Shifting Objectives: Design from the M+ Collection
30 November 2016 – 5 February 2017

M+, the new museum of visual culture in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, today unveiled the exhibition Shifting Objectives: Design from the M+ Collection, the inaugural display of the museum’s groundbreaking design collection — the first of its kind in Asia. Opening to the public from 30 November 2016 until 5 February 2017, Shifting Objectives is the second show to be mounted at the new M+ Pavilion, a permanent space on the West Kowloon site that will host the museum’s exhibitions until the opening of the M+ building in late 2019.

Including more than 120 works spanning from 1937 until now that have been acquired, or are in the process of acquisition, by the museum, Shifting Objectives comprises two primary sections:

Histories” draws out some of the ways in which M+ is telling, constructing, and revisiting the historical narratives of design in Asia, within a global, transnational context. Spanning the second half of the 20th century, a series of five vignettes, or “rooms,” offer tightly-edited snapshots of how design helped shape, and was shaped by, the social, cultural, economic, and political milieus of, respectively, post-World War II Japan; post-independence India; China under Mao; and Hong Kong’s manufacturing and export heyday of the 1950s until the 1980s. The fifth “room” re-examines Postmodern design of the 1970s and 1980s, offering a different interpretation of that international phenomenon as seen primarily through the work of its Japanese practitioners. Highlights of the “Histories” section range from key designs by Kamekura Yusaku, Yanagi Sori, Charlotte Perriand, Kuramata Shiro and Ettore Sottsass, to Mao-era propaganda posters, iconic 1960s and 1970s plastics by the Hong Kong brand Red A, and an early example of the world’s first commercially successful electric rice cookers, produced by Toshiba beginning in 1955.

Constellations” takes a more open-ended approach to design, leaning towards the contemporary. Inviting audiences to form their own connections and interpretations, the approximately 40 works in this section, arranged in an open field, suggest the many ways of situating design and the object, whether through the reinvention of craft; assemblages of found objects; digitally-enabled design and fabrication processes; the reformulation of text, images, and interactions; the prism of power relations; or evolving notions of copying. Highlights range from important works by Japanese studio nendo, Hong Kong designer and artist Stanley Wong, Chinese designer Li Naihan, the Swedish group Front, and British designer Jasper Morrison, to the Sony AIBO (1999); the first releases of the emoji (1999 and 2002), designed by Kurita Shigetaka for NTT DOCOMO; and items recently acquired at Huaqiangbei, the electronics district of Shenzhen.

Shifting Objectives gives a preview of what our future exhibitions at the West Kowloon Cultural District will be – profound and revelatory, with a focus on the changing roles and meanings of culture in the 20th and 21st centuries, as seen from the museum’s vantage point in Asia,” said Duncan Pescod, Chief Executive Officer of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

“It's very exciting to be able to share with the public for the first time an exhibition from the M+ design holdings. This important collection-building work, unique to M+ and Hong Kong, has been taking place over the last four years and 'Shifting Objectives' premiers some of the highlights of our impressive collection,” said Suhanya Raffel, Executive Director of M+.

“Design is an expansive field that has evolved over the years, and the way we see, use, and make objects has changed accordingly. Design serves cultural, aesthetic, functional, political, economic, and ideological “objectives” that have “shifted” over time and across geographies. We hope the show’s title reflects that, and that audiences will come away with a greater appreciation of design’s scope and breadth,” said Aric Chen, Lead Curator for Design and Architecture at M+.

Shifting Objectives: Design from the M+ Collection is organised by Aric Chen, together with Jennifer Wong, Assistant Curator, Design and Architecture, with an exhibition design by COLLECTIVE and graphics by Toby Ng Design, both Hong Kong-based studios.  The M+ collection currently includes over 2,500 works of design and architecture out of a total collection of more than 6,000.

The exhibition will run from 30 November 2016 to 5 February 2017, opening from Wednesday to Sunday and public holidays, and from 11am to 6pm. On every Saturday and Sunday, and on public holidays during the exhibition period (except 25 December 2016, and 1, 28, and 29 January 2017), shuttle bus service will be available from 11am to 6pm between MTR Kowloon Station and the M+ Pavilion. For details please visit http://www.westkowloon.hk/shiftingobjectives.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Exhibition Period:
30 November 2016 – 5 February 2017
11 am – 6 pm
Wednesday to Sunday and public holidays (except 25 December 2016, and 1, 28, and 29 January 2017)

Location:
M+ Pavilion, West Kowloon Cultural District 

Admission
Free

Special transportation arrangement
On every Saturday and Sunday, and on public holidays during the exhibition period (except 25 December 2016 and 1, 28, and 29 January 2017), shuttle bus service will be available between MTR Kowloon Station and the M+ Pavilion from 11am to 6pm.

Talks
As part of the exhibition, M+ is presenting a series of free programmes including talks, guided tours, and events for teachers in order to provide a deeper understanding of the exhibition, and design, to the public. For details please visit http://www.westkowloon.hk/shiftingobjectives.

Remarks

About M+


Hong Kong’s museum for visual culture – encompassing twentieth and twenty-first century art, design and architecture, and moving image from Hong Kong, China, Asia, and beyond – M+ will be one of the largest museums of 20th and 21st century visual culture in the world. Located adjacent to the future waterfront park of the West Kowloon Cultural District, the museum building, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, is scheduled to open in 2019.

About West Kowloon Cultural District
Located on Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, the West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest cultural projects in the world. Its vision is to create a vibrant new cultural quarter for Hong Kong. With a complex of theatres, performance spaces, and M+, the West Kowloon Cultural District will produce and host world-class exhibitions, performances, and cultural events, as well as provide 23 hectares of public open space, including a two kilometre waterfront promenade.

Curators:

Aric Chen


Aric Chen is Lead Curator for Design and Architecture at M+. Previously, he served as Creative Director of Beijing Design Week, helping to oversee the successful launch of that event in 2011 and 2012. Prior to moving to Beijing, Chen was an independent curator, critic, and journalist based in New York, organizing exhibitions and projects at the Design Museum Holon, Design Miami/Basel, the Saint-Etienne International Design Biennale, Center for Architecture (New York), and ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam. He is the author of Brazilian Modern (Monacelli, 2016), and has been a frequent contributor to publications including The New York Times, Metropolis, Architectural Record, and PIN-UP.Chen received his BA in Architecture and BA in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley, and an MA in the History of Design, jointly offered by the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and Parsons School of Design in New York.

Jennifer Wong


Jennifer Wong is Assistant Curator for Design and Architecture at M+. Prior to joining the museum, she served as Research Assistant/Assistant Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, having interned at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Field Museum (Chicago), and National Art Museum of China (Beijing). Wong holds a BA in Art History from Northwestern University and an MA in the History of Design, jointly offered by the Royal College of Art and Victoria and Albert Museum in London.