While most galleries and art fairs move their exhibitions online amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the launch of the brick-and-mortar gallery at the heart of the city is a bold move by father-and-son duo, Dominique and Arthur de Villepin. Following the cancellation of Art Basel Hong Kong’s 2020 edition, all eyes are on Art Basel’s online viewing rooms launched this week, as well as an online initiative called ART Power HK, which is backed by major art world players in the Hong Kong art scene, Villepin included. Against the backdrop of tremendous changes in the global arena as countries around the world shut their borders, leaving populations in isolation, the gallery’s inaugural exhibition in Hong Kong, “Friendship and Reconciliation,” of the late artist Zao Wou-Ki, is a timely reminder of the interconnectedness of cross-cultural artistic practices.

The exhibition space, Villepin, of approximately 2,000-square-feet in a three-storey building on Hollywood Road is the newly launched Hong Kong art gallery of the former French prime minister and his son. On display on the white walls are abstract paintings, which exude a sense of poetic calmness. The polished wooden floors in the spacious traditional European interior setting reflect the colors of the paintings directly above. Through the large selection of works from the 1940s to the 2000s, viewers are introduced to the evolution of the oeuvre of the late Beijing-born Chinese artist Zao Wou-Ki, whose influence include Chinese calligraphy and Western abstraction. In 1948, the relocation of Zao to Paris marked an important point in his career when he began experimenting and adopting Western styles of expression. This can be seen in Zao’s early work, “Sans titre Funérailles,” (1949). There are stylistic differences between the powerful, dynamic brushstrokes in the oil paintings completed at the height of his career, such as “10.05.62” (1962), and the free-spirited element in his ink and watercolor art in the 2000s. “ST aqua” (2007) and “ST encre” (2007) are examples on view at the exhibition.

“The ability for art to bring people together is at the heart of what we are trying to achieve.” In this new era of social distancing, the art world explores different ways to ensure that the show goes on. Art, to a certain extent, does offer solace. For instance, those stuck at home can now browse art from a vast array of closed museums by “visiting” virtual exhibitions on Google Arts & Culture, and use social media to discuss what they saw with people from around the world. These intellectual dialogues connect people, transcending time and space. Despite these technological advancements, the exhibition at Villepin reminds us that the experience of viewing art in person is irreplaceable. Nevertheless, no matter online or offline, art is the symbol of optimism in these turbulent times.


雖然大部分畫廊和藝術博覽會都在冠狀病毒(COVID-19)影響下將其展覽轉移到線上舉行,但多米尼克•德維爾潘與潘雅德 (Dominique and Arthur de Villepin)父子卻在香港開設了他們新的畫廊。隨著香港巴塞爾藝術展2020的取消,所有人的目光都集中在本週推出的巴塞爾藝術展線上展廳以及名為ART Power HK的線上展演平台。該平台得到了香港藝術界人士的支持,包括Villepin。在世界各國慌忙關閉邊境並陷入混亂的局面下,人與人之間出現隔膜之際,是次在香港舉行的趙無極個展《友誼與融合》適時地提醒了我們察覺跨文化藝術實踐中不同文化的融匯和緊密聯繫。

位於荷李活道三層高的建築物中約2,000平方英尺的展覽空間是前法國總理和他的兒子新成立的香港畫廊Villepin。寬敞的歐式傳統室內空間中懸掛在白色牆壁上的抽象畫充滿詩意,而且拋光木地板反映了牆壁上的作品的色彩。從展覽中1940年代到2000年代作品,觀眾可以加深對已故中國藝術家趙無極藝術生涯演變的認識。趙無極生於北京,受中國書法和西方抽象畫影響。1948年是他藝術生涯中的轉捩點;移居巴黎後,他開始嘗試採用西方風格的表達方式。這可以從他早期作品《Sans titre Funerailles》(1949年)中看到。以《10.05.62》(1962)為例,在他巔峰時期創作的油畫筆觸富動感。這與他在2000年代水墨畫的自由表現的風格截然不同,從《ST aqua》(2007年)和《ST encre》(2007年)可見。

「藝術擁有將人們凝聚團結的力量,這也是我們致力追求的價值核心。」在這個社會疏離的新時代,藝術界正在探索確保展覽繼續進行的不同方式。藝術在某程度上確實提供了慰藉。例如,在家中隔離的人們現在可以通過「參觀」 Google藝術與文化的虛擬展覽來瀏覽眾多已封閉的博物館中的藝術品,並使用社交媒體與世界各地的人們討論他們所看到的東西。這些具深度的對話將人與人聯繫起來,超越時空。儘管科技日新月異,是次在Villepin舉行的展覽提醒我們,親身觀看藝術的經驗是不可替代的。儘管如此,無論在網上還是真實世界,在現今動蕩的時代,藝術都是希望和樂觀的象徵。

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 “Friendship and Reconciliation”

2020.3.20 – 9.20
Tuesday to Saturday 11:00 – 19:00
Villepin, 53-55 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong

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