10 art exhibitions in Hong Kong to check out this summer

Earlier in July, Hong Kong Palace Museum became the city's new destination for Chinese art and culture.

Entering further into summer, Hong Kong continues to provide visitors with a wealth of exhibitions to choose from. Prominent artists from around the world – such as Nicolas Party, Adrian Ghenie, Zhang Xiaogang and Louise Bonnet – all light up the local art scene. They bring a wide range of oeuvres and styles from the contemporary age right at the audience’s doorstep.

So, next time you were wondering what to do during your time off, here are 10 exhibitions not to be missed in the coming few months.

Louise Bonnet's Green Pantyhose (2022) | Oil on linen, 213.4 x 365.8 cm


In Onslaught – Louise Bonnet’s first solo exhibition in Asia – the emerging Swiss-born artist investigates bodily fluids as objects of societal disgust. Through two groupings of three large canvases, she explores our sense of mortification at our own bodies and how they seem to betray modern people by leaking, sagging, or failing in various ways.

"I'm interested in shame and the body in my paintings, and bodily functions bring extra shame and embarrassment," said Bonnet. Between beauty and ugliness, her grotesque, contorted figures challenge modern aesthetic and cultural conventions, provoking questions about sexuality and body shaming.

Until: 6 August 2022 | Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-7pm
Address: 7/F Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong

Christopher Ku's Reverberation-21 (2011) | Mixed media on canvas, 99.5 x 150 cm  

Illuminati Fine Art 

Illuminati Fine Art presents its exhibition duology, Painting of Reverberation by a British-based Hong Kong artist, Christopher Ku. Showcasing more than 35 seminal works of the artist created from 2002 to the present – representing Ku's ongoing experiments in material and painting technique while triggering discourses on the dynamics between artistic production, symbolism and narrativity.

Although the first chapter is now over, visitors can still check out the second – entitled Semantic Construction – which runs from 23 July to 12 August. The works illustrate the artist’s stylistic breakthrough – capturing the multitude of the artist's psyche and creations over his decades of practice. Featuring unruled and abstract compositions, the pursuit of pure abstract has allowed the artist to transcend from the material world and expand upon the techniques of painting the metaphysical world.

Until: 12 August 2022 | Monday – Saturday, 11am-7pm; Sunday and Public Holidays
Address: 31-33 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong  
Pre-registration is required – info@ifineart.net / +852 2889 6992

Tseng Chien-ying's Strange Fruit (2022) | Colours on paper, ink, mineral mineral pigments, gold foil, silver foil, sulphide silver leaves, 180 x 90 x 3.5 cm

Galerie du Monde

A one-of-a-kind LGBTQ-themed exhibition, Retrograde features artworks by 11 contemporary artists from eight nationalities and seven countries, with more than half debuting in Asia. Different from most LGBTQ+ exhibitions focused on pride and visibility, Retrograde raises questions on the move of homosexuality to mainstream culture, allowing viewers to reimagine queer histories and futures.

Inspired by astrology, the title references the retrograde motion of planets, where they depart from the main highway altogether. Such planets are explorers who travel the celestial byways in search of something not available on the main highway – similar to the participating artists, who envision queerness beyond the grand narrative.

Until: 13 August 2022 | Mon-Sat, 10am-7pm
Address: Galerie du Monde, 108 Ruttonjee Centre, 11 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong

June Ho's Footbridge | Linocut, 30 x 21 cm

Karin Weber Gallery

In Goodbye, Hello, a solo presentation of new prints by Hong Kong artist June Ho, the artist narrates the story of her city through scenes of daily life and cultural icons – beyond the skyscrapers by the Victoria Harbour and the bustling scenes of Mongkok. 

Graduated from the Fine Arts Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Ho composes collages and prints that display intricate brushstrokes, detailed settings and vivid color palettes. Taking inspirations from her personal experiences, her works often depict the complex feelings of uncertainty, anxiety and attachment associated to her origin.

Until: 13 August 2022 | Tue-Sat, 11am-7pm
Address: Karin Weber Gallery, 20 Aberdeen Street, Central

Li Ning's Tucker's Laboratory 2 (2022) | Oil linocut block print and paper collage on canvas, 40 x 60 cm 

Gallery Exit 

Meaning going home in the Hakka dialect, the Welcome Jon Looka exhibition's theme revolves around a fictional village of the same name in a future world created by Li Ning. Through a range of media – such as mixed media prints, pencil on paper/canvas, ceramics and video – the Chinese artist leads the audience into this dystopian sci-fi landscape.

Li’s works have always been narrative in nature, their images filled with all kinds of metaphorical imagery and symbols. Stylistically, they incorporate elements of popular culture such as film, manga and animation, as well as myths and legends from all over the world.

