Wearing top from Junya Watanabe, pants from numb, sneakers from SWEAR.
Amidst the hazy weather that has bestowed itself upon Hong Kong, a similar cloud of excitement hangs in the air around the peripheral area of Hong Kong island. In other words, ‘tis the week of champagne, parties and a steady flow of art related happenings around the upper echelon of society. You will no doubt chance upon a few memorable characters making up the buzzy atmosphere that is #artweek: the event hopper, a species that has no difficulty illustrating their attendance at one of the many vernissages happening this week, the champagne hoarders, who share yet another photo of their umpteenth flute on Instagram, or the peacock, the type that sees equal amounts of attention in the urban jungle during fashion week. Having said that, I am certainly guilty of fulfilling one or two of the stereotypes every now and then.
What’s worth mentioning is that with art being such a hype driven commodity, its aspirational value is multiplied ten fold with the proliferation of social media. Never mind the fact that you’re at a loss for words staring at a blank canvas (because of its infinite meanings and NOT the price obviously), or the fact that some works seem to only carry shock value or a photographic moment for social media – what this all creates is a desire to sensationalize art the same way fashion is experiencing a ‘see now, buy now’ phenomenon. It is ephemeral, packed with energy, but very much short-lived. When people ask me whether I’m a fan of Art Week, I usually reply with mixed feelings because context here is everything and subtext is merely an afterthought. Who needs to understand the mathematical order behind Sol LeWitt's sculptures when all you really need is a photo of you standing inside the cubes and a black and white filter?
It’s not all bad of course, even my friends who aren’t particularly moved by contemporary art get excited for a week like this. Any interest is better than a flagrant disregard for the arts I’d say. If anything, it gives me an excuse to wear my Yayoi Kusama costume out for a spin.
Photos taken by Bryant Lee.