Skip to content

Category: art

3 Essential Ingredients for a Balloon Takeover

A lot of my friends currently live in London for school and for work. When French photographer Charles Pétillon debuted his series Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery there, I was insanely jealous everyone else got to see it while I was stuck in Hong Kong. Beautiful pictures began popping up on Instagram, reminding me of what I was missing. But in a strange twist of events, I discovered that Invasions was debuting in Shanghai during the period I was visiting the city in early June.

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Pétillon’s main balloon installation spans across an entire gallery space, a feat that would be out of the question in Hong Kong given the lack of land here. I couldn’t miss it. Although I would’ve preferred to see Invasions on a weekday where it would inevitably be less crowded, my short stay in Shanghai was limited to the weekend, so I chanced my visit early on Sunday morning.

The exhibition was empty when I arrived. But after an hour or so, girls with their friends, boyfriends and mothers (!) began flooding in to take photos after photos for their Wechat and Weibo platforms. Pétillon’s Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery was a success. So much that weeks after my visit, when I checked back in on social media, the white balloons of the main installation had all wilted from the constant physical contact from visitors.
 

Installation

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Do the wilted balloons mean a lack of respect for the art? Either way, it is undeniably funny – maybe sadly so, but still funny. And whether or not the visitors who contributed to the mess really wanted to seek out the meaning behind Pétillon’s work, Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery has no doubt been successful in garnering attention in London and in Shanghai.

So without further ado, let me tell you the formula for making your own art just as successful as Pétillon’s – otherwise known as the 3 Essential Ingredients for a Balloon Takeover.

1. Make it white

Speaking as a self-proclaimed #whiteaddict like your typical young woman, I suggest you to use white for your work. It is a neutral colour that is handily girly. Of course, Pétillon’s balloons have actual reasons for being white. The lack of colour is a representation of impartiality and emptiness.

2. Make it big

If there’s one thing that makes a statement, it would be size. Invasions first debuted in London with an installation called Heartbeat consisting of 100,000 white balloons that swamped Covent Garden Market from floor to ceiling. Art surprises, shocks, and engages. It makes you gape. It makes you angry. It makes you think. The empty white baubles of Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery definitely captures the attention of the public.

Scroll down to the next section for the last point…
 

Photography

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Charles Pétillon, Balloon Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery

Apart from the overbearing white balloons taking over the exhibition space, Pétillon’s Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery also features his past physical installations from all around the world in a series of photographs. In every shot, a cluster of empty baubles overflows otherwise insignificant spaces, like a vacant house or an empty basketball court.

3. Make it art (give it meaning)

Did you know that the main spiral of white that viewers walk into when they visit Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery aims to replicate a vortex representative of a life never-ending?

Yes, it’s more than just an Instagram-worthy snapshot.

Using the balloon, a universal and accessible object, Pétillon highlights forgotten spaces all over the globe, from small towns in France to beaches in England to mountains in Italy. He touches on issues surrounding the way humans interact with nature and addresses the disappearance of certain environments. The resulting photographs are eerily creepy.

You can do the same. Make sure your own work has a back story. It doesn’t have to be life-changing, it can simply be a self-reflection. Anything goes.

—–

Invasions ran from May 14 to June 20 in Shanghai.

Magda Danysz Gallery
188 Lin Qing Road, Yangpu District, Shanghai
+021 5513 9599
http://magdagallery.com/

Although Invasions in Magda Danysz Gallery Shanghai is over, it will return for the last time to Paris from 3 December 2016 to 21 January 2017. If you’re spending Christmas and New Years in the beautiful country of France (I’m jealous), be sure to check out Pétillon’s work for yourself.
 

Shanghai series:

If you enjoyed this post and want to get updates on my journey around the world before they even hit this blog, make sure to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to charmainenyw.com’s mailing list!

