Art

Album reviews, art house films and the latest exhibitions
  1. As much of the world locks down in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are experiencing the boredom and uncertainty that was the province of mainland China during the initial outbreak, a period now popularly dubbed “zui chang de guonian”, or the longest spring festival.For those quarantined in their flats, it was a time when bad news, local and national, had to be digested over long days living in the shadow of this terrifying new disease. Some found light relief playing dinner-table…
  2. A spectre is haunting cinemas around the world. Looming over theatre owners is not only the coronavirus pandemic but something unleashed with it – that wild and uncontrol­lable beast called streaming. Its popularity has surged as cinephiles and casual cinema-goers alike, subject to state-sanctioned lockdowns, find themselves resorting to watching films at home.The debate about the merits and pitfalls of making content available online has been raging for years among film industry executives and…
  3. Netflix series Kingdom (season two now streaming) is a fable for our afflicted times. It features the fastest-sprinting extras on any screen anywhere; they tear around the pristine 17th century Korean countryside, armed with nothing but their teeth and a fearsome catalogue of primal screams, chomping chunks out of the terrified living. Yes, the zombies are on the loose (again), spreading contagion by feasting on flesh, dashing hither and thither in highly athletic armies of the undead. The…
  4. The coronavirus outbreak has given the art world little to smile about. Central gallery Over the Influence hopes to bring some colour back into our lives with its latest exhibition, “Rise and Shine”, a collection of works by United States-based contem­porary artists, which runs until May 9.“We chose the title as a response to the current situation in Hong Kong – and the world,” says gallery director Julliana Choi, who wanted to share a positive message. “The works are brightly coloured and…
  5. It’s a numbers game. Everybody knows the true value of a person can be gauged by the number of social media followers they have: no followers, nobody. Such a reality can be particularly harsh in a place like Tokyo, which is powered by mobile phones. Those in the Japanese capital’s modelling and entertainment industries, needing acolytes more than most, suffer greatly from a lack of friends. So when you are a bit-part actress and stand-in model keeping the studio warm for the stars, and your…
  6. Just as Hongkongers were starting to poke their heads out, a second wave of Covid-19 infections boom­eranging back from Europe, North America and elsewhere in Asia has sent many people back into their carefully disinfected homes. Many locally owned galleries have stayed open throughout this period and, two months after the first local confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, dozens of people were once again starting to show up for events. One visitor at Hong Kong artist Chow Chun-fai’s well…
  7. Set in a parallel near future, science-fiction classic The Matrix (1999), by sibling directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski, stars Keanu Reeves as a man on a mission to free the human race from a computer simulation that uses humanity as an energy source for machines that control the world. Steve Zhao, chief executive of Hong Kong-based Sandbox VR, which provides immersive group virtual-reality-gaming experiences, explains how it changed his life. When I first saw The Matrix, I was in high school…
  8. With the coronavirus closing restaurants, eating out has become a vicarious pleasure. But at least we have American-Korean chef David Chang to step into the breach. Series two of Chang’s documentary Ugly Delicious, now showing in four Netflix instalments, remains true to its original inquisitiveness about food and its origins while benefiting from an increased travel budget (Tokyo-Mumbai-Sydney-Los Angeles). Guests Padma Lakshmi, Nick Kroll and Aziz Ansari are among those doling out dollops of…
  9. Who doesn’t like to visit the Louvre, the British Museum and the Met in New York, at least when they have not been closed to combat the spread of the coronavirus? But let’s face it, a lot of Western museums are salt in the wounds of nations and peoples who suffered long spells of oppression under European and United States political and economic domination.Pieces such as the Amaravati marbles, in the British Museum, just a floor above their more famous Greek counterparts, and a trove of looted…
  10. Of riches and rags: My father was born into a rich family in Hong Kong. He had 21 brothers and sisters – he was the 19th child. His father’s first wife had two girls, but since his father didn’t like daughters, he took a second wife, who gave birth to 20 children.My grandfather owned several buildings and was able to collect a lot of rent, but he was an opium smoker and had 22 children, so by the time my father came along he didn’t have much money. Although his elder brothers were sent overseas…