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RTHK' s The Works focuses on Hong Kong's arts and cultural scene. The Works features news and reviews of visual and performing arts, design, literary and other “ works ” .

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    監製:Diana Wan


    RTHK' s The Works focuses on Hong Kong's arts and cultural scene.

    The Works features news and reviews of visual and performing arts, design, literary and other “ works ” .

    Added illumination comes from interviews with leading performers and producers, interspersed with updates on events affecting the development of the territory 's artistic and cultural life. There's also in – most weeks – a live studio performance.

    The Works is aired on TVB Pearl every Tuesday at HKT 1900 -1930 and on RTHK 31 & 31A every Wednesday at 00:00-00:30 and a repeat at 17:30-18:00.

    Archive available later after broadcast. ** Please note that the programme air-time on TV is different with webcast time.



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    21/06/2017

    Egyptian mummies from British Museum & in the studio: handpan & shakuhachi

    From Boris Karloff as the ancient Egyptian prince Imhotep, to Hammer’s Christopher Lee, to the more recent CGI blockbuster starring Tom Cruise, Egyptian mummies have certainly long fascinated filmmakers. And it’s not just the movies. The popularity of the British Museum’s Ancient Egypt collection shows that many of us are fascinated by the ancient civilization’s approach to death and the afterlife. Around 150 Egyptian antiquities were among the 71,000 objects collected by Sir Hans Sloane that the museum was set up in 1753 to preserve. From those humble beginnings the antiquities collection has become the largest outside Egypt itself, popular not only for what it tells us about the ancient Egyptian way of death, but also what it tells us about their way of life.

    It’s quite likely that, apart from the voice, man’s earliest experience of music was banging one object against another and seeing what noise it made. Discovering that other objects made interesting noises when you blew into them probably came not much long after. Primitive bone flutes at least 35,000 years old have been found. From those beginnings have evolved a whole range of sophisticated percussion and wind instruments, including the Japanese shakuhachi and the more recently developed handpan, an evolution of Caribbean steelpan instruments. Joining us in the studio with Billy from our sister programme 藝坊星期天 are Seeman Ho and Jasper Ng to talk to us about their attempt to merge the music of those instruments with the music of language.

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    CATCHUP
    04 - 06
    2017
    RTHK 31
    • Egyptian mummies from British Museum & in the studio: handpan & shakuhachi

      Egyptian mummies from British Museum & in the studio: handpan & shakuhachi

      From Boris Karloff as the ancient Egyptian prince Imhotep, to Hammer’s Christopher Lee, to the more recent CGI blockbuster starring Tom Cruise, Egyptian mummies have certainly long fascinated filmmakers. And it’s not just the movies. The popularity of the British Museum’s Ancient Egypt collection shows that many of us are fascinated by the ancient civilization’s approach to death and the afterlife. Around 150 Egyptian antiquities were among the 71,000 objects collected by Sir Hans Sloane that the museum was set up in 1753 to preserve. From those humble beginnings the antiquities collection has become the largest outside Egypt itself, popular not only for what it tells us about the ancient Egyptian way of death, but also what it tells us about their way of life.

      It’s quite likely that, apart from the voice, man’s earliest experience of music was banging one object against another and seeing what noise it made. Discovering that other objects made interesting noises when you blew into them probably came not much long after. Primitive bone flutes at least 35,000 years old have been found. From those beginnings have evolved a whole range of sophisticated percussion and wind instruments, including the Japanese shakuhachi and the more recently developed handpan, an evolution of Caribbean steelpan instruments. Joining us in the studio with Billy from our sister programme 藝坊星期天 are Seeman Ho and Jasper Ng to talk to us about their attempt to merge the music of those instruments with the music of language.

