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    Executive Producer:Diana Wan


    You can find representations of the naked human body in art all the way back to prehistoric times and the Venus of Willendorf. The body, often idealised, has been a source of inspiration and creative expression in all cultures. But many societies do seem to be heading towards a new prudishness. Some have never left it behind.

    Even people who don’t know American artist Robert Indiana by name probably know one of his sculptures: the LOVE sculpture and pop art images of it. A self- proclaimed “American painter of signs” Indiana has played an important role in the development of assemblage art, hard-edge painting and Pop art since the 1960s. On show at the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre till mid-July, “LOVE Long: Robert Indiana and Asia” is the first major exhibition of his work in Hong Kong.

    Singer-songwriter Heidi Li says that under the influence of her parents she grew up against a background of Chinese opera. Instead of going down that path though, she ventured into NeoSoul, pop and jazz music. She’s lived in Canada, Britain, and France, but for the past eight years she’s been settled in Italy.
    She’s with me right now to talk about her new EP, “Third Culture Kid”.

    Contact: wanyt@rthk.hk


    • Art & Freedom of Speech: interview with writer Ma Jian & Pussy Riot, in the studio: Eugene Pao & Trey Lee

      Art & Freedom of Speech: interview with writer Ma Jian & Pussy Riot, in the studio: Eugene Pao & Trey Lee

      The freedom to say or express what you think is important to most of us. Perhaps to few more so than artists. It’s hard to imagine a thriving art scene without it.
      A number of events in the past few weeks have left many worrying about how much the space for free speech in Hong Kong is narrowing. In October, the government refused a work visa to Financial Times Asia news editor Victor Mallet. The decision is widely seen as retribution for chairing and defending a talk by Hong Kong National Party convener Andy Chan at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. The political group had not been banned at the time. Last Thursday, Mr Mallet tried to enter Hong Kong again, this time as a visitor, and was refused entry after several hours of questioning. The day before, Chinese dissident and exiled writer Ma Jian had said on Twitter that the Tai Kwun arts centre was refusing permission for him to give two talks organised by the Hong Kong International Literary Festival on its premises. The arts centre later changed its mind. Mr Mallet’s off to an assignment in Europe, but he did say on social media that one of the things he’ll do in the days ahead is re-read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Or he could even read Ma Jian’s new novel, “China Dream” which is itself set in a somewhat Orwellian world.

      Now in its sixth year, the four-day Musicus Festival starts this Thursday. This year, it’s highlighting Nordic music, including folk tunes and pieces on the nyckelharpa, a traditional Swedish folk instrument. There’ll also be children’s concerts, classical music, and jazz. The guest performers come from as far afield as Romania, Germany, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan. The festival’s Artistic Director Trey Lee is here with guitarist Eugene Pao to tell us more.

    • Tribute to Louis Cha: wuxia novels and their translations, Michael Hulls' Lightspace & studio performance: NOVA Ensemble

      Tribute to Louis Cha: wuxia novels and their translations, Michael Hulls' Lightspace & studio performance: NOVA Ensemble

      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.

    • National Palace Museum Taiwan & City U's

      National Palace Museum Taiwan & City U's "Animal", Xu Beihong & studio performance: harmonica player Cy Leo

      A look at an interactive exhibition that deals with the constantly-changing relationship between man and animals. Since 2014, the City University of Hong Kong has been collaborating with the National Palace Museum in Taiwan on a series of exhibitions. In “Animal – Art Science Nature Society”, the third such exhibition, the museum and City University’s bring together pieces from a number of disciplines, both scientific and artistic.

      A few weeks ago, we looked at the works of artist Pan Yuliang, one of the first female Chinese artists to go to study art abroad. That group of early pioneers, of course, also included several men, one of whom was Xu Beihong. Xu Beihong is known for his Chinese ink-and-wash paintings of horses and birds. Like many of that first generation of artists to study in Europe, he broke new ground in the techniques and styles he adopted to reflect a modernising China. At the Sun Museum until early December, “Xu Beihong and His Times” features 61 artworks by 33 artists.

