Cover The best art exhibitions to see this month. (Photo: Farzad Owrang. Courtesy of Josh Sperling and Perrotin)

May’s exhibitions challenge art traditions and imagination, featuring both prominent and rising artists

1. Lévy Gorvy: Eternal Seasons

This two-part exhibition explores how the seasons have been depicted in art over the past 150 years. The first instalment, which closed at the end of April, showcased pieces by impressionist masters such as Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The second, open now, moves into the late 20th century and present day, featuring works by big names such as Joan Mitchell, Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama and Zao Wou-ki.

Until May 31. Lévy Gorvy, Ground Floor, 2 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong. Find out more at

2. Hauser & Wirth: Jack Whitten

American abstractionist Jack Whitten gained fame from painting the surface of canvases in a way that transforms the material’s terrains. His work lies between mechanical automation and personal expression, as well as sculptures and paintings. For instance, Natural Selection (1995) was created through removing ‘tesserae’, the hardened acrylic units of paint, from dried acrylic paint moulds and applying them on to a canvas.

His first solo exhibition in Asia features rarely seen paintings, sculpture and works on paper from the 1960s through 2010s.

Until July 31. 16-15/F, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong. Find out more at

3. Alisan Fine Arts: Chu Teh-Chun

The late Chinese-French abstract artist Chu Teh-Chun was a pioneer of fusing western abstract art with traditional Chinese calligraphy. He studied at China’s National School of Fine Arts—alongside fellow superstars Zao Wou-ki and Wu Guanzhong—before moving in 1956 to Paris, where his style matured and where he lived until his death in 2014.

As part of Le French May festival, Alisan Fine Arts is showing 16 pieces by Chu, most of them works on paper. A documentary about Chu’s life will also be screened at Tai Kwun in June.

Until May 12 to July 10. 21/F Lyndhurst Tower, 1 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong. Find out more at

4. Ben Brown: What Is A Head?

After its launch in London, this exhibition, which features paintings of human heads by two of Britain’s leading figurative painters, Frank Auerbach and Tony Bevan, comes to Hong Kong.

Inspired by the philosophers Descartes, Sartre and Heidegger, Auerbach explores the complexities of the mind, while Bevan focuses on muscle and sinew—the physicality of the head. Together, they reflect on and reshape the way we see one of the most common subjects in art.

From May 15. 202, The Factory, 1 Yip Fat St, Wong Chuk Hang. Find out more at

5. Villepin: Myonghi Kang

Korean artist Myonghi Kang has been exploring ways of representing nature on paper and canvas where she combines elements of painting, poetry as well as philosophy for more than five decades. By applying oils and pastels to create abstraction and figuration, Kang reconnects urban dwellers with nature through her meditative paintings and questions the notions of perception, embodiment and understanding of nature.

“Myonghi Kang has continuously sought new ways to capture our world which is in constant transformation and often threatened by extinction. Her art represents a sanctuary in which a lively dialogue is still possible between us and nature. That is why we wanted to share the ultimate experience of her creations with the people of Hong Kong,” comments Arthur de Villepin, the gallery’s co-founder.

From May 17 to October. G-2/F, 53-55 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong. Find out more at

6. Blue Lotus Gallery: Nude Studies

Three analog photographers showcase the possibilities of representing the human body, an age-old subject among artists, in contemporary times.

Michael Kenna, who specialises in minimal black-and-white aesthetics, photographs the human figure for the first time with his signature style; Au Tze Long’s intimate and personal works toy with colours and take the female gaze to reflect on dreams, rituals and reality; Ben Felten uses cynotype printing, developed in sunlight, to create double exposures of plants on nudes.

May 13 to June 13. Blue Lotus Gallery, G/F, 28 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. Find out more at

7. Gagosian: Horizontals

American artist Mark Grotjahn is in-demand—last year Gagosian sold one of his paintings for US$5 million—so collectors will be clamouring to get their hands on works from this exhibition, which is Grotjahn’s first in Hong Kong. Los Angeles-based Grotjahn is one of the most famous abstract painters alive, renowned for his explorations of perspective, colour, gesture and geometry.  

May 18 to August 7. 7/F, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong. Find out more

8. Para Site: Curtain

By drawing upon the mundane materiality of the curtain and its scenographic functions across cultures, 27 artists create on-site installations or individual pieces that reinterpret our understanding of passages, frontiers, separations and connections.

In particular, some artworks unveil forgotten histories, raise critical questions in the age of surveillance by examining the production of the image, and project information distribution in a post-Covid-19 pandemic world.

May 15 to July 25. 22/F, Wing Wah Industrial Building, 677 King’s Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong; and Para/Site Art Space, 2 Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. Find out more at

9. Axel Vervoordt Gallery: Screenplay

Dutch artist Germaine Kruip’s first presentation in Hong Kong is a dialogue between light and sound, which comes from her long-term practice of producing sculptures and immaterial pieces that bring music, theatre and visual arts together.

Accompanied by traditional theatre lighting techniques, the interactive show invites viewers to activate the sculptural percussion instruments, such as brass, silver and nickel rhombuses which can be used as professional instruments, which echo with each other to create a contemplative and sensorial choreography.

May 15 to July 10. 21F, Coda Designer Building, 62 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong. Find out more at

10. Perrotin: Spectrum

American contemporary artist Josh Sperling made his name with his minimalist sculptural paintings. The artist enjoys using his signature palette of saturated pop art colours. He slices stretched canvases into wavy lines and construct them over three-dimensional layered plywood structures. Through interlocking the curved parts and geometric shapes, Sperling blurs the line between sculpture and painting materials.

This show features his highlight: “double bubble” tondos, which he introduced at the Shanghai show but will be different in colour when they arrive in Hong Kong.

May 8 to June 12. K11, Atelier, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Find out more at

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