M+, at the West Kowloon Cultural District, is pleased to announce major additions to its collections, which encompass design and architecture, moving image, visual art, and Hong Kong visual culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The acquisitions comprise work by artists, designers, architects, and other makers, who have deep connections to specific cities and regions as well as broad international resonance, strengthening M+’s grounding in Hong Kong and refining its global perspective.

Some of the most notable Hong Kong artists and makers whose works entered the M+ Collections this past year include Gaylord Chan (Hong Kong, born 1925), Luke Ching Chin Wai (Hong Kong, born 1972), May Fung (Hong Kong, born 1952), and Wong Wo Bik (Hong Kong, born 1949), representing a wide range of mediums and practices, as well as multiple generations. Two paintings by Gaylord Chan dating from the 1980s and the 1990s exemplify this important artist’s allusive visual language. Adding to existing installation works by leading conceptual artist Luke Ching Chin Wai is Pokfulam Village (1999), a personal representation of this indigenous village Ching captured using his room as a camera obscura. Among the three works by pioneering moving image artist May Fung to enter the collections are her iconic She Said Why Me (1989) and A Letter to Mo (1995), documenting the lives of boatmen on the Yangtze River and representing her exploration of issues of history, culture, and gender. M+ added to the collections a significant group of experimental works by prominent Hong Kong photographer Wong Wo Bik, including those that examine gender, self, and staging dating from her studies in the United States in the 1970s, and works from the 1980s including her well-known series documenting dilapidated colonial-era interiors in Hong Kong. Of note are a group of instant prints that were originally commissioned for Color and Consent, published by Polaroid in Hong Kong in 1983.

The estate of Lui Shou-kwan (Hong Kong, born mainland China. 1919–1975) made a generous donation of his archive, to join over a dozen important paintings by the artist from the late 1950s through the early 1970s already in the M+ Collections. A trove of more than two hundred items that includes the artist’s sketchbooks, photo albums, news clippings, notebooks, letters and correspondence, exhibition catalogues, audio tapes, and painting instruments, the Lui Shou-kwan archive is the most important primary resource on Lui’s remarkable life as an artist, educator, and theorist and on the beginning chapter of post-war Hong Kong art. The archive, which will be accessible to the public in the future M+ building and online in 2020, will allow M+ to lead new research on the artist and the development of modernist ink art. The donation coincides with the centennial of the artist, a meaningful and thoughtful gesture by the artist’s family.

M+ made the significant acquisition of the Archigram Archive, the record of the globally influential experimental architecture group. Archigram (established United Kingdom. Active primarily 1961–1974) was a London-based group consisting of six architects: Warren Chalk, Peter Cook, Dennis Crompton, David Greene, Ron Herron, and Michael Webb. They produced forward-looking propositions that helped reframe how we think about architecture and cities, and their ideas have had a far-reaching impact and resonance around the world. The core of the archive consists of approximately twenty thousand items, including more than three thousand drawings, prints, sketches, models, videos, ephemera, and other materials, representing some two hundred projects from the 1960s and 1970s. The presence of the archive at M+ creates opportunities to explore Archigram’s interactions and resonance with Asia, from the Metabolists of 1960s Japan through to contemporary Chinese architects, and to define new frameworks for seeing Hong Kong. The acquisition clearly articulates M+’s commitment to the discussion on contemporary architecture, and more broadly, global visual culture.

Hong Kong collector Hallam Chow made a generous donation of two important artworks to the M+ Collections. Ink City (2005) is a breakthrough video work in the career of Chen Shaoxiong (Chinese, 1962–2016) and in the history of Chinese contemporary art. The video is composed of more than three hundred monochrome ink paintings, and the resulting work—the first ink animation—captures the changing landscapes and interpersonal dynamics of the rapidly developing urban environments in China at the beginning of the millennium. For Crystal City (2009–2016), Wu Chi-tsung (Taiwanese, born 1981) used clear, rectangular plastic packaging of different sizes to construct a miniature city and illuminated it with a moving light. The resulting cityscape of light and shadows is both a dazzling, romantic mirage and a pile of industrial waste, making the installation a sharp commentary on contemporary life.

Super Transcend (2008) by Yu Peng (Taiwanese, 1955–2014) entered the M+ Collections in 2018. The work is a dream-like figurative ink painting on a monumental hanging scroll, a summation of the artist’s extraordinary accomplishments in ink. It is the first donation to M+ by the long-time champion of Yu Peng and stalwart of Chinese contemporary art Johnson Tsong-zung Chang.

