June 18, 2014

Metamorphosis / Xu Bing at Asia Society

Kitty N. Wong / Silkworms sketchbook
Before I left for my holiday in England I was lucky enough to be invited to preview 'It Begins with Metamorphosis' by the acclaimed Chinese artist Xu Bing at Asia Society. Acclaimed usually sounds like some frou-frou word which you use to describe someone who you know nothing about except that they're really famous. But in his case, Xu was rewarded the MacArthur Fellowship in 1999 (yes, the 'Genius Grant'!), so you know he's legit (bow down).

As you walk into the exhibition you are greeted by a large vase of mulberry cuttings, upon closer inspection you see that the stems are covered in small white silkworms feeding on the green leaves. As the show continues, the worms continue to devour the leaves leaving behind nothing but brown stems and the cocoons of the themselves entwined in silk.

Kitty N. Wong / Asia Society Buddha
I had never been to Asia Society until I went to see the Caravaggio exhibition a few months before, I had only seen pictures and it seemed like a magical secret place hidden amongst the trees high up in Admiralty with an illuminated walkway and peaceful Buddha sculptures. It didn't seem like a real place you could go to in Hong Kong, but alas love is a place and spring was in the air.

CLICK THROUGH to see more photos, sketches and what I wore from my luscious day at Xu Bing's 'It Begins with Metamorphosis' at Asia Society.


Kitty N. Wong / Xu Bing Sketchbook
During the preview, the artist Xu Bing was present to speak about the work and to answer questions. He wore his signature round glasses and spoke in Mandarin, I watch him as he spoke and made a few quick drawing of him.

Kitty N. Wong / Maoist CigarettesKitty N. Wong / Xu Bing Silkworm Book
Kitty N. Wong / Background Story
One of the most interesting works on display was Background Story, the Chinese landscape installation especially commissioned for the exhibition. Viewed from the front it looks like a typical Chinese ink landscape painting but as you walk around to the back it is revealed that the piece is an illusion, made up from the shadows cast by various debris the artist had found in Hong Kong, juice boxes, a banana leaf, pieces of tarp and dead leaves.

Kitty N. Wong / OOTD at Asia Society Hong Kong
Kitty N. Wong / OOTD at Asia Society Hong Kong
Asia Society is a classy place so I wanted to dress up like a classy girl (which I am, of course), I wore a grey pleated cotton skater dress from Zara. Did you know skater dresses are called that because the narrow waist and full skirt resembles the costumes often worn by figure skaters? I didn't, I had to Google that. It's becoming one of my new favourite silhouette these days, I'm thinking of sewing myself a few more using some fabric I have sitting around, it's such a easy and flattering shape to wear.

I paired the dress with Mark & Spencer black tights, M&S makes the best tights, don't fuck with any other brands. Ripped tights are annoying and fill up landfills since they're nylon and last forrreeevvver. So spend the extra few bucks on good ones that'll last. Also wearing: Cotton On booties, Esprit recycled denim tote and an evil eye necklace given to me by a friend.

Huge thanks to Rach Read for passing along the invite and to Asia Society for having me.

The exhibition runs from May, 2014 to August 31, 2014 at the Asia Society Gallery in Admiralty.
Tickets are $30 HKD and $15 HKD concession and for Asia Society members.

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