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Young Hong Kong Architects get creative at Venice Biennale

by Sophie Cullen on Jun 6, 2016 in Architecture , Lifestyle
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Honourable guests officiate the opening of the Hong Kong exhibit in Venice (All images courtesy HKIA)

Honourable guests officiate the opening of the Hong Kong exhibit in Venice (All images courtesy HKIA)

Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice has officially opened at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale) 

Hong Kong’s contribution to the international exhibition is inspired by ancient Chinese military strategies, as outlined in the essay The 36 Stratagems, and features 13 exhibits by local young architects and artists.

Returning once again to the historic location of Arsenale in Venice, the Hong Kong exhibition is co-organised by the Hong Kong Institute of Architects Biennale Foundation (HKIABF) and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC), partnered with Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) and sponsored by Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Chief curator Stanley Siu gave the Chinese Minister for Arts and Culture a private tour of the exhibit

Chief curator Stanley Siu gave the Chinese Minister for Arts and Culture a private tour of the exhibit

In view of Hong Kong's distinctive social climate as well as unique urban challenges and public needs, 17 young architects and artists from Hong Kong, including Stanley Siu, chief curator of the exhibition, respond to the Venice Biennale's overall theme of ‘Reporting from the Front’ by demonstrating how local architects attempt to address the needs of the public and the challenges faced by professionals in the region.

Ideas tackled include: how to deal with the territory’s unique spatial problems; improving sustainability through high-rise structures; preservation of historic buildings and heritage spaces; and improving livability for those in lower income brackets.

“Inspired by The 36 Stratagems, we aim to blend in ancient Chinese military wisdom and demonstrate how we overcome our own challenges and adversities in the battlegrounds at the frontier of architecture and art. Such is also an important characteristic defining Hong Kong, its spirit of perseverance and capability to turn adversities into opportunities," notes Siu.

Siu's own exhibit was constructed from bunk beds to reference the cramped living environments often seen in Hong Kong

Siu’s own exhibit was constructed from bunk beds to reference the cramped living environments often seen in Hong Kong

The opening was marked by a traditional Chinese lion dance in Venice, performed by a young troupe who travelled especially for the event from Rome. A selection of honourable guests from across the globe came together to celebrate the opening with the exhibitors, such as Alice Choi – deputy representative of Hong Kong Economic Trade Office, Brussels; William Tseng – chairman of HKIABF; Winsome Chow – chief executive of HKADC; and Vincent Ng – president of HKIA.

"We have celebrated HKADC's 20th anniversary since mid-2015 and have been strengthening our overseas promotion of Hong Kong's art and artists. We are proud to present this exhibition that demonstrates the contemporary voices of Hong Kong's young generation on this world stage. Many of our artists are ready to go on to different international platforms to connect to people in other regions, and the HKADC will strive to facilitate the process and build up strategic partnerships with our different counterparts in the world," said Winsome Chow, chief executive of HKADC.

Each exhibitor chose one of the stratagems to illustrate through their work. Aden Chan's Memory Tanks references stratagem 30, 'Exchange the Role of Guest for the Host'

Each exhibitor chose one of the stratagems to illustrate through their work. Aden Chan’s Memory Tanks references stratagem 30, ‘Exchange the Role of Guest for the Host’

Following on from the opening celebrations, a symposium titled The Frontier of Young Architects in Asia was held at the site. Including guests from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and China, the discussion focused on the role of young architects in the region and the different challenges faced in each country.

Located opposite the main entrance to Arsenale, the captivating exhibition will run until November, with a Hong Kong iteration being held later in the year.

Details

Until 27/11/2016

10am – 6pm
(10am – 8pm on Fridays
and Saturdays from 28/5 – 24/9)

Closed on Mondays
(except 30/5, 5/9, 31/10, 21/11)

Campo della Tana
Castello 2126, 30122 Venice
(opposite the main entrance of Arsenale)

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