Embodying its commitment to a global outlook, M+ acquired major works by Siah Armajani (American, born Iran, 1939) that span two decades of the artist’s career. Dictionary of Numbers (1957) is one of Armajani’s earliest surviving ink-on-paper works, exemplifying his long-standing interest in the relationship between text and image. A Number between Zero and One (1969) consists of a nearly three-metre-tall metal frame encasing 25,974 printed pieces of A4 paper, representing twenty-eight hours of printing time. The work was an influential comment on the connection between domestic technologies, the language of computers, and art practice, and it cemented Armajani’s position on the international stage. These two historic works are included in the artist’s retrospective organised by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and are currently on view at the Met Breuer in New York.

Significant acquisitions strengthened M+’s engagement with architecture in South and Southeast Asia and sharpened its focus on cultural production in these regions. Sumet Jumsai (Thai, born 1939), a leading postmodern architect in Southeast Asia, made a generous donation of archival material related to six of his iconic projects—including Bangkok’s British Council Building (1969–1970), Bank of Asia Headquarters (also known as the Robot Building) (1983–1986), and Nation Building (1988–1991). M+ acquired thirty-three photographs by pioneering architectural photographer Madan Mahatta (Indian, 1932–2014) of major projects from the 1950s through the 1980s by important modernist architects including J. K. Chowdhury, Charles Correa, and Raj Rewal. Mahatta’s photographs testify to the architectural modernisation taking place in post-independence India, and this acquisition refines M+’s approach to transnational histories of modernism.

M+ acquired a body of work by the designer Ohashi Teruaki (Japanese, 1938–1992) dating from between 1966 and 1992 and consisting of nineteen pieces of furniture, a group of models, and archival material including design drawings and sketches. This acquisition constitutes a rediscovery of this influential postmodern designer, whose work has long been under-studied. Ohashi’s furniture designs comprise work produced in close collaboration with architects such as Ito Toyo and Hasegawa Itsuko at early stages of their careers. This acquisition adds a new breadth and depth to M+’s interest in Japanese postmodernism, when the boundaries between professions and disciplines were blurred and fluid.

In an internationally unprecedented move, M+ acquired the entire body of work, past and future, of the world-renowned digital art pioneer YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES (established South Korea, 1999). YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES: THE COMPLETE WORKS (YHCHANG.COM/AP2) contains all of the text-based animations produced by the Seoul-based internet artist duo and published to their enduringly popular website, www.yhchang.com. This acquisition also includes hundreds of gallery installations, lecture performances, drafts, and alternative and translated versions of artworks, some of which have never been published or exhibited. This extraordinary collection, which will be updated twice each year for as long as the artists continue to make new work and present projects internationally, will also be made available to future visitors to M+, on-site and on demand.

M+ established the M+ Council for New Art, the museum’s first group of supporters for acquisitions for the collections. The council consists of twelve prominent collectors from Hong Kong, mainland China, and Taiwan contributing to the museum collections’ representation of work by young and emerging artists, beginning with artists from the Greater China region. The work of the council builds on the M+ Sigg Collection, the world’s premier holding of Chinese contemporary art from the late 1970s to the early 2010s.

The newly launched M+ Collections Beta (collections.mplus.org.hk) allows our audiences to explore over four thousand objects from the M+ Collections online. Visitors to the site can explore a growing selection of the collections by viewing highlights, searching by maker, object type, and even colour. This ever-evolving online platform builds upon M+’s open access approach, which began with the release of the first M+ open data set in August 2018. M+ continues to work towards making the entirety of the M+ Collections available online by the opening of the M+ building, and the Collections Beta is a major step on that journey.

M+ is also launching the online exhibition ‘Mapping Chinese Art, 1972–2012: Selections from the M+ Sigg Collection’. The exhibition features a selection of 271 works of Chinese contemporary art that can be explored chronologically, set in context with active artist groups, movements, and major art and political events. The exhibition is one of the first creative projects to be powered by the new M+ API (application programming interface), a key part of the museum’s creative technology infrastructure.

Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+, emphasises the importance of the recent acquisitions: ‘As we enter the final phase of preparation for the opening of the M+ building, it is more important than ever for the M+ Collections to express our ambitions and intentions. These acquisitions are a clear articulation of our firm grounding in Hong Kong, and our engagement with the world. With the addition of these major works, we are defining a distinctive voice for M+ in the global conversation on visual culture. The strength of the M+ Collections would not be possible without the generosity of private patrons, collectors, and artists, and I extend my deep thanks to all who support the M+ project through donations.’

Doryun Chong, Deputy Director, Curatorial, and Chief Curator, M+, underscores the transnational focus of the acquisitions: ‘These acquisitions illustrate an interweaving of local and global practices, and how contemporary work embraces multiple contexts. The growth of the M+ Collections across disciplines and regions provides opportunities for us to establish new relationships, produce new research, and tell new stories for visual culture in Hong Kong, Asia, and beyond.’