      21/06/2017
    • Writer and photographer, Marc Progin, CUHK Grad Show & in the studio: Van Kuijk Quartet

      Writer and photographer, Marc Progin, CUHK Grad Show & in the studio: Van Kuijk Quartet

      We travel to the “Land of Blue Skies”, Mongolia. In the 13th century Mongolia was, under Genghis Khan, the centre of the world’s largest land empire. More recently, it was for a while ruled by Qing Dynasty China, became a Russian satellite with a Communist government, but is now an independent state. Much of the country’s 600,000 square miles is covered by grassy steppe, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south. It’s one of the world’s last relatively unspoilt places, but with many eyes on its untapped mineral resources that could soon change. Currently though, out of its population of 2.8 million, around 40% of its people still lead a traditional nomadic life.
      It’s a lifestyle and a landscape that holds immense appeal to Hong Kong-based writer and photographer Marc Progin.

      "Nothing gonna change my love for you" well, no, we don’t have George Benson, the original singer of that song in the studio with us tonight. It is though the title of the graduation show of works by 38 Bachelor of Arts students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Department of Fine Arts. Both that and the Chinese title《現代說永遠已經很傻》, also based on a pop song, which means roughly “These days, it’s presumptuous to say forever” refer to the difficulty of holding on to certainties in the face of constant change. That’s the central idea of the exhibition at the university’s art museum until 23rd June.

      Beethoven was 56 when he wrote his 16th String Quartet, one of the four, often sombre, Late Quartets that are considered to mark the pinnacle of his artistry. It was the last major work he completed. Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19 in C Major, often called the "Dissonance" quartet, was written when he was in his twenties and is one of six dedicated to friend and colleague Joseph Haydn. It’s one of his most popular quartets. Last week in Hong Kong, those pieces bookended a concert, which also included Four Melodies by Poulenc, by the young Van Kuijk Quartet. Founded just five years ago, the quartet is already much praised, has since won the 2015 Wigmore Hall String Quartet Competition in London, is currently HSBC Laureate of the Académie du Festival d’Aix, and was selected to be one of BBC Radio Three’s New Generation Artists.
      Last week, before their Hong Kong show, they came to our studio.

      14/06/2017
    • Ink artist Choi Hoi-ying, HKBUAVA Grad Show & pianist Maxime Zecchini

      Ink artist Choi Hoi-ying, HKBUAVA Grad Show & pianist Maxime Zecchini

      Ink has a long history in Chinese traditional painting. It is used in calligraphy, and landscape and literati painting. Local ink artist Choi Hoi-ying merges calligraphy and Chinese traditions with paper wrapping, carving, collage and relief to create unique ink art installations. For an exhibition last month at Hong Kong Baptist University’s Communication and Visual Arts Building, Choi worked with a group of students to explore new ways of merging Chinese and Western art forms.

      The Hong Kong Baptist University’s Academy of Visual Arts is one of five publicly funded universities that offers art or creativity-related programmes. As in other such institutions, at the end of every academic year its students get the chance to show the best of their work in their graduation show. This year, the academy is presenting the works of a hundred artists, both current and former graduates, as well as a series of other events on its Kai Tak campus.

      There’s a legend that the American jazz pianist Art Tatum, who learned to play the piano by ear, developed the ability to play as if he were two people because he had accidentally been learning from piano roll pieces by two pianists. It’s a story that Tatum himself later denied, but it does bear witness to his amazing dexterity.
      Similar dexterity is shown by our studio guest today, but in a different way. French pianist Maxime Zecchini is best known for his “left hand reportoire”, using five fingers to make sounds that one would usually expect to hear from ten. The first French pianist to receive a degree from the prestigious “Incontri col Maestro” or International Piano Academy in Imola, he has also orchestrated music for television, and directed musicals. He’s here in Hong Kong for a one-night concert.

      07/06/2017
    • Paris & HK from two different perspectives & piainist Chiyan Wong

      Paris & HK from two different perspectives & piainist Chiyan Wong

      When it comes to daily commute, Ben Pelletier tends to bomb around town on his motorbike to get to work. And If Ben Tse has the chance, walking is his first choice. But many Hongkongers, maybe living further from their workplaces, have to drive or take a bus. However we travel around the city, few of us take the time - or can take the risk - to really look around us. Two exhibitions organised as part of Le French May are encouraging us to use our eyes a bit more and look at two very different cities from different perspectives. One looks, as its title suggests, at “Hong Kong Upside Down”. The other views Paris from above specifically focusing on the city’s rooftops, a cultural heritage that not only inspired writers and poets like Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, and Charles Baudelaire, but also painters such as Monet, Pissarro, and Van Gogh.

