M+, the museum of visual culture in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, today unveiled Ambiguously Yours: Gender in Hong Kong Popular Culture (Ambiguously Yours), the third exhibition to be presented at the M+ Pavilion. Running from 17 March to 21 May 2017, this exhibition is the first curated by M+ to examine popular culture by considering the 1980s and 1990s in Hong Kong popular culture as a platform for avant-garde experimentation in representations of gender identity.

More than 90 works spanning the 1960s to 2016 fastidiously selected by the M+ curatorial team are presented in four main sections:

I Am What I Am: Performing Cantopop
Stage performance is a key factor in the phenomenal success of Cantopop and the stars. Through the performance costumes of Cantopop legends Roman Tam, Anita Mui, and as well as those of contemporary artist Denise Ho, visitors will experience the magnificent designs behind some of Hong Kong's most iconic performers. Select works of the Cantopop idol Leslie Cheung also demonstrate how he was bold in creating an image that appealed to both male and female fans in daring performances that challenged gender stereotypes through role play and cross-dressing.

He’s a Woman, She’s a Man: Role Play
During the 1980s and 1990s, Hong Kong was the third largest film industry in the world, and the second largest exporter, as the market for Hong Kong films internationally exploded. The second section of the exhibition showcases a selection of film clips including Stanley Kwan’s classic story, Rouge (1988), through to Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express (1994), to explore the everyday ambiguity in male and female roles, at the same time revealing changing social and cultural mores.

Graphically Yours: Art, Design and Commerce
The success of the Cantopop and film industries fostered a rich period in graphic design and photography in Hong Kong. The third section of the exhibition examines how this success promoted experimentation in a wide range of media, including album cover and magazine cover designs. Through the work of prominent art directors including William Chang and Tina Liu, photographers Leong Ka-tai, Wing Shya and Andrew Tang, and graphic designers such as Alan Chan, original, visually-impactful works were created that went beyond marketing to encode changes in social and cultural attitudes and aspirations.

Pop Goes Culture
In the final section of the exhibition, M+ presents a selection of works from its collection to demonstrate the global phenomenon of popular culture today, and their impact on artists across disciplines covering works by Wilson Shieh, Ho Sin-tung, Japanese pop artist Tanaamic Keiichi, and Singaporean artist Ming Wong this section examines the interplay between popular culture and the fields of art, design and moving images.

Suhanya Raffel, Executive Director of M+, said: “Popular culture in Hong Kong, particularly Cantopop and the films in the 1980s and 1990s defined Hong Kong’s cultural identity, and has been the means by which the world has met this unique city.  Ambiguously Yours is our first thematic exhibition dedicated to examining local popular culture and its interaction with the M+ collections. It also serves as an ideal channel for M+ to expand our collaboration with the arts sector and entertainment industry.” 

“Through this exhibition, we wanted to acknowledge the creative experimentation that flourished in Hong Kong popular culture during the 1980s and 1990s,” said Tina Pang, Curator, Hong Kong Visual Culture at M+. “The roaring success of Cantopop and Hong Kong film in the regional and global arena during this period has encouraged more talented individuals from the art, design, fashion, music, theatre, filmmaking sectors to challenge traditional gender stereotypes at a time when the city's creativity and dynamism was taking off. Ambiguously Yours offers a new perspective for local audiences to revisit familiar works that have shaped the popular culture of our city, while also introducing new audiences beyond Hong Kong to the pride of our creative industry.”  

Ambiguously Yours examines visual culture through a series of recognisable works from the heyday of Hong Kong's popular culture that revolutionised the creative industry in the region, and its impact on artists represented in the M+ collection,” said Chloe Chow, Assistant Curator, Hong Kong Visual Culture at M+.

