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.