Until: 20 August 2022 | Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm
Address: 3/F, 25 Hing Wo Street, Blue Box Factory Building, Tin Wan, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Pre-registration is required – info@galleryexit.com / +852 2541 1299   

Derek Aylward's Animal House (2022) | Acrylic on canvas, 152.4 x 182.9 cm

Over The Influence 

American figurative painter, Derek Aylward is known for his visual language that can be described as contemporary folklore. He combines humanoid figures that are generally depicted with animal or otherworldly qualities – peppered with superheroes and cartoons of the mid-21st century, and with a cubist-expressionist edge.

The title of the exhibition, Animal House, cannot help but evoke the 1978 American Comedy of the same name. The film is about trouble-making fraternity members who challenge authority with edgy and tasteless humour. Like the film, his subjects are an unruly cast of characters, rendered in a style that is affiliated with defiance but with the folk-art flair that is simple and nostalgic.

Whether vignettes or crowded scenes, he distils within the paintings of Animal House, a dichotomy that both harnesses the energy of the frenzied figures and enlivened palettes, while also distilling the works in a way that offers contemplation.

Until: 27 August 2022 | Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 7pm
Address: G/F and 1/F, 159 Hollywood Road, Central

Irving Penn's Black and White Fashion With Handbag (Jean Patchett) | Gelatin silver print mounted to paper, image, 42.5 x 39.4 cm

Pace Gallery

Chewing Gum V, Pace Gallery's 5th edition in the exhibition series, showcases a curated selection of artists across different regional and cultural backgrounds, cultivating a dialogue among paintings, sculptures, and photographs created between the mid 20th century and present day.

Key works by leading names in both Western and Asian contemporary art scenes will be featured – including Zhang Xiaogang, Mao Yan, Irving Penn and Kiki Smith. Irving Penn, for instance, was a celebrated American photographer. Worked as one of Vogue magazine’s top photographers for more than sixty years, he was known for his trademark style of elegant aesthetic simplicity. 

Until: 1 September 2022 | Tue-Sat, 11am-6pm
Address: 12/F, H Queen's, 80 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong

Nicolas Party's Red Forest (2022) | Soft pastel on linen, 135 x 145 x 3.2 cm 

Hauser & Wirth 

Swiss artist Nicolas Party is a figurative painter – well-known for depicting landscapes, portraits and still lifes using a range of mediums. In his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, Red Forest looks to five elements of the material world as the starting point – wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Comprised of 13 new pastel landscapes and portraits created for this show, they illuminate nature’s complex ties with humanity.

Growing up in Switzerland meant Party is interested in the natural world. Amid the current climate crises, Party presents forest fires and l’heure mauve (mauve twilight, the moment of transition between day and evening) through different pastel shades. In doing so, he invites viewers to reflect on nature and their relationship with the environment.

Until: 24 September 2022 | Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 7pm
Address: 16-15/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central

Francis Bacon's Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards (1984) | Oil on canvas, 101.6 x 63.5 cm

Villepin Gallery

Through The Loss of Human Face? exhibition, Villepin Gallery encapsulates how the human face is portrayed – whether in figurative or abstract representations. Twenty oeuvres from five Western and Eastern artists – including Francis Bacon, Adrian Ghenie, Zeng Fanzhi, George Condo and Yukimasa Ida – are showcased in a transformed gallery space.

For example, 20th century British figurative painter, Francis Bacon’s works distorts his subjects’ faces whilst unveiling their inner psychologies. Looking Eastwards, Zeng’s Mask series depicts social tensions and anxieties the artist observed in modern China.

Collectively, these artists bring their contribution to the global understanding of what humanity means. Through their diversity and varied backgrounds, they reveal their intense passion in their own unique visions.

Until: October 2022 | Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-7pm; Sunday 11am-6pm
Address: 53-55 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
Pre-registration is required: https://www.villepinart.com/collector/book-a-tour/villepin

Wong Hau-kwei's Lion Rock | Ink and colour on paper, 102 x 210 cm

Artspace K

Serenity • Hong Kong is a solo exhibition of 23 works by contemporary local artist Wong Hau-kwei. Through depiction of urban and natural landscapes in Hong Kong, the artist hopes to bring a renewed sense of peace and calm to the anxious city clouded by the pandemic. 

Blending traditional artistic expression of ink with contemporary art, Wong develops a distinctive style and becomes one of the representative figures in the contemporary ink painting scene in Hong Kong. Accentuating the contrast between black and white, emptiness and fullness in the expression of light and color, his works break the boundary between China and the West, with a sense of urbanity he experienced in his home city. 

Until: 23 October 2022 | Tue-Sun, 11am-7pm
Address: G105-106, The Repulse Bay Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Road, Hong Kong