Since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2019, Hong Kong has dealt with multiple waves of infections. The city carried out a range of social distancing measures to reduce the spread of the virus.
The most recent and fifth wave meant various restrictions were re-implemented in January 2022. Many public museums and art institutions are temporarily closed for two weeks.
If you were wondering what to do whilst being stuck at home, here are nine virtual and online art exhibitions in Hong Kong you could visit:
Virtual tour of the Tai Ping Theatre at the Hong Kong Film Archive
The interior of Tai Ping Theatre in 1909, which accommodated more than 1,000 seats
LCSD Virtual Tour
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD)’s Museums offers seven virtual tours of old Hong Kong relics, such as the Hong Kong Railway Museum, Fireboat Alexander Grantham Exhibition Gallery, Law Uk and Tai Ping Theatre.
The Tai Ping Theatre's virtual tour is presented by the Assistant Curator of Hong Kong Film Archive, Priscilla Chan.
Erected in 1904, it was built in the Western District. The three-storey theatre accommodated more than 1,000 seats and was one of the most well-established theatres in early 20th century Hong Kong. It was demolished and rebuilt in July 1931 due to its crumbling state of the building structure. After the Second World War, the cinema re-opened – showing both Chinese and English films until its closure in 1981. It was later demolished and the site was replaced by a residential area called Wah Ming Centre.
Replica of the first generation Tai Ping Theatre that stood from 1904 to its demolition in 1931 | Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Out of the Past – From the Tai Ping Treasure Trove exhibition, May-October 2021
The second generation Tai Ping Theatre in 1950
The first section of the Museum, as shown in the virtual tour, depicts Heavenly Kings
Tsz Shan Monastery Buddhist Art Museum
Did you know that this was the first Buddhist art-themed Museum in Hong Kong?
With around 100 relics, the exhibition is divided into five key sections across two floors – including Heavenly Kings, Luohans, Bodhisattvas, Buddhas and Mount Sumeru. They depict the development of Buddhist art traditions across ancient India through to East Asia and across Southeast Asia, as well as from the ancient to contemporary era.
Flores' Untitled (Shao Kene 1, 2021) depicts patterns from her indigenous Peruvian culture
White Cube Gallery
Originating from Peru’s Shipibo-Conibo indigenous people, Flores uses intricate, geometric paintings on textile rework. Her creations expand from the traditional form of Kene, a Shipibo term that can mean design.
Her abstract patterns exude a complex, vibrational power. Created using knowledge inherited matriarchally from generation to generation, it is part of a deeply entwined belief system that represents the fluidity of forms and images that inhabit the spiritual world.
The Heidelberg Windmill Platen Press was common in Hong Kong's letterpress printing workshops in the mid-20th century
Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Through this exhibition, visitors can discover more about Hong Kong culture through past exhibitions – available as virtual tours.
For example,the Between the Lines – The Legends of Hong Kong Printing exhibition presents visitors with how books, posters and other printed matters were made before the emergence of computerised typesetting and offset printing.
There were two traditional methods - movable type and lithography. The story starts in the 19th century, when Robert Morrison, a British missionary, brought letterpress printing to China. In those days, the Ming typeface designed by Anglo-Chinese College was known as the Hong Kong Type and was considered to be the most beautiful Chinese type. Works such as The Chinese Classics, translated by James Legge, and the English and Chinese Dictionary, compiled by Wilhelm Lobscheid were produced to help with understanding both cultures and languages.
The Hong Kong Type lead movable type is shown in the virtual exhibition
Lithography arrived in China in 1826 and became widely adopted within decades, as it was easier than woodblocks and cheaper than movable types. In 1884, Shen Bao issued the Dianshizhai Pictorial in Shanghai, the first image-based journal. This ushered in the new age of graphic storytelling, which was made possible by the introduction of lithography.
Despite the advancement of technology, modern artists aspire to revive traditional craftsmanship by exploring the possibilities of incorporating old printing techniques into contemporary designs.
Nina Katchadourian, Plant #41, 2021
Visitors can access Pace Gallery’s past exhibitions on their website. The last exhibition was called Natural Selection, which was on view at Pace’s Hong Kong from 19 November to 23 December 2021. This digital presentation features sculptures from Nina Katchadourian’s Fake Plants (2021) series, including four online-exclusive pieces.
Katchadourian’s new Fake Plants works, which she created during the pandemic, comprises sculptures of diverse plant forms based on her recollection and imagination – rather than the specific characteristics of existing species. These works were created with cast-off materials such as cardboard boxes and toilet paper tubes, Styrofoam and sponges.
Hong Kong Museum of Art shows different types of materials, such as ceramics, clay works and ink paintings
Hong Kong Museum of Art / Google Arts and Culture
The Museum created a section called Virtually@HKMoA. Visitors can easily access and enjoy art through many interactive and educational materials, such as videos and pamphlets. In collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, the audience can also access 140 exhibits – ranging from Chinese ceramics and ink paintings to contemporary art.
Teapot painted in fencai enamels with a scene in a tea pavilion (Qianlong period, 1735-1796)
Ink painter Lui Shou-kwan's Zen painting (1970)
Wilson Shieh's Chow Yun Fat's fitting room (2009)
Williams' Bergische Bauernscheune, Junkersholz Leichlingen photograph
David Zwirner Gallery
For example, the Standard Pose exhibition in David Zwirner Paris features Christopher Williams’ photographs. The American artist's works address the visual and informational structures that define everyday life. Working in a variety of media, including photography, video and installation, his multifaceted practice incorporates references to multiple sources – including the artist’s own ever-expanding inventory of imagery and discursive materials such as apples, a rooster, children at play and a man with a camera in a freshly laundered shirt.
M+ Collection Beta
There are normally many people who visit the M+ Museum, which can make checking out their artworks difficult.
This online platform allows visitors to access M+’s vast archive of 20th and 21st century visual culture. With more than 9,000 objects, visitors can find a mixture of photography, visual art, design, architecture and moving images.
The starting point of The Rise of the Celestial Empire exhibition
Hong Kong History Museum
The Museum’s site offers archived links to the past exhibitions that visitors can browse. Audiences can explore a 360 virtual tour of various exhibitions about different eras of Chinese history – Gilded Glory: Chaozhou Woodcarving (8 November 2018 to 25 February 2019), and The Rise of the Celestial Empire (24 June to 5 October 2015).