Cover Chimerical Villages #5 (2022) by Daphné Mandel. (Image: Gallery Exit and the artist)

In time for the slight lifting of social restrictions this month, check out these April exhibitions: from Hong Kong’s old villages to New York pop art’s forerunners to master photographer Fan Ho

1. PHD Group: Virtue Village: Village Porn

Virtue Village, formed by artists Joseph Chen and Cas Wong who named their group after old public housing estate blocks in Kowloon City, likes exploring topics of queer subculture, fetishes, transhumanism and contemporary spirituality. Their latest show reflects on how rural life and ancient rituals are reinterpreted by contemporary society: machinery and cyborgian identities replace farm animals and offer the possibility of a transhuman existence; gatherings remain seductive in the modern era even when ancient rituals are commodified as charm and trinket. Through the show, the duo ask the question: in the post-internet, post-human world, what does it mean to build, live in and reproduce as a "village"? 

April 16 to July 2. Property Holdings Development Group, Goose Neck Bridge, Causeway Bay. Find out more at phdgroup.art

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2. Tang Contemporary: Smile at the Flower Sermon

Considered part of the Chinese Cynical Realist art movement, contemporary Chinese oil painter Yue Minjun likes depicting himself frozen in laughter to mock the absurdity of his socio-political surroundings. This first collaboration with Tang Contemporary marks the artist’s return after a ten-year hiatus and features more than 20 works from his Laughter series and the new Flower series, created since the pandemic began.

Until April 30. 10/F H Queen’s, 80 Queen's Road Central.Find out more at tangcontemporary.com. Viewings by appointment only.

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3. Opera Gallery: Basquiat, Haring, Scharf

The group exhibition celebrates three American pop art icons: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf, who were simultaneously friends and rivals active in New York’s East Village during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Despite their stylistic differences, they often explored the same street art subjects. The show presents 40 artworks which reflect their shared belief: art is meant to be universal and accessible by the young.

April 1 to 30. 9 Queen’s Road Central The Galleria, Shop G-08 G-09, Central. Find out more at operagallery.com. Viewings by appointment only.

Read more: How to See Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat Works in Hong Kong this April

4. Gallery Exit: Hong Kong Time Rift

French urban artist Daphné Mandel, who co-founded the Parisian landscape architecture and urban planning firm Gilot&Mandel Paysage, moved to Hong Kong in 2008 and fell in love with old villages and buildings in the city.

Her first solo exhibition with Gallery Exit showcases recent and new mixed media paper works and video works, in which she captures the hidden ruins she recently visited and the abandoned objects that carry the memories and stories of the former inhabitants.

April 30 to May 28, 2022. 3/F, Blue Box Factory Building, 25 Hing Wo Street, Aberdeen. Find out more at galleryexit.com. Viewings by appointment only.

5. Alisan Fine Arts Aberdeen: Through the Lenses

This group exhibition celebrates International Women’s Day by featuring four photographers from different cultures and backgrounds, including New York-based photographer Cai Wen-You, who explores generational gaps, Hanzhou photographer Chu Chu, whose practice also encompasses in calligraphy, Los Angeles-born photographer Barbara Edelstein, whose work reflects her fascination with leaves, and Taiwanese photographer Isa Ho, who prints surrealist images on aluminium boards.

From March 26 to May 31, 2022. Alisan Fine Arts Aberdeen, 2305, Hing Wai Industrial Centre, 7 Tin Wan Praya Road. Find out more at alisan.com.hk

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6. White Cube: Half of a Yellow Sun

Ghanaian author and artist Ibrahim Mahama uses materials gathered from urban environments in his installations, in which he transforms the original use of the materials to explore themes of commodity, migration, globalisation and economic exchange. Inspired by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2006 novel, after which Mahama’s exhibition is named, and political activist Fela Kuti, the show features a selection of new fabric paintings that explore cultural identities since Africa gained independence from colonial British rule.

April 8 to May 14, 2022. 50 Connaught Road Central, Central. Find out more at whitecube.com

7. Blindspot Gallery: Trevor Yeung: Not Everything Is about You

Hong Kong artist Trevor Yeung is known for using plants in his installations. His latest show reflects on the strain on interaction and self-isolation during the pandemic. Highlights include Mr Cuddles (double falling), a new work that features two Pachira trees, commonly known as money trees, dangling from the ceiling in unnatural positions; Sink If You Don’t Move (2022), in which small coral carcasses disturb the sleeper’s rest and sense of security beneath the bedsheets; and Trapped Fish (2021), in which a lost koi in an overgrown pond is unaware of its predicament.

Until May 7, 2022. 15/F, Po Chai Industrial Building, 28 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang. Find out more at blindspotgallery.com

8. Empty Gallery: Bad Timing

Hong Kong-based performer and provocateur Xper.Xr, who made his name as the city’s first noise artist, returns with a new series of artwork after nearly three decades. Informed by his views of political strife and the elite’s abdication of responsibility, his new paintings depict an international cast of financiers, technocrats and religious leaders, whom he considers “socio-political bad actors”. Each piece makes a sardonic reference to a classic pop song in a statement on how the exercise of societal power and how the culture industry operates are interlinked.

April 2 to June 4, 2022. 18 and 19/F, Grand Marine Center, 3 Yue Fung Street, Tin Wan. Find out more at emptygallery.com

9. Boogie Woogie: Roger Ballen & Andrew Luk: Zodiac

This group exhibition explore two different artists’ perception of the zodiac. New York-born, South Africa-based photographer Roger Ballen, known for developing a style he describes as “documentary fiction” photography in the 1990s, loves integrating photography and art.

The Hong Kong exhibition showcases 12 of Ballen’s photographs themed around the animals of the Chinese zodiac, which includes images taken from exhibits of major museums in the world. On the other hand, Andrew Luk, a US-born, Hong Kong-based artist, created installations such as The Refrigerator of Curious Cosmologies, which explores time-keeping and navigation.

April 2 to May 7, 2022. The Loft, E Wah Factory Building, Wong Chuk Hang. Find out more at boogiewoogiephotography.com

Editor's note: Social distancing rules are currently in force for various businesses and venues in Hong Kong, please make sure you follow the latest government guidelines and be responsible when participating in public events. All the events mentioned in the article are still happening on the date of original publication, please refer to the event organisers’ official websites and social media platforms for the latest information.

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