Willem Molesworth Interview at HKTDC

de Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong
Willem Molesworth Interview at HKTDC

The latest addition to Wong Chuk Hang’s burgeoning art scene is French import de Sarthe gallery, which will open its second Hong Kong space in the neighbourhood.

Slated to be Hong Kong’s largest gallery at almost 10,000 square feet, its inaugural exhibition, Reversal Ritual, will include works by five up-and-coming Chinese artists: Liang Ban, Mak Ying Tung, Tong Kunniao, Wang Xin, and Xin Yunpeng. The show addresses the concept of “Carnivalesque,” an expression, developed by literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin, of an alternative world liberated from the social, political, cultural and religious structures.

“Carnivalesque is about subverting cultural norms, and I see a lot of that among the younger generation of Chinese artists – being grotesque and absurd for example – and this exhibition will highlight that trend,” says Gallery Director Willem Molesworth.

The exhibition, says Mr Molesworth, could only have been hosted in its new, expansive space as four of the works are installation-based. This includes Xin Yunpeng’s pair of cowboys straight out of a classic American western with their guns drawn. “As they spin, the question is who they’ll be interacting with – each other, the viewers – and we’ve placed them in a room of mirrors so it’ll create a very strange, other-worldly effect,” he says. Another highlight is Mak Ying Tung’s recreation of a 1980s karaoke stage, which will encourage people who visit the exhibition to step up to the stage and sing. 

Mr Molesworth says Hong Kong’s art audience expects more than what’s already available in other major creative centres. “They no longer want to see art that’s already been shown in New York and Paris; they want to see pieces that are new and cutting-edge.”

He adds that its inaugural exhibition is a typical representation of upcoming offerings, as it will focus on hosting large-scale, academically significant pieces. “Now we have the space, we’re not going to hold back.”