53 Comments

The Best Takeaway Lessons from Hong Kong Art Week

I’ve been super busy recently because I joined the student journalism program Cultural Journalism Campus and was selected as one of the nine fellows in 2016. Basically, the program gave me access to the art scene during Hong Kong’s art week in March 2016, where I had the privilege to attend Art Basel, Art Central, Asia Contemporary Art Show and many other gallery openings, cocktail parties and auctions. It was a dream come true for me and it reconnected me with fine art – which has always been my passion before I started specialising in architecture.

Cultural Journalism Campus 2016

The works and exhibitions in the photos below:

  • A Path To Life solo exhibition of artist Li Yonggeng at Galerie du Monde
  • Mill6 Foundation’s Social Fabric pop-up exhibition of artists Mariana Hahn and Kwan Sheung-chi at The Annex
  • Statement 3: New Sculpture from Germany exhibition at Goethe-Institut Hong Kong

Read more: art review of A Path To Life, an opinion about Social Fabric and art report publication of Social Fabric
 

Art Basel 2016

Cultural Journalism Campus media tag for Art Basel 2016

Cultural Journalism Campus booth at Art Basel 2016

Cultural Journalism Campus meeting Mark Spiegler, the global director of Art Basel

My job for Cultural Journalism Campus throughout the week was to interview and report on the big names, gallerists, artists and anyone involved, which I was more than willing to do so. Art and writing – my favourites (stick food in and it’ll be even better).

We even got to meet and interview Mark Spiegler, the global director of Art Basel! I got to stand beside him in the photo we took above haha. *starstruck*

If there’s one thing I regret, it’s not being able to spend more time on the program. You guys know I study full time (and it’s the beginning of deadlines galore) and work part time, so I had to miss some lessons, take time off work and skip some events in order to do everything… mediocrely. I could’ve done better if I wasn’t so swamped, but what can you do? It was an opportunity I just could not miss!
 

A Path To Life

A Path To Life exhibition by Li Yonggeng at Galerie du Monde

Before Art Basel 2016, the Cultural Journalism Campus fellows visited A Path To Life solo exhibition of artist Li Yonggeng at Galerie du Monde. We were led by John Batten, a Hong Kong-based writer, art critic, curator and organiser. It was a delight to meet such a big influencer in Hong Kong’s art circle and learn from him as he talked through how the gallery owners worked behind the scenes in the city.

A Path To Life really resonated with me, especially the piece I’ve featured in the picture above. It’s called Straddling, an installation by Li Yonggeng. I even wrote an art review on it.
 

Social Fabric

Mill6 Foundation, Social Fabric pop-up exhibition of artists Mariana Hahn and Kwan Sheung-chi at The Annex

Mill6 Foundation, Social Fabric pop-up exhibition of artists Mariana Hahn and Kwan Sheung-chi at The Annex

Mill6 Foundation, Social Fabric pop-up exhibition of artists Mariana Hahn and Kwan Sheung-chi at The Annex

Mill6 Foundation, Social Fabric pop-up exhibition of artists Mariana Hahn and Kwan Sheung-chi at The Annex

Mill6 Foundation, Social Fabric pop-up exhibition of artists Mariana Hahn and Kwan Sheung-chi at The Annex

Mill6 Foundation, Social Fabric pop-up exhibition of artists Mariana Hahn and Kwan Sheung-chi at The Annex

Mill6 Foundation, Social Fabric pop-up exhibition of artists Mariana Hahn and Kwan Sheung-chi at The Annex

Mill6 Foundation, Social Fabric pop-up exhibition of artists Mariana Hahn and Kwan Sheung-chi at The Annex

Lastly, this year’s Cultural Journalism Campus program was kindly brought to life and highly supported by Mill6 Foundation. Social Fabric, their Spring 2016 pop-up exhibition featuring artists Mariana Hahn and Kwan Sheung-chi was held at The Annex. Throughout the week, although we, as students of the program, were free to roam around Art Basel 2016 as we pleased, we were also given one specific task we had to complete. Mine in particular was to go to the press opening of Social Fabric and to write a report on it.