      Harmonica player CY Leo, also known as Cy, comes from a family of harmonica lovers and champions of the instrument. His father is a founding member of the King’s Harmonica Quintet and the founder of the Hong Kong Harmonica Association. At different times, Cy, his father and his younger brother have all been crowned world champions of the instrument. His repertoire includes classical works, jazz, and other styles and arrangements. He’s here to tell us more about his latest passion project.

    • Chinese Documentary Festival 2018, Oscar Murillo & in the studio: pianist Stephen Hough

      Chinese Documentary Festival 2018, Oscar Murillo & in the studio: pianist Stephen Hough

      This year’s Chinese Documentary Festival, now in its 11th edition, lasts more than a month and showcases 12 Chinese and non-Chinese feature films and shorts. This year it also includes a special section on the issues of the so-called “comfort women” and on Palestine.

      Oscar Murillo is a Colombian painter and installation artist. He works in a wide variety of media, using text, recycled materials, and other items he has collected, to create his works on canvas and paper, and to produce sculptures, installations, live events, collaborative projects and videos. Until the middle of November, the David Zwirner gallery is presenting, under the title ““the build up of content and information”, his first solo exhibition in Asia. It includes both paintings and works on paper.

      The Economist named him one of 20 “living polymaths”. Pianist Stephen Hough is a leading concert pianist, composer, educator, writer of essays and fiction, and painter. He has recorded more than 50 albums, many of which have received Grammy nominations and eight Gramophone Magazine Awards. He is globally acclaimed for his interpretations of the piano repertoire. Two weeks ago, he was in Hong Kong for a one-night recital of pieces by Debussy, Schumann and Beethoven. He also came to The Works studio the day after his concert.

    • Photographer Chang Chao-tang, Sparkle@Oi! & in the studio: Nowhere Boys

      Photographer Chang Chao-tang, Sparkle@Oi! & in the studio: Nowhere Boys

      The annual Taiwan Culture Festival started last Thursday. The month-long programme includes operas, film screenings and exhibitions. Taiwanese photographer, Chang Chao Tang’s career spans more than five decades. Apart from his still photography, he has worked in television, documentaries, and feature films. On show until the end of this month, “A Journey of Nostalgia” showcases his love for nature and reveals why nostalgia keeps him going.

      Artist and landscape architect Sara Wong makes use of architectural, time-based and sculptural forms to explore urban movement and social engagement. Most recently she has curated “Sparkle! Journal of a City Foot Soldier”, inspired by the writer Paul Auster’s “City of Glass”. For this exhibition, at an artspace in Oil Street, she has invited several artists to present a series of approaches to, and perspectives on, cities and modern urban living.

      Formed in 2015, the five-member band, Nowhere Boys plays what they called “cinematic rock”. Their inspiration ranges from thrillers such as “The Butterfly Effect”, to Japanese animation films like Miyazaki’s “Castle in the Sky”. They wrote their own songs and recorded their debut EP in their homes with their own equipment. It was so successful that the first 1,000 copies they’d made sold out in three months. Now signed to a big label, the band still maintains that indie spirit and its members say they continue to go their own way musically. They are here to tell us more.

    • Anton Fung & Wong Chun's Project Keep Pushing, Drifting Borders & in the studio: flautist Angus Lee

      Anton Fung & Wong Chun's Project Keep Pushing, Drifting Borders & in the studio: flautist Angus Lee

      We’re beginning today’s show with percussion, and more specifically, drums. Anton Fung has played as a session drummer with many in the Cantopop scene. He’s also a member of the indie band, tfvsjs. Recently, Anton and film director Wong Chun collaborated to share their passion for the drums. They’ve invited several different directors to create a series of films that bring together the arts of percussion and cinematography.

      Not only did the 2008 financial crisis send many countries into an economic tailspin, it also had major effects on the social and political scenes. Austerity, combined with the arrival of political refugees from nations in conflict, has created considerable resentment in many countries, and that has led to a rise in right wing populism and nationalism. The art project “Drifting Borders” is under way now and will continue up to October 21st It incorporates films, performance art and forum discussions that examine such issues as national borders, social identity, belonging, loss of cultural roots, individuality, and nationalism.