Ambiguously Yours: Gender in Hong Kong Popular Culture is curated by Tina Pang, Curator, Hong Kong Visual Culture, M+; Chloe Chow, Assistant Curator, Hong Kong Visual Culture, M+; and Janis Law, Curatorial Assistant, Moving Image, M+, with Dr Ng Chun-hung and Dr Chow Yiu Fai as curatorial advisors.

The exhibition will run from 17 March to 21 May 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, 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/AmbiguouslyYours-programmes.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Exhibition Period:
17 March – 21 May 2017
11 am – 6 pm
Wednesday to Sunday and public holidays

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, shuttle bus service will be available between MTR Kowloon Station and the M+ Pavilion from 11am to 6pm.

Programmes
As part of the exhibition, M+ is presenting a series of free programmes including talks on exploring gender in Hong Kong popular culture, pop-up performances by Theatre Ronin, guided tours, and events for teachers in order to provide a deeper understanding of the exhibition to the public. For details please visit http://www.westkowloon.hk/AmbiguouslyYours-programmes.

Remarks

About M+
Hong Kong’s museum for visual culture – encompassing 20th and 21st  century art, design, and architecture, and moving image from Hong Kong, China, Asia, and beyond – M+ will be one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world. Located adjacent to the Art Park on the waterfront, 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:  

Tina Pang
Tina Pang is Curator, Hong Kong Visual Culture at M+, Hong Kong’s museum of visual culture located in the West Kowloon Cultural District, a position that she has held since 2014. Prior to joining M+ she was curator at the University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong, and honorary assistant professor in the Department of Fine Arts where she taught museum studies and Chinese material culture. She was a 2010 recipient of the Lee Hysan Foundation Fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council to research curatorial practices in the United States. Recent projects have included contributing curator to the Vancouver Art Gallery’s MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture (2016), and co-organiser with Aric Chen of M+ Matters: Confronting Activist Art and Design from a Museological Perspective (2016). Tina is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (BA Hons Chinese and Art & Archaeology), and St. Hilda’s College, The University of Oxford, (MPhil Ethnology and Museum Ethnography). 

Chloe Chow
Chloe Chow is Assistant Curator for Hong Kong Visual Culture at M+ where she co-curated exhibitions including Mobile M+: NEONSIGNS.HK (2014) and Mobile M+: Moving Images (2015). Previously, she served as Project Officer at the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and as Museum Trainee at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, organising exhibitions and projects including Revitalising the Glorious Tradition: The Retrospective Exhibition of Pan Tianshou's Art (2011), Imperishable Affection: The Art of Feng Zikai (2012), All Are Guests – Hong Kong at the Liverpool Biennial 2012 and ShenzhenHong Kong Creative Arts Festival (2012). Chow received her BA in Arts (Double major in Fine Art and Comparative Literature) from the University of Hong Kong and an MVA in Art Administration from the Hong Kong Baptist University.

Janis Law
Janis Law is currently the Curatorial Assistant for Moving Image, M+. Her first project with M+ is the ongoing screening series, M+ Screenings. Before working with M+, Janis was the Museum Trainee of Hong Kong Film Archive and the Education and Outreach Officer of Chung Ying Theatre. Janis holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Western Australia and an MA in Media Cultures from the City University of Hong Kong.

Curatorial Advisers:  

Dr Ng Chun Hung, Honorary Associate Professor, HKU Department of Sociology
Dr Ng grew up on a diet of mass consumption and media culture. That experience means he has a hard time trying to choose between watching television, listening to popular music, reading comic books, strolling in shopping malls and doing sociology as his favourite vocation in life. He eventually made a compromise and decided to specialise in the sociology of mass media and popular culture. His research interests include cultural studies and gender studies.

Dr Chow Yiu Fai, Assistant Professor, HKBU Department of Humanities and Creative Writing
Dr Chow Yiu Fai received his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His research fields include diaspora, gender, multiculturalism, cultural studies, critical theories, mass communications, transnationalism, and popular music. Next to his academic work, Dr Chow writes Chinese song lyrics and other forms of creative writing.