Across the harbor from the expo center that houses Art Basel Hong Kong, a new cultural hub is in the works: Victoria Dockside, a 3-million-square-foot behemoth of a luxury development that is outfitted with offices, retail spaces, and art and design venues. Spearheading the project is businessman and collector Adrian Cheng, the creator of the K11 brand, which has been building shopping malls-cum-art centers throughout China.
Cheng’s grandest museum-retail complex yet, K11 Musea, is scheduled to open within Victoria Dockside in the fall, and his K11 Art Foundation is currently inaugurating the district with a group show called “Glow Like That” that’s been curated by the foundation’s artistic director, Venus Lau, on the 21st floor of K11 Atelier, the area’s business tower.
“Glow Like That” presents the work of 16 artists experimenting with how light interacts with various materials. Cast onto the dangling strings of glass beads of Raúl de Nieves’s shamanic costumes, it sparkles brilliantly; filtered through Lantian Xie’s Salvator Mundi (2018), a replica of the eponymous Leonardo painting that’s been mounted onto a window, it signifies a kind of holiness.
The space high up in the skyscraper proved to be an ideal venue to talk about light. Surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass and temporarily clad in reflective metal sheeting, it is flooded with it.
Including a wide array of media, the show illustrates how the perception—and use—of light varies by cultural context. Chen Wei’s Trouble #17033 (2017) borrowed the LED boxes of Hong Kong storefront signage; facing his pieces away from viewers, they light the reflective floors and walls with flashing colors. Meanwhile, Los Angeles Light and Space veterans De Wain Valentine and Larry Bell offered sculptures concerned with natural light. Bell’s material of choice is laminated glass, arranged upright in a freestanding quartet called The Tall Star (2019), Valentine’s is cobalt blue cast polyester resin. The latter’s 1975/2015 Column Blue is a prism that bends white light into rainbows and warps the towers of the city’s skyline. Also on hand from Los Angeles is Kelly Akashi, whose glass sculptures coated in dichroic film reflect light as an iridescent sheen.
While its subject is light, “Glow Like That” might be best viewed at night, not only to better experience Chen Zhou’s Blue Hole, a 2017 film based on the hopes and dreams of young girls as expressed on WeChat whose projection is a bit faint during the day, but also to see the glow of the crowded city, with scrolling signs flashing and water shimmering.
“Glow Like That” is on view through May 13.