      In his less advanced years, Franz Liszt was pretty much the world’s first pop star. Over-excited female fans would grab at him, tear at his clothes, and fight over his broken piano strings and locks of his hair. Such enthusiasm was dubbed by the German Poet Heinrich Heine, "Lisztomania."Today we remember Liszt, a little more sedately, mostly for his piano works. As he liked to show off his own virtuosity on the instrument, Liszt’s works are often technically difficult to perform. He also wrote for orchestra and ensembles. For the piano his pieces are often divided into two categories. One consists of entirely original works. The other of adaptations, known as “transcriptions”, “paraphrases” or “fantasies”, of works by other composers. Hong Kong-born Chiyan Wong has spent years studying Liszt’s transcriptions. His debut CD is all about that process. He’s with us now.

      31/05/2017
    • The art of bookplates, photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue & Trumpet player Stephane Belmondo

      The art of bookplates, photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue & Trumpet player Stephane Belmondo

      With the digital age, reading habits have changed. Some fear that the internet, social media and e-books might have made crafts like book-making and printing redundant. But there is still plenty of art in books that the digital age can’t render passé, from the content itself to typography, to layout, to illustration, and even that artefact much loved of book collectors for centuries: the bookplate or ex libris.

      By any standard, Jacques Henri Lartigue is a giant of photography. Despite beginning his career at a time when cameras were cumbersome and taking a photograph was often a slow and formal business, Lartigue loved “l'instantané”, the snapshot. It may have been Henri Cartier-Bresson who said, “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment,” but decades before he said it, Lartique was already capturing such moments. Lartigue, who was also a painter, was given his first large plate camera when he was seven. Starting from photographing friends and family, he went on to experiment with stereo or 3D photography, the early colour technique of autochrome, and a variety of formats and media including glass plates. In his hands, snapshots became works of art. On show at the F11 Photographic Museum as part of Le French May, “Return to Beauty – Jacques Henri Lartigue and His World” contains over 130 photographs of France, both during and after the Belle Epoque.

      One day, when trumpet player Stéphane Belmondo was 18 and playing in a Parisian restaurant, the doorman came to him and said: "There is a gentleman who wants to enter, but he looks like a tramp.” That “tramp” was American jazz musician Chet Baker, who, next day, invited him on stage at the club in which he was performing and introduced him as the most promising European trumpet player. Although Baker, by this time heavily addicted to drugs, could be mercurial and unreliable, Stéphane says he acted almost like a father to him, and they became friends until Baker’s death a few years later. Stéphane’s here in our studio right now to talk about the tribute.

      24/05/2017
    • Hidden Agenda raid & pianist Remi Geniet

      Hidden Agenda raid & pianist Remi Geniet

      Performance venues for live music are in somewhat short supply in Hong Kong. Music lovers were hoping for a new one in the West Kowloon Cultural District, but that idea has been scotched. Most of the venues we have are known to be limited, hard to book and old. Most were built three or more decades ago and tend to be booked by big art or event organisations for very mainstream entertainment. In 2010, under Carrie Lam, the Development Bureau implemented the revitalisation of factory buildings scheme to allow owners of factory units more leeway in letting their space. Artists and musicians thought that here might be some solution to the problems of high rents and inadequate space, maybe even a location for performance. It hasn’t quite worked out like that.

