from Sai Wan Ho to Sam Ka Tsuen (Lei Yue Mun), which used to be a fishing and mining village. It is a great place to watch the sunset.
If you end up in Kowloon and want a quick escape from the urban jungle, you can have vegetarian dinner under a waterfall at the Tang Dynasty-style Nan Lian Garden (Diamond Hill MTR), or to So-Boring, an vegetarian restaurant where you can pay as much or as little, on Tak Cheong Lane (Yau Ma Tei MTR).
After dinner, if you have any energies left, you can pub crawl around Central, starting from the Duddell’s, all the way to Sense 99, or get a few dozen drinks from 7-11 and occupy the rooftop of the IFC Mall. Before you go back to your hotel, definitely take a latenight tram ride, sit on the upper deck. Allow yourself to get lost in the city”.