artsy days

“If we could distill it and make it readily available to us at all times, which part of our lives would we want to live again? Or are we contented with just a memory, half remembered, weighted, fanciful, dreamy and a departure from reality.”

I went to an Asian Contemporary Art Show on Saturday and this was what an Australian artist wrote as the painting description. These two sentences are just so beautiful, they connect to me every time I read them, especially the second line. Sometimes it just seems like the present is seamlessly linked to the past (and the future of course) and I wonder, if the role of the present is simply to become a part of our past. Because things, more often than not, appear as a jumbled mess in the present and it’s the yesterdays that make more sense and seem so…precious, even though I dont really want to relive them. A complicated feeling towards yesterdays. Some things seem so mundane and normal now so much so that I’ve to put in effort consciously to remind myself how fortunate I’m and how amazing things have turned out to be. I am sure when it becomes a fragment of my past, I’ll look back and appreciate these times a lot more than I do now.

I went to the museum of arts at Tsimshatsui and the atmosphere was really serious, many families were out there and people were reading the descriptions and studying the artifacts pretty seriously. The exhibitions were okay actually, having gone to the museum in shanghai a while back and the one in beijing last year, chinese pottery and paintings seem normal. But the angle was different, here they pointed out the seals on the chinese paintings and how each buyer of the painting would put his own seal on it when he/ she acquired it. Hence a painting with a higher number of seals means that it has changed more hands. There is a really interesting exhibition here as well because in the past, many westerners came to hongkong and so the locals actually tried to copy some of the western artworks. What the exhibition did was it placed the originals beside the copied ones and they compared them, i.e. what went wrong/ was missing in the copied one or what was good about it.

There was a very nice exhibition on paintings, I love that exhibition very much but it’s a pity that I couldn’t take photos inside. I remember that there were two paintings next to each other, one showing just a table with teapot and cups on it (supposed to depict the end of a party) and the other was the same table but it was now empty and the back of a man. I wonder which is sadder, 曲終人散 or 難捨難離.

Even the museum has a sea view, it’s so crazy.:)

It was quite an artsy week for me actually, I went to the Asia Contemporary Art Show in a hotel at Wanchai on saturday in a hotel with Constanza and some other people. They converted the hotel rooms into mini galleries so the artists displayed their art pieces the way they wanted to in the hotel rooms. Some people there actually were interested to buy them and were inquiring about the prices. I remember this guy expressed his interest for a wall painting and asked the artist for its price. The artist had to explain to him that the painting belongs to the hotel, it was quite an awkward moment.

On Sunday, I went to Macau with Koon Tong and Lauri. Macau is very different because it used to be ruled by the Portuguese, everything is bilingual in Chinese and Portuguese and that took me a while to get used to. Not only do the street names and menu look awkward, the buildings look quite awkward as well –  European buildings and Chinese structures in the same area. The streets are also very narrow, they kind of remind me of the streets in Vieux Lyon.

This is quite funny actually, thats the famous ruins of the St Paul cathedral and fancy decorations for the midautumn festival. Another thing that sets Macau apart from Hongkong is that people seem a lot more relaxed over here. We saw artists painting and people walking their dogs on the streets. Macau seems to have a more vibrant arts scene as well, on the way to the ruins of the St Paul cathedral, we chanced upon two rather big shops selling artistic stuff.

The macau experience is incomplete without a visit to the casinos. We went to play at the 10cents slot machines and I lost 10 HKD. Actually beside the casino in the cruise, this was the first time I actually stepped into the casinos. The hotels/ casinos were really grand, close to extravagant actually. We went to the high limit betting and watched how people bet a minimum 2000hkd for a round of black jack. The gamblers are all so young, probably just filthy rich kids.

That’s just the food court in the shopping mall linked to the casino at the Venetian (the casino is just a storey below it).

Yesterday I went to the beach with Lauri, which is a 10 minutes walk away from school. It’s deserted, maybe because it’s almost 30 storeys away from school. But it was nice, just the two of us playing chinese chess, listening to the waves and talking. It’s funny how I taught him the rules to play chinese chess and he couldn’t even tell the pieces apart initially but I ended up losing to him by a 双炮将 . It was quite a shame because the beach has quite a lot of trash and when I looked at them, I wondered where each of them came from, I imagined the stories each of them would tell. Apart from that, it’s a nice beach with very soft sand.

half way there, getting very close to the beach!:)

and I heard a lot about indie bookshop cafes in hong kong so I went to find them in the afternoon between my classes today! The bookshop that I wanted to find was closed for the day. But in the end, I tried to find another, and although it wasn’t actually an indie bookshop cafe, it was a secondhand bookshop with many (cheap!!!) books. It was quite difficult to find because the bookshops are not located on the ground floor, they are in one of the upper floors in a narrow building that is easy to miss. At the right hand side of the picture below, between the white sign board and a green sign board, there is something in brown. That’s the building with the bookshop.

The owner of the bookshop directed me to a nearby bookshop and  when I went to the other bookshop, it was just the shopowner and me. The bookshop has fewer books but it’s a very nice place. It looks like a house with a kitchen and the owner didn’t bother about me, she just went about knitting. So I sat there, read a book and enjoyed the very relaxing music. The thing about these bookshops in the busiest parts of hong kong is that the moment I stepped out of them, I felt like I was brought into another world, which is pretty much the reality with the hustle and bustle and with the tourists taking pictures.

Stumbled into a gallery on my way back to the Central MTR.

The artist said hello to me when I went in and after that she left me alone and she continued to use her computer in a small gallery. It’s funny to think that just one street down, it’s a big street with LV, A & F and Gucci. Hongkong is so random, so haphazard and so unique. There is no designated area for anything, which makes it hard to find one thing in particular unless you’re looking for pets/ flowers/ jades, but it makes walking on the streets truly enjoyable.

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