      In 2011, the French pianist Rémi Geniet, taking third prize, became the youngest ever prize-winner of the Bonn International Beethoven Competition. Just two years later, at 20, he took second prize in the Queen Elisabeth 2013 International Piano Competition. And the awards and accolades don’t stop there. Still in his early twenties, Rémi has already been invited to perform with many international orchestras, not long ago completed a tour of the United States, including a recital at Carnegie Hall, and – in 2015 – released a much praised debut CD of Bach compositions. This week he’s in Hong Kong to perform, with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, one of the world’s best loved piano concertos. There are few, if any, Romantic piano concertos better known to the general public or more loved than Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. Not so well known is the fact that it would likely never have been finished if not for the hypnotist who helped Rachmaninov overcome a crisis of confidence and continue writing it, and to whom the concerto is dedicated: Nikolai Dahl.

      17/05/2017
    • Louvre in HK, artist Luc Tuymans & 480.0 Gender Art Space

      Louvre in HK, artist Luc Tuymans & 480.0 Gender Art Space

      The choice in the French presidential elections was not an easy one for many: Emmanuel Macron, widely seen as a friend to big banking and globalisation, or the anti-immigrant and isolationist rhetoric of Marine Le Pen. Despite a low turnout, Macron, the candidate seen by many as the lesser of two evils, won. France now has – at 39 - its youngest president. The large margin of Macron’s win suggests many will be celebrating. Here in Hong Kong we’re currently seeing a celebration of another kind with our annual fix of French art and culture, Le French May. This year there are more than 100 programmes, from an opera about the birth of the Sun King, classical music, jazz, ballet, modern dance, and exhibitions, to French movies and food. This week, we’re looking at one of the festival highlights: an exhibition showcasing the more than eight century history of the world’s largest museum, the Louvre … from fortress, to palace, to its present day role.

      If Andy Warhol creates a silkscreen print showing a can of soup, who is the creator? Andy Warhol or the designer of the soup can? When hip hop artists and EDM, or electronic dance music, performers sample original tracks, where does artistic appropriation end and plagiarism begin? It’s an on-going debate in art and entertainment, particularly as art increasingly draws on earlier images and creations. Belgian artist Luc Tuymans discovered this to his cost in a 2015 court case when he was accused of plagiarism. Widely considered one of the most influential painters currently working, he says that for him, living and working in Antwerp, the Flemish tradition is something from which he cannot escape, and that after the 15th century painter Jan van Eyck, all is dilettantism. He was recently in Hong Kong for Art Basel. We spoke to him while he was here.

      In Cantonese,“480.0” is a homonym for “where does sexual violence come from?” It’s also the name of a newly setup art space in Yau Ma Tei that focuses on gender and sexual violence. Set up by the Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women and working with non-profit organisation, Women Helping Women Hong Kong, the inauguration exhibition “Bystander” features works by local artists and survivors of sexual violence.

      10/05/2017
    • Performance artist Hsieh Teching, King of Kowloon & in the studio: pianist Gabriela Montero

      Performance artist Hsieh Teching, King of Kowloon & in the studio: pianist Gabriela Montero

      For Taiwanese artist Hsieh Teching, who has been called a “master” of performance art by fellow artist, Marina Abramovic, there is little, if any, separation, between art and life. His extended performance pieces have seen him live in a cage for a year, punch a time clock for months on end, live without shelter, tie himself to another artist for a year, and even make art out of avoiding art entirely. After a 13-year plan, under which he vowed to make art but not show it to anyone, Hsieh now says he has given up creating art completely. He still exhibits worldwide, and is even representing Taiwan in this year’s Venice Biennale. Hsieh was in Hong Kong last month.

      Street art and graffiti tend to be ephemeral. Given the varying quality of some examples, that’s not entirely a bad thing, but even highly collected and respected street artists like Banksy have had many well-known works removed, painted over, or defaced. Things are certainly no better in Hong Kong, as fans of the work of the late Tsang Tsou-choi, the "King of Kowloon, know only too well. His work has even been shown in the Venice Biennale. In 2009 the Home Affairs Bureau insisted the government was committed to protecting Tsang's works "depending on the actual situation and feasibility". Well, there are now fewer than ten examples left in place. One more was thoughtlessly destroyed in the past week.