      Like the tenor Jasper Sung, who appeared on The Works last week, flautist Angus Lee graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Angus, who also studied at Britain’s Royal Academy of Music, doesn’t only perform the classical flute repertoire, he’s also a self-taught composer. This Sunday as part of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department’s “Our Music Talents” series, he’s performing a programme that ranges from Richard Strauss to Mantovani, and even includes a composition of his own.

    • Chinese female artists Pan Yuliang & Cao Fei, in our studio: tenor Jasper Sung

      Chinese female artists Pan Yuliang & Cao Fei, in our studio: tenor Jasper Sung

      This week, we look at two female Chinese artists whose work has its roots in very different times and backgrounds. Born in 1895, Pan Yuliang became known as the first woman in China to paint in the Western style. Her works and their style were sometimes harshly criticised by government figures and conservative critics, not least because she often painted nudes. The criticism was so severe that eventually she returned to live in the city in which she’d developed that style: Paris. On show at the Asia Society until early next year, “Song of Spring: Pan Yu-lin in Paris” is the first major exhibition of her works in Hong Kong.

      Born over 80 years later than Pan Yuliang, in Guangzhou in the 1970s, Cao Fei grew up in a province that was benefitting from the so-called “Open Door” policy that was transforming the country’s economy. Many of her works are multimedia projects that explore the lives of young mainland Chinese and how they cope with the realities of a rapidly changing society. For Hong Kong’s Tai Kwun cultural centre, she has created a site-specific work that incorporates a film reflecting on the nature and history of the complex. That will be on show until 9th December.

      Jasper Sung graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with a Master of Music degree in singing before going on to study in Salzburg. Among his musical achievements since graduating are opera roles, performances of requiems and oratorios, and solo works for tenor. Later this month, he’ll be performing Schubert’s song cycle “Die schöne Müllerin" as part of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department’s “Our Music Talents” series. He’s here with pianist Karen Sung to tell us more.

    • All that jazz: interview with singer Stacey Kent & in the studio: Swedish jazz led by Rickard Malmsten & artist Mona Hatoum

      All that jazz: interview with singer Stacey Kent & in the studio: Swedish jazz led by Rickard Malmsten & artist Mona Hatoum

      This week’s show is going to be of special interest to jazz lovers. In part two, the formerly Hong Kong-based Swedish bassist Rickard Malmsten is back in town and in our studio. This time he’s brought vocalist Vivian Buczek with him to pay tribute to the late, great, Ella Fitzgerald.

      But first, American singer Stacey Kent’s intimate approach to jazz standards has attracted fans all around the world. One of those fans is the Nobel Prize-winning novelist, Kazuo Ishiguro, who has since collaborated with her on writing several songs. Now living in London with her husband, saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, she’s made 11 studio albums, and many other live albums, and sold more than two million records. Her repertoire ranges from American standards and her own original material to French chanson and Brazilian music. On Monday, she was in Hong Kong for a one-night only concert. We chatted to her before the show.

      Born in Beirut, Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum grew up among other Palestinians who had become not wholeheartedly welcomed exiles in Lebanon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Now living in London, she’s still keenly aware of the sense of dislocation, displacement, disorientation and loss that war can bring. She uses her works, which include installations, multimedia pieces, and sculpture, to explore the often-conflicted relationship between politics and the individual. They often incorporate everyday objects, sometimes to disturbing effect. “Remains of the Day”, her first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, is on show at White Cube until the middle of November.

      The Swedish jazz bassist and composer Rickard Malmsten is no stranger to The Works. For many years, he was based in Hong Kong, and frequently brought overseas jazz artists, particularly from Sweden and other Nordic countries, here to perform. A few years ago, he moved back to his home country, but he still returns to Hong Kong from time to time, and he’s still introducing his musician friends to delight local jazz lovers. This time he’s in town with an ensemble that includes vocalist Vivian Buczek. They’re here with us now.

