5 Artists Who Have Been Inspired By Hong Kong
David Zwirner gallery is currently celebrating the third anniversary of its Hong Kong space—here are five stars on its roster who have featured the city in their art
Canadian artist Marcel Dzama has been inspired by Hong Kong ever since he first visited in 2018, when he flew here for the opening of the David Zwirner gallery in H Queen's. To mark the occasion, Zwirner invited all of the artists on his roster to Hong Kong. More than 20 came, including painters Chris Ofili and Lisa Yuskavage, multidisciplinary artist Francis Alÿs and sculptor Carol Bove.
“That trip was the most fun I’ve had travelling, probably,” says Dzama. “I didn’t have a show, so I was just hanging out with all my friends somewhere that I’d never been before, but that I’d always been interested in visiting.”
Dzama has since created a series of work inspired by Hong Kong's Happy Valley Racecourse. And, in May 2021, he created a new work especially for Tatler that was inspired by Hong Kong and featured the city's historic Clock Tower, which stands on the Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront.
American photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia is most famous for his cinematic street photographs starring unsuspecting pedestrians, whom he captures using dramatic lighting of the kind sometimes used for big-budget fashion shoots or Hollywood films.
DiCorcia took the best-known works from this series, Streetwork, in Times Square in New York, but between 1993 and 1999 he travelled around the world to photograph residents of other cities. This work, Hong Kong, was taken in 1996.
See also: Hong Kong Through The Lens Of The City's Street Photographers
Colombian-born, UK-based artist Oscar Murillo is one of the rising stars of the art world, with collectors competing fiercely to buy his calligraphic, mixed-media abstract paintings. In 2013, when he was just 27, one of his pieces sold at auction for US$401,000—nearly 14 times its estimate.
Murillo’s work has since been exhibited around the world, including in Hong Kong, where he had a solo show at David Zwirner in 2018. Some of the works Murillo made for that show included references to the city, such as screen prints of Hong Kong dollar bank notes. A stencil of a HK$100 note can be seen in the bottom left-hand corner of this piece, birds in multilateral action (2016-2018).
German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans has visited Hong Kong several times since the early 1990s. This photograph, Hong Kong TV Reporter (1993), features Yolanda Choy-Tang before she abandoned her broadcasting career to establish Central Weddings, the Private Wine Company and the non-profit organisation EcoDrive.
See also: Wolfgang Tillmans And David Zwirner Land In Hong Kong
For his 2020 exhibition at David Zwirner in Hong Kong, Luc Tuymans made several paintings that referenced Hong Kong and China, including this piece, Shenzhen (2019). Tuymans painted this from a screenshot of a documentary he was watching on his laptop, hence the play, rewind and fast-forward buttons. The skyscraper at its centre, KK100, can often be seen from Hong Kong.
See also: HKwalls 2021: 4 Hong Kong Street Artists Share What Inspires Their Work