Because of this, I spent much more time on this exhibition than any of my peers did, because we frequently revisited it, even at subsequent media conferences and more. I had multiple opportunities to interview the artists and the the public who were viewing the exhibition. I felt like I had a deeper understanding of the artist’s works and how the exhibition was curated as a whole.

Feel free to read my opinion piece on the exhibition and my art report publication for Cultural Journalism Campus.
 

Statement 3: New Sculpture From Germany

Statement 3 New Sculpture from Germany exhibition at Goethe-Institut Hong Kong

Statement 3 New Sculpture from Germany exhibition at Goethe-Institut Hong Kong

Statement 3 New Sculpture from Germany exhibition at Goethe-Institut Hong Kong

Statement 3 New Sculpture from Germany exhibition at Goethe-Institut Hong Kong

Statement 3 New Sculpture from Germany exhibition at Goethe-Institut Hong Kong

Statement 3 New Sculpture from Germany exhibition at Goethe-Institut Hong Kong

Statement 3 New Sculpture from Germany exhibition at Goethe-Institut Hong Kong

Statement 3 New Sculpture from Germany exhibition at Goethe-Institut Hong Kong

One last highlight (of many!) I’ll be writing about was the Cultural Journalism Campus team visit to Goethe-Institut Hong Kong located in Wan Chai. We were there to visit the Statement 3: New Sculpture from Germany exhibition. The curator and staff took us on a tour where we got to ask many questions about how the exhibition was put together and why they specifically included what they included.

—–

Y’know, despite the rushed deadlines and crazy schedule, I’m really glad I took aboard this opportunity. The most eye-opening part for me was listening to the talks at Art Basel 2016, one of which had Vivienne Chow and John Batten on the stage talking about being an art writer in Hong Kong. I know that culture journalism overseas has a much bigger market than in this city, so it really smacked some sense into me about pursuing a career in this direction. Long story short, you’ll love what you do, but the salary will be measly – if you’re lucky enough to be employed. But hey, that’s why I quit Architecture and decided to do a masters in Journalism, right? I knew it was coming anyway and I have faith in myself!

Read more: art review of A Path To Life, an opinion about Social Fabric and art report publication of Social Fabric
 

Other art exhibitions you will love:

If you enjoyed this post and want to be in the know about art exhibitions before they even hit this blog, make sure to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to charmainenyw.com’s mailing list!

Leave a Comment

The Minimalist Art Exhibition That Is Drawing in the Crowds

A huge number of people were uploading Instagram pictures with the location tag at White Cube lately, and all of these pictures were of themselves in a plain, minimalist space. Obviously, judging by these photos and the types of people posting them, they were not there to admire the Darren Almond: Time and Being exhibition, but rather to take pretty pictures of themselves. I say that with no sarcasm, by the way. And I will be the first to admit that although I love art and architecture, having studied both, sometimes I just feel narcissistic. So I dressed to match the white gallery space (I love it!) and basically forced Jason to be my photographer.

Darren Almond: Time and Being at White Cube Gallery, Hong Kong

This blog post will be broken down into a few sections. Unlike my previous posts, I’ve decided to take you around Hong Kong with me. Usually I spend my time at home, but this particular day, I visited many interesting hotspots before settling at the Darren Almond: Time and Being exhibition. So without further ado, lets begin!
 

Outfit of the Day

OOTD Outfit of the day - H&M, Nike Roshe Runs, ALAND

Lets do the order a little differently and start off with my outfit of the day. Not because I’m particularly favourable of my clothing choices or anything, ahem, haha. I decided on a monochrome colour scheme for reasons I’ve mentioned above (that I am a narcissist). My oversized grey jumper was bought from H&M many years ago. It’s been overstretched so much I’m surprised it hasn’t disintegrated into shreds yet. I paired it with black leggings, again, from H&M and wore my black Nike black Roshe Runs. But the star of the show? My new ALAND baseball cap. I had it on backwards too, like all the cool kids style their caps. Yeah, this is me, totally trying to look swag.