    • Quanan Shum's

      Quanan Shum's "Season With Lusts", M+ Southeast Asia, Luo Ying's ink painting & elderly theatre

      The theme of the 29th annual Hong Kong Book Fair, which started last Wednesday, is “Romance Literature”, but you’d better not write about sex too explicitly, maybe even more so if you’re a Japanese author on record as having sided with Hong Kong’s protesters for democratic reform. Hong Kong’s Obscene Articles Tribunal has given Haruki Murakami’s “Killing Commendatore” a Class two “indecent rating” and the fair’s organisers have asked exhibitors to remove it from display. Hong Kong’s public libraries are also limiting its loan to readers over 18. In recent days the OAT has also defined adult periodical Lung Fu Pao and a photo book by model Ealies Chau as class two publications. One person whose work has not been restricted is writer Quannan Shum, even though romance, love and eroticism are recurring themes in his writing. One of his novels, “Season with Lusts”, first published in 1984, has now been reprinted with illustrations by Montagut Chuen.

      There’s been another controversy involving the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, this time over the fact that it had directly paid subcontractors working on building the M+ museum on behalf of its financially-troubled main contractor Hsin Chong Construction without first consulting the legislature. Lawmakers are calling for a special meeting in the Legislative Council to look into the matter. M+ is scheduled to open next year, two years behind its original schedule. A smaller venue, M+ Pavilion, used for exhibitions, opened two years ago. On show there until the end of September is a selection from its Southeast Asian art collections.

      Chinese landscape painting of the Song, Ming and Qing periods presented idealised landscapes incorporating elements such as water, lofty mountains, stones, gardens, animals, and literary gatherings. The paintings embody their creators’ longing to escape from worldly pressures and retreat into nature.
      But what role does Chinese landscape painting play in the modern world? On show at Hanart TZ Gallery until the end of August, “Luo Ying: Layered Hills” showcases over 50 works by the contemporary Chinese landscape painter.

      Hong Kong has one of the world’s longest urban life expectancies, at 81.3 years for men and 87.3 years for women, although there’s some controversy about comparing the population of a developed city with that of entire countries. And the percentage of older people in the community is growing fast. But Hong Kong’s senior citizens are also a creative resource and a reservoir of memory.

      Well, that’s it from us for this week and in fact for this series. We’ll take a short summer break and will be back at the end of September. See you then.

    • Mills 6 : CHAT Go! Let's build a textile village, Iznik ceramics, sound art: installation

      Mills 6 : CHAT Go! Let's build a textile village, Iznik ceramics, sound art: installation "Unless" & Gaybird Leung

      Hello and welcome to The Works. I’m Ben Tse, on my own today as Ben Pelletier is on his travels.

      On earlier episodes of The Works we’ve already featured the revitalisation of the former Nam Fung Textiles mills in Tsuen Wan as an arts and culture space. Construction work is still in progress, but the space is taking shape, and art programmes that engage the community have been under way for the past two years.

      The town of Iznik in Turkey is known for its decorated pottery, highly coloured and emphasising, in particular, cobalt blue patterns under a colourless glaze. The tradition started in the last quarter of the 15th century but had diminished and practically disappeared by the end of the 17th century. But Iznik pottery is still a source of inspiration, and until the middle of August, the University of Hong Kong’s University Museum and Art Gallery is presenting 40 ceramic works by Turkish artists Mehmet Gursoy and Nida Olcar that fuse the tradition with contemporary design.

      Swiss artist, musician and director, Dimitri de Perrot explores the perception of speed and time in sound through different forms, including theatre, music and art works.
      His installation, “Unless”, currently in a busy shopping mall in Causeway Bay, invites people to interact with it.

      Leung Kei-cheuk, also known as Gaybird is known for his work in pop music, theatre productions, films, concerts and TV commercials. He has said he doesn’t believe in firm divisions between sound, music, art and technology. His music explores different forms and crosses artistic disciplines and boundaries.