Remarks

About Archigram

Archigram (established United Kingdom. Active primarily 1961–1974) was an experimental architecture collective based in London, comprised of six members: Warren Chalk (1927–1987), Peter Cook (born 1936), Dennis Crompton (born 1935), David Greene (born 1937), Ron Herron (1930–2011), and Michael Webb (born 1937). Through their publications, exhibitions, multimedia presentations, and drawings, the group embraced technology, popular culture, consumerism, and mass media, envisioning a future of roving metropolises, self-contained living units, and pop-up cities. While Archigram was active and also subsequently, their work contributed to a global conversation on architecture, both drawing from and informing the architectural movements of the second half of the twentieth century.

About Siah Armajani

Siah Armajani (American, born Iran, 1939) is one of the most distinctive voices in international contemporary art. His practice encompasses installations, public art, sculptures, and works on paper. He moved to the United States in 1960 to attend Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he studied philosophy. Based in Minnesota ever since, he is known for his designs for bridges and public spaces, including the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge in Minneapolis (1988); the Waterfront Plaza (in collaboration with Scott Burton and César Pelli) in Battery Park City, New York (1989); and gardens at the Villa Arson, Nice (1994). His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (1985); Kunsthalle Basel (1987); the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (1999); the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva (2007); and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2018).

About Gaylord Chan

The work of Gaylord Chan (Hong Kong, born 1925) occupies a prominent, unique place in the history of art in Hong Kong. Shunning any relation or reference to traditional artistic languages, Chan creates bold, colourful abstract works built up of formal elements. He studied art at the Extramural Studies Centre of the University of Hong Kong in 1968 and became a prominent member of Hong Kong contemporary art circles, co-founding the Hong Kong Visual Arts Society in 1974. He was awarded a Bronze Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong SAR Government in 2013.

About Chen Shaoxiong

The pioneering artist Chen Shaoxiong (Chinese, 1962–2016) developed an interdisciplinary practice that was both collaborative and independent, focusing on urban and social dynamics in contemporary China. He graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 1984 and co-founded the influential artist collective the Big-Tail Elephant Group in Guangzhou in 1990. In 2007, with artists Ozawa Tsuyoshi and Gimhongsok, Chen co-founded the group Xijing Men, based in China, Japan, and South Korea. Solo exhibitions of his work were held at Para Site, Hong Kong (2008); the Seattle Art Museum (2014); and the Power Station of Art, Shanghai (2016).

About Luke Ching Chin Wai

Luke Ching Chin Wai (born Hong Kong, 1972) takes a conceptual approach to political issues, cultural change, and urban transformation in Hong Kong. He studied art at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and in 1998 he began a series of largely monochromatic photographs, taken by transforming an entire room into a pinhole camera. Many of the works were made in historic locations in Hong Kong, reflecting his interest in documenting the cityscape. His work has been exhibited extensively both in Hong Kong and internationally, including at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester (2007); the Hong Kong Museum of Art (2009); the Gwangju Biennale (2018); and Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong (2018). A solo exhibition of his work was held at Gallery EXIT, Hong Kong, in 2016.

About May Fung

May Fung (Hong Kong, born 1952) is one of the most important moving image artists working in Hong Kong today. She has been an influential voice in experimental practice in the city for over three decades, with a body of work that is interwoven with history and politics. In 1985, with Ellen Pau, Wong Chi-fai, and Comyn Mo, Fung co-founded Videotage, a Hong Kong collective that supports experimental video and new media work. Her moving image practice encompasses theatre and installations, reflecting the influence of her long-standing relationship with Hong Kong experimental theatre company Zuni Icosahedron. In addition to her art practice, she is active as an art educator.

About Sumet Jumsai

Throughout his career, the architect Sumet Jumsai (Thai, born 1939) has developed a sophisticated commentary on modernism as well as an energetic strand of postmodernism that avoids historicist pastiche. For him, architecture is both a rigorous approach to building and a way to explore and participate in regional and global discourses. The spatial and formal solutions he developed in projects for Bangkok—including the Bank of Asia Headquarters (also known as the Robot Building) (1983–1986) and the British Council Building (1969–1970)—draw out contradictions in a single idea or culture while also creating dialogue. He studied architecture at the University of Cambridge, establishing his own practice in Bangkok in the late 1960s.

About Lui Shou-kwan

Lui Shou-kwan (Hong Kong, born mainland China. 1919–1975) was a central figure in the definition of a local cultural identity for Hong Kong ink practices and is considered the founder of Hong Kong’s New Ink Movement. He had a deep knowledge of classical Chinese painting styles and theory, as well as a unique understanding of Western modernism and abstraction that he absorbed in the colonial context of Hong Kong. Lui was committed to tradition and skilled in a range of ink techniques, but his practice was driven by an experimental approach. His many students spread his influence in local painting circles, and his brand of abstraction left an indelible mark on modern art in Hong Kong.