Oh, and by the way: you can totally look younger with a cap. I went to buy the Mark 6 in this outfit and the woman behind the counter asked if I was 18 yet. Yeah, I wish. Sadly I’m turning 23 in April – sad times.

PMQ in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

PMQ in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

PMQ in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

I got my outfit picture taken at PMQ. If you’re even the least bit familiar with Hong Kong, you’d know that the abbreviations stand for Police Married Headquarters, which the building formerly was. It’s an uphill walk from MTR Sheung Wan Station and is a revitalised creative hub for local designers and artists. It’s home to a range of designers selling their own brands of jewellery, fashion and more. And lastly, many events are also held on the central ground floor space.
 

Pressed Juices

Pressed Juices Hong Kong

Pressed Juices Hong Kong

Pressed Juices Hong Kong

Since I was a bit thirsty, we made a stop at the juicery Pressed Juices which was on the way back down to the city on Hollywood Road. It was definitely a bit pricey, as with all juicing stops in Hong Kong. I got the especially expensive Greens 1 juice which is a cold-pressed mixture of spinach, cucumber, celery, lettuce, kale and parsley. If I remember correctly, it was HKD$70 when the majority of the other juices were $60. But it was worth the money being a healthy refreshing drink to make my walk back down to the MTR Station slightly more pleasant.
 

Darren Almond: Time and Being

Darren Almond: Time and Being at White Cube Gallery, Hong Kong

Darren Almond: Time and Being at White Cube Gallery, Hong Kong

Darren Almond: Time and Being at White Cube Gallery, Hong Kong

Darren Almond: Time and Being at White Cube Gallery, Hong Kong

Darren Almond: Time and Being at White Cube Gallery, Hong Kong

Darren Almond: Time and Being at White Cube Gallery, Hong Kong

Time and Being is British artist Darren Almond‘s first exhibition in Hong Kong. The showcase at White Cube gallery in Central features two new series of paintings and sculptures. Almond has been interested in the theme of time and existence since his first live broadcast piece in the 90’s, and Time and Being is an address of his interpretation of temporality.

Spanning two floors of White Cube, the ground floor gallery displays three flip-clock sculptures and multi-panel mirror pieces, both expressing the notion of numbers to represent unification. From finance to science, numbers are used universally and are understood no matter the culture and language. The first floor gallery focuses on new paintings of nocturnal landscapes. Inspired by the night sky during a full-moon photographic shoot and having already looked at the position of stars in his previous pieces, Almond examines the colours of the void space instead through this series of works.

Darren Almond: Time and Being
White Cube Hong Kong, 50 Connaught Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2592 2000
http://whitecube.com/
 

International Women’s Day

Lancôme's promotion of International Women's Day

It was also the weekend before International Women’s Day and when we got to Causeway Bay, Lancôme was doing a promotion where if you sampled their lipstick, then they’ll donate to charity. And… they’ll also give you pink balloons and roses. It was a nice gesture, and although I wiped the shocking pink lipstick off almost right after (I really don’t like make-up!), I was totally sold by the balloons and rose LOL.
 

Elephant Grounds

Elephant Grounds in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

We ended the night with dinner at Elephant Grounds – the last time I was there was back when the Causeway Bay branch was still in its soft opening phase. This time though, I was back at dinner time, so the menu was slightly different (not to mention the menu has naturally gone through a few changes now that it’s officially open). We ordered a Cobb Salad, a Vietnamese Pho with slow-cooked beef short ribs and bean sprouts, and Black Garlic Fries that came with a black garlic mayo sauce.
 

Other art exhibitions you will love:

If you enjoyed this post and want to be in the know about art exhibitions before they even hit this blog, make sure to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to charmainenyw.com’s mailing list!

Leave a Comment