Video still showing the silhouette of a person marked in fire on a blackened ground.

First Look at ‘Five Artists: Sites Encountered’

Five Artists: Sites Encountered is the newest exhibition in the M+ Pavilion, on view from 7 June to 20 October 2019. Here’s a round-up of what you need to know:

What is this exhibition about?

A person in a suit holding a briefcase inspects a steel sculpture. The sculpture is made out of boxy sheet steel components that have been joined together. The sculpture sticks out of a concrete wall and stands on a paved road.

Charlotte Posenenske (German, 1930–1985). Series D Vierkantrohre (Series D Square Tubes), hot-dip galvanised sheet steel and screws. Installation view in Offenbach, West Germany, 1967. Courtesy of the Estate of Charlotte Posenenske; Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin; and Take Ninagawa, Tokyo. © Estate of Charlotte Posenenske

Five Artists: Sites Encountered features works by five international artists that reflect the theme of ‘site’. The artists use a variety of methods to examine and respond to different physical or imagined places.

Who are the artists and what can I expect to see from them?

Video still of a blindfolded woman walking across the doorway of a Chinese temple with her hands held out in front of her. A large pot with burning incense is placed in the foreground.

May Fung (Hong Kong, born 1952). She Said Why Me, 1989. VHS transferred to digital (colour, mono sound), 8 min. M+, Hong Kong. © May Fung

The exhibition features a wide array of works—including sculptures, installations, and films—by the five artists, who are from different places and different generations:

  1. Lee Bul (Korean, born 1964), whose sculptures present models of imagined architectural sites that speak to ideas of utopia and fantasy
  2. May Fung (Hong Kong, born 1952), whose video work follows a blindfolded woman moving through the city of Hong Kong, and who explores how one can perceive familiar surroundings in unfamiliar ways
  3. Ana Mendieta (American, born Cuba. 1948–1985), whose films depict different ways of imprinting her body onto physical sites in order to start a conversation with landscape and embedded histories or memories
  4. Charlotte Posenenske (German, 1930–1985), whose sculptural components can be arranged in different configurations according to the given space
  5. Finally, Lara Almarcegui (Spanish, born 1972), whose specially commissioned site-specific work shows a breakdown of the materials used in the construction of the M+ building, prompting us to reconsider our relationships to land, location, and artistic medium.

What, exactly, does ‘site’ mean?

Small sculpture made out of Foamex that has been spray painted silver, depicting a building model. The building is cross-shaped and boxy, with one tall tower.

Lee Bul (Korean, born 1964). Study for Russian Constructivism #10, ca. 2005. Foamex, acrylic spray paint, 6.5 x 13.5 x 12.5 cm. Courtesy of Studio Lee Bul; Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul; Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London, Paris, and Salzburg; and PKM Gallery, Seoul. © Lee Bul

‘Site’ is the main theme of the exhibition—so what, exactly, does it mean? In the broadest sense of the term, site means ‘place’, but that place can be widely varied: physical or imagined, past or future, real or abstract, political or personal. In this exhibition, you’ll find a variety of definitions of site in the works on display. Lee Bul’s sculptures, for example, are models of imagined utopian sites, while May Fung’s video shows her moving through tangible places in Hong Kong that are both historical and contemporary.

The changing nature of site is an especially appropriate subject to explore at M+ right now, when both the M+ building and the West Kowloon site are undergoing transformations from imagined to real.

Anything else I need to know?

Installation consisting of words in English and Chinese printed on the walls of the M+ Pavilion. The exact amounts of the different construction materials of the M+ building are listed.

Five Artists: Sites Encountered, installation view at the M+ Pavilion, 2019. Courtesy of M+, Hong Kong. Lara Almarcegui (Spanish, born 1972). Construction Materials, M+, Hong Kong, 2019. Courtesy of Lara Almarcegui. Commissioned by M+

Keep an eye on the exhibition’s programmes! Programmes accompanying the exhibition include reconfigurations of Charlotte Posenenske’s sculptures, conversations with participating artists, a private viewing for teachers, and a series of thematic and curator-led tours. Access services can be arranged in advance.

The M+ Shop, on the ground floor of the pavilion, offers a range of products inspired by the artists and their work, including notebooks, postcards, candleholders, and jewellery.

I have more questions about this exhibition/the works on display!

Over the course of the exhibition, we are hosting an ‘ask an M+ curator’ segment on M+ Stories. Submit your question to have it answered in upcoming blog posts on M+ Stories.

Enjoy the exhibition!

Five Artists: Sites Encountered can be seen at the M+ Pavilion from 7 June to 20 October 2019. Find out more about the exhibition tours and programmes.


Image at top of post: Ana Mendieta (American, born Cuba. 1948–1985). Alma, Silueta en Fuego (Soul, Silhouette on Fire), 1975. Super-8mm film transferred to high-definition digital media (colour, silent), 3 min 7 sec. Courtesy of the Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC and Galerie Lelong & Co., New York. © The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC

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