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.