Something to do over the weekend

Macau seems to have more sculpture shows than casinos, than egg tarts – than Hong Kong. The Making of Civilization is an exhibition of contemporary Mainland works in Macau’s old vaguely fascistic art deco/neo-classical courthouse, next to the Metropole Hotel, across from the north end of Yaohan department store, at the top of Avenida de Praia Grande. 

It’s probably the sort of thing you wander into if you happen to be passing. You think it might be interesting to see the interior of the building, though little original detail remains apart from a staircase. But at least you get out of the sun and the heat. And you get away from the Mainland tourists, who do not come to Sin City to view art from their homeland. Apart from the cluster of Macau civil servants sitting redundant at the door and a Filipino security guard cautioning against using camera flashes, there are few people around – just a few of those curious, studious young locals who somehow manage to survive an education system geared up to producing croupiers.

The thing is that the phrase ‘contemporary Chinese art’ can set alarm bells ringing. I’ve just Googled the word ‘Sinoploitation’. Well, it exists now. It’s that cynical, technically proficient but absurdly corny portrayal of things that rich but shallow Western collectors think are authentic China: chests, silks, scrolls, lithe beauties in cheongsam, or red stars, green uniforms, Mao stuff and lithe beauties in People’s Liberation Army fatigues. But it’s not all like that; the big collectors now are increasingly from China itself, and they presumably don’t want the artistic equivalent of General Tso’s chicken and fortune cookies.

Around half a dozen sculptors are exhibited here for the next month or so. You are greeted by a huge red plastic male nude grinning at the bottom of the stairs.  Some of the works are amusing, like the little boy-men on pedestals. Others, like the life-size woman on her knees apparently in distress are slightly disturbing. The one apparent nod to Sinoploitation, Fat Brown Cadre on Western Sofa (I should have noted its real title), is actually quite funny and possibly a bit subversive…. 

Then it gets weird… 

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8 Responses to Something to do over the weekend

  1. Joe Blow says:

    That’s not a ‘Western Sofa’: that a faux-leather, pink ‘Lai Chi Kok’ sofa, to be found in virtually every new residential development-flat north of Boundary Street, in a variety of tasteful shades (aubergine, apple green, olive, powder blue and, of course, ‘red fish’-red.

  2. Real Tax Payer says:

    I sometimes wonder what people think “art” really is these days, unless it’s to create the most wierd, ugly and obscene thngs possible.

    I have a small collection of semi-modern / semi-classical style Chinese water color paintings that I bought many years ago in China before prices went haywire. They are truly beautiful as any visitor to my home agrees, whether western of Asian.

    But this kind of stuff in Macau I would not put anywhere in my home ( if I had a home big enough) even if you paid me a million dollars ( that’s US$)

    I recall many years ago listening to a BBC radio program about modern music and a new ultra-modern piece was played . It was introduced roughly as follows : ” This is modern piece played with just two cow horns in totally different out-of-tune keys that are blown irregularly and out of synchronisation with each other over a long period time . The object of this ‘musical’ piece is to create a feeling of intense annoyance in the mind of the listener “

  3. Big Al says:

    Art is a disease, and being artistic is a symptom. ‘Nuff said.

  4. Walter De Havilland says:

    I once found myself sheltering from the rain in the Feren’s Art gallery in Hull. On entering I was greeted by what I can only describe as white stalagmites raising from the floor. I was rather taken with this display and asked a staff members its name. “Piss Holes in the Snow” came the dry reply, followed by a explanation that the artist had relieved himself in the snow and then taken a plaster cast of the resulting holes, which are inverted to create the stalagmites. Now that’s true art or was the artist taking the piss?

  5. Real Tax Payer says:

    Truly the emperor has no clothes

  6. Propagandist says:

    Anyone travelling back to HK via plane rather than ferry will discover themselves subjected to a propaganda video at the baggage carousel, propounding (guess what) the necessity of a third runway, lest HK fall behind Beijing and Shanghai and other cities in the region. No idea who the speaker is but he looks appropriately grave and respectable and his bookshelves are veritably crammed with vague and impressive looking awards and certificates.

    I may be undecided on the runway but I’d rather spend my time looking at ‘modern art’ than taking in such loathsome opportunist propaganda, and that is saying something.

  7. Real Tax Payer says:

    Seeing Yingluck Shinawatra ‘s lovely pic today as Thailand’s new PM makes me think that we had a CE who looked as beautiful as that I wouldn’t give a fig what color her politics were 🙂

    “Poetry in motion…… “

  8. PropertyDeveloper says:

    A little like Tiger Balm Gardens, but without the talent.

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