About Madan Mahatta

The prolific photographer Madan Mahatta (Indian, 1932–2014) is best known for his documentation of the work of influential modernist architects in postcolonial India. He photographed projects by architects including J. K. Chowdhury, Charles Correa, Achyut Kanvinde, Habib Rahman, and Raj Rewal, as well American expatriate architects Joseph Allen Stein and Edward Durrell Stone. His photographs were highly influential in shaping the reading of these projects, in India and beyond. Mahatta studied photography at the Guildford School of Art in Britain, returning to Delhi in 1954—an extremely productive time for architecture in the newly independent India. His architectural photography captures a pivotal moment in the construction of the nation, as well as an important chapter of the global history of modern architecture.

About Ohashi Teruaki

Ohashi Teruaki (Japanese, 1938–1992) was a significant figure in Japanese postmodern design, and his career embodied the conversations and collaborations taking place across the disciplines of design, architecture, and art from the mid-1960s through the 1980s. Trained as an architect, he created furniture for the interiors of houses designed by influential architects Shinohara Kazuo and Sakamoto Kazunari in his early career, in a spare, functional approach influenced by both traditional Japanese cabinetry and Shaker furniture from the United States. Ohashi departed from this meticulous, restrained language in the mid-1980s, producing brash, exuberant designs that function as autonomous pieces rather than as elements conceived expressly for a specific interior. Ohashi’s designs defined a strong voice and a unique presence in the landscape of postmodernism in Japan.

About Wong Wo Bik

Wong Wo Bik (Hong Kong, born 1949) is best known for her photography of architectural landmarks documenting Hong Kong’s transition from a colonial to a post-colonial city. Her work often takes a personal approach and observes seemingly uninhabited spaces—such as decaying buildings that may be demolished—creating a portrait of a city undergoing transition. Since the 1980s, she has worked with instant photographic materials and processes. In addition to her art practice, Wong is active as a curator and educator. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at the Hong Kong Arts Centre (1981); the Fringe Club, Hong Kong (2009); and Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong (2014).

About Wu Chi-Tsung

Wu Chi-Tsung (Taiwanese, born 1981) is one of the most acclaimed young artists from Taiwan working today. Since 2003, he has developed a body of work that explores the notion of time and the nature of perception, comprising photography, video, installations, and painting. He studied at the Taipei National University of the Arts, and is currently based in Taipei and Berlin. He has received numerous domestic and international awards for his innovative use of new media. He was an artist in residence at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, in 2017, and at MoT+++, Ho Chi Minh City, in 2018.

About YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES

YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES (established South Korea, 1999) consists of South Korean artist Young-Hae Chang and American artist Marc Voge. Based in Seoul, the two have worked collaboratively and online for twenty years, and were among the first to use the internet as a platform for artistic experimentation. Exploring the dynamics of media, technology, and power in our globalised world, their trenchant and witty work takes the form of deceptively simple computer animations that use bold, frenetic texts synchronised with music composed by the artists. These genre-busting artworks combine moving image art, music, poetry, graphic design, and web design to explore contemporary life from the particular position of South Korea, as well as from a globally fluid and informed viewpoint. With work created in twenty-six languages, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES has exhibited at most major international contemporary art museums over the past two decades. Their website regularly attracts thousands of visits per month, from audiences in more than one hundred countries.

About Yu Peng

Yu Peng (Taiwanese, 1955–2014) was one of the most important ink artists working at the turn of the millennium, and his career captured audiences in Hong Kong, mainland China, and North America, far beyond his native Taiwan. Yu never received formal training, instead developing a radical, independent practice informed by his experiences, travels, and observations of urban life. From his position as an outsider, he challenged the conservatism of the art world in Taiwan as well as the conventions of classical ink painting. His first significant solo exhibition, held at Hanart Gallery in Taipei and Hong Kong in 1989, brought him recognition from an international public and from major collecting institutions.

About M+

M+ is a museum dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting visual art, design and architecture, moving image, and Hong Kong visual culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, we are building one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world, with a bold ambition to establish ourselves as one of the world’s leading cultural institutions. Our aim is to create a new kind of museum that reflects our unique time and place, a museum that builds on Hong Kong’s historic balance of the local and the international to define a distinctive and innovative voice for Asia’s twenty-first century.

About the West Kowloon Cultural District

The West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest and most ambitious cultural projects in the world. Its vision is to create a vibrant new cultural quarter for Hong Kong on forty hectares of reclaimed land located alongside Victoria Harbour. With a varied mix of theatres, performance spaces, and museums, the West Kowloon Cultural District will produce and host world-class exhibitions, performances, and cultural events, providing twenty-three hectares of public open space, including a two-kilometre waterfront promenade.