      Venezuela is a country in ecoonomic and political turmoil. Around 30 people have died during a month-long series of protests against the unpopular government of President Nicolás Maduro. Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero is known for blending the classical repertoire with improvisation. She played at Barack Obama’s inauguration. She is also passionate about her country and vocal about its problems: the high murder rate, the violence and corruption. She was in Hong Kong last week for a one-night only concert of Schubert, Schumann and improvisations. She came to talk to us the morning before her show.

      03/05/2017
    • Theaster Gates, WYNG's

      Theaster Gates, WYNG's "Mobility" & in our studio: the Storioni Trio

      The work of American artist Theaster Gates focuses on urban planning and environments, community, and urban regeneration. He’s sometimes described as a “social practice installation artist”. Some of his best known projects are based in the south side of Chicago where he grew up. He sees his own works as “practising life”, and says he hopes to revitalise poor neighbourhoods and tell the stories of African Americans through art. Sometimes referencing the communal and spiritual values of religion, his art also incorporates materials he has harvested from the Chicago spaces in which he’s worked, as you can see in his current exhibition at White Cube: “Tarry Skies and Psalms for Now”.

      Other than the occasional, or maybe not so occasional, irritable taxi driver if you’re able bodied you probably don’t have too many problems getting around Hong Kong, For people with disabilities it can be considerably harder, as a current project by the WYNG Foundation points out. And that’s not the only mobility issue it examines. Each year the foundation arranges the WMA Awards for photographic works focusing on social issues in Hong Kong. Themes from previous years include, poverty, waste, air and identity. In response to this year’s theme, “Mobility”, the submissions explore ideas of freedom of movement, migration, social mobility, barrier free urban design, and more.

      Of you love classical music you’ll likely have many favourites among the concertos for single instruments and orchestra. Concertos for multiple instruments and orchestra are somewhat less common. Beethoven ventured into the triple concerto just once, with his Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano, in 1803. It can be a particular challenge for performance as you need not one, but three accomplished soloists who have to achieve a balance between shining individually and working together. It can become something of a battlefield of egos. With Ben now in the studio are the members of the Storioni Trio from the Netherlands, who are in Hong Kong this week to perform the Triple Concerto with the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

      26/04/2017
    • Artist Christo, Tomokazu Matsuyama & Andrew Hevia on

      Artist Christo, Tomokazu Matsuyama & Andrew Hevia on "Moonlight"

      March, otherwise known as Art month brought several international artists to Hong Kong. Few are as monumental or as spectacular in their work as Christo, known not only for, with his late wife and long-time creative collaborator Jeanne-Claude, wrapping the Reichstag and the Pont Neuf, but also for covering the Japanese and Californian landscapes with hundreds of blue and yellow umbrellas.

      Japanese-American artist Tomokazu Matsuyama, perhaps more commonly known as Matsu, lives and works in New York. Growing up between, and influenced by, both Eastern and Western cultures, he described his artistic style as the “struggle of reckoning the familiar local with the familiar global”. That mixed identity is reflected in the influences on his work, which include Japanese art from the Edo and Meiji eras, classic Greek and Roman art, French Renaissance painting and contemporary art.

      Missing out on explosions, 3D, comic book heroes, or extensive computer graphics, the movie “Moonlight” would have almost certainly slipped under the radar of most Hongkongers if it hadn’t, in the same week it was released here, taken the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards. It was certainly a memorable ceremony, including one of the most embarrassing gaffes in Oscar history, when the wrong envelope was given to co-presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, and Dunaway announced “La La Land” as Best Picture. Directed by Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight” is the coming-of-age story of an African-American male coming to terms with his own homosexuality against the backdrop of a socially deprived and drug-ridden Miami neighbourhood. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards this year. It won three, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Writing of an Adapted Screenplay. The film’s co-producer, Andrew Hevia, was in Hong Kong last month for FILMART, and we caught up with him while he was here.

      19/04/2017
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