Joint UMAG Programme - Guided viewing of "Living Kogei: Contemporary Japanese Craft from the Ise Collection" with Ben Chiesa. Talk on “Hou Beiren and Splashed Ink – A Sideways Look” with Dr. Kevin McLoughlin (replaced by Guided viewing of “From Paris to Venice: A photographic journey by Willy Ronis” with Dr. Florian Knothe).

Date :
Saturday, 21 September 2019
Time :
11:00 – 11:45 ("From Paris to Venice" | 1/F, T.T. Tsui Building) ; 11:50 – 12:30 ("Living Kogei" | 1/F, Fung Ping Shan Building)
Venue :
1/F, T.T. Tsui Building, University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong
Cost :
Free of charge with registration
Enquiries :
Chung Yan Chan at [email protected] or 2241-5507

*Kindly note the changes of the Joint-UMAG event:

“Hou Beiren and Splashed Ink – A Sideways Look” with Dr. Kevin McLoughlin lecture will be rescheduled until further notice and will be replaced by “From Paris to Venice: A photographic journey by Willy Ronis” guided viewing with Dr. Florian Knothe.  

The guided viewing of “Living Kogei” exhibition will be held as scheduled.

The University Museum and Art Gallery and the HKU Museum Society are pleased to present a guided viewing and talk of two exhibitions supported by the Museum Society – “Living Kogei: Contemporary Japanese Craft from the Ise Collection” and “Clouds of Ink, Pools of Colour: Paintings by Hou Beiren” (now replaced by “From Paris to Venice: A photographic journey by Willy Ronis” guided viewing).

Guided Viewing – “From Paris to Venice: A photographic journey by Willy Ronis”

Reporter, industrial photographer and illustrator, Willy Ronis (1910–2009) was one of the key figures of twentieth-century French photography. For eight decades, from the 1930s to the 2000s, he pointed his camera lens at the French people, criss-crossing the streets of the capital or the south of the country with a perpetually-renewed pleasure. A photographer of joyful happenstance, Ronis captured the “slices of everyday life” of his family and friends, such as his wife Marie-Anne or his sonVincent, but also strangers who he came across while taking a detour through the streets of Belleville. A member of the Groupe des XV, he vigorously and passionately defended the career of photographer. In 1951, his work gained broader recognition during an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, where it was shown alongside works by Cartier-Bresson, Brassaï, Doisneau and Izis.

Guided Viewing – “Living Kogei: Contemporary Japanese Craft from the Ise Collection”

The modern Japanese term for artisan crafts, “kogei”, refers to a form of highly skilled artistic expression associated with specific regions in Japan. “Kogei” typically include ceramics, textiles, lacquer, metalwork, glass and wood, and have at their core a concern for fine craftsmanship and the inherent qualities of materials. Informed by centuries of tradition, these crafts have been revitalized and expanded in recent years, with emerging avant-garde tendencies in fields like bamboo sculpture and studio glass competing with established practices and values embedded in Japanese culture. Drawn from the Ise Collection, “Living Kogei” highlights eighty works by contemporary Japanese craftsmen, ranging from rustic ceramics with asymmetrical forms to abstract glasswork with elegant silhouettes and sensuous colours. Each demonstrates how contemporary artisans appreciate and continue the long tradition of Japanese craft, while at the same time departing from convention in search of the new.


Resource Persons

Dr. Florian Knothe

Dr. Knothe studies and teaches the history of decorative arts in the 17th and 18th centuries with particular focus on the social and historic importance of royal French manufacture. He has long been interested in the early modern fascination with Chinoiserie and the way royal workshops and smaller private enterprises helped to create and cater to this long-lasting fashion. Dr. Knothe started his career at The Metropolitan Museum of Art focusing on European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Before joining The University of Hong Kong, where he now serves as Director of the University Museum and Art Gallery.

Benjamin Chiesa

Benjamin Chiesa is the Assistant Curator at the UMAG. He was previously Assistant Curator of Cross-cultural Art at the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore. His research focuses on hybridity and artistic exchange between China, Japan and Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with a particular focus on ceramics and silverware made for export to the West. His publications include Objectifying China: Ming and Qing Dynasty Ceramics and Their Stylistic Influences Abroad, Auspicious Designs: Batik for Peranakan Altars and Devotion and Desire: Cross-cultural Art in Asia.