M+ Stories HomepageM+ Stories Homepage
Monochrome photograph of six men wearing helmets and face masks standing on sandy ground. The men are naked except for vertical banners covering their lower bodies from waist to ground, on which are written the Japanese words for ‘obscene material.’ Each of the men has his right arm and hand raised in the air. Behind the men, flags and a banner are visible. On the banner, the words ‘Expo’ and ‘Destruction’ can be seen. A crowd of onlookers surrounds the men.

Expression Beyond Documentation: Japanese Post-War Photography

Share via Facebook
Share via Twitter
Share via WeChat

When we talk about contemporary art, what comes to mind for many are artworks that can be observed first-hand in art museums, galleries, or large-scale festivals. However, not all artworks can be collected, exhibited, and observed. Performance art, for example, underscores the infectious power of the moment, making it difficult to replicate. Fortunately, many such works have been recorded through photography, ensuring they are not lost to oblivion. We are thus still able to encounter the flourishing artistic environment of post-World War II Japan and its far-reaching impact, even though many decades have passed.

From the 1950s through the 1970s, Japanese society underwent a dramatic transformation in the wake of the war: the natural environment suffered, the economy skyrocketed, and social movements burned red-hot, all stimulating profound contemplation on the part of the nation’s artists. Through a variety of art forms, they began to explore the relationships between the individual and society and between lifestyle and the material world. M+’s collection of Japanese post-war art photography is testament to the artistic development of that moment. M+ Associate Curator of Visual Art Isabella Tam outlines how these post-war Japanese photographic artists reflected on tradition, examined themselves, and transformed their creative approaches.

Photograph of a blue sky with white clouds.

Staring at the Sky: Yoko Ono Connects the World on Zoom

Share via Facebook
Share via Twitter
Share via WeChat

On 21 June at 8:42pm Hong Kong Time, a stationary camera pointed at the sky over M+ will begin a 24-hour livestream on Zoom. The video will appear alongside those produced by other arts and cultural institutions around the world, all simultaneously contributing to an artwork by Yoko Ono titled T.V. to See the Sky.

An inside look at the manufacturing of the M+ building terracotta tiles at a factory in Florence, Italy.

The Beauty and Craft of Terracotta Manufacturing

Share via Facebook
Share via Twitter
Share via WeChat

From a distance, the exterior of M+ might look black or grey, but did you know our facade is actually dark green? Unlike the glass and steel exteriors of many Hong Kong buildings, the M+ facade features corrugated ceramic tile, which serves the important function of protecting our building and our collections from the elements. Natural variations in the textures and minerals of the glaze make the tiles highly responsive to the environment—like the water in the harbour, they might shimmer in direct sunlight, or deepen into darker hues under the shade.

Enjoy this inside look at the beauty and craft behind the manufacturing process at a small factory in Italy, where the natural clays were cleaned, moulded, glazed, fired, and packaged before making their long journey to be assembled in mainland China and installed at their final home in Hong Kong.

Footage filmed at Palagio Engineering Srl, Florence, Italy, and M+, Hong Kong.

See more videos about the new M+ building on YouTube.

Nalini Malani and Doryun Chong on iPad drawings and Instagram

Nalini Malani and Doryun Chong on iPad Drawings and Instagram

Share via Facebook
Share via Twitter
Share via WeChat

When you look at a miniature painting, you can hold it in your hand like a book. The Instagram images are like that. There’s a privacy between the animations and you.

Nalini Malani

The In Conversation series pairs M+ curators with contemporary artists, designers, and makers to chat about their current practice and works in the M+ Collections. In this conversation, Nalini Malani speaks to Doryun Chong (Deputy Director, Curatorial and Chief Curator) about how she’s made her art accessible to everyone on Instagram and translated the virtual exhibition space into an immersive format called the Animation Chamber.

Like Malani's work? Learn more about Nalini Malani's video and shadow play installation Remembering Mad Meg in part one of this series.


Artwork credits:

Francisco Goya. Caridad (Charity), Plate 27 from ‘Los desastres de la guerra (The Disasters of War)’, 1863.
Francisco Goya, Quien lo creyera! (Who would have thought it?), Plate 62 from ‘Los Caprichos (The Caprices)’, 1799.
Nalini Malani. Animation stills from Double Speak II, Hysterical Bird, The Pain of Others, So much I don’t know!, Fail Better, This is not an Axe, Life’s a Bitch, and Can you hear meeeeeeeee, 2019; and NO BRAINS!, 2020. © Nalini Malani.
Nalini Malani. Can You Hear Me?, 2020 from Animation Chamber. Nine-channel installation with stop motion animation, sound. Commissioned by Whitechapel Gallery. © Nalini Malani

This conversation was recorded on 17 February 2021. A transcript of this video will be made available shortly.