CFCCA Curating China conference

Despite the downpour, the trip to Manchester to attend the CFCCA conference on curating china, was highly rewarding. In fact, I wasn’t at all surprised to see that it’s a sold-out event. This is the first time I visited CFCCA after their rebranding campaign. I’m not sure if I like the branding colour (yellow) much,…

Musings on the BP Portrait Award 2013: Carl Randall

Among the exhibits this year, what touches me most is the set of commissioned work by Carl Randall, featuring modern life in Japan. Having spent years in Japan, his paintings of Japanese city workers are marked by keenness of observation and his authentic interpretation of Asian lifestyle. Frequently using flattened images and creating crowds out…

Peppering independent bookshops with arts leaflets

I’ve been helping to put together and distribute poetry contest leaflets for Magma – a nation-wide contest opening this month (16 October). Having dished out a considerable batch to the bookshops in London last month, I am most delighted to come across this gem booklet issued by the Guardian last week – the directory on…

power of making at V and A: craftsmanship and imagination

V&A’s latest show The Power of Making is a thoughtful showcase of modern craftsmanship and its relationship with imagination. While the theme is nothing new, I’m struck by the choice of objects in this collection. From gigantic wool knit, a gorilla made of metallic coat hangers, bio-degradable coffins to spray-on fashion, the objects question the…

Yohji Yamamoto

I went to see Yohji Yamamoto‘s current show at the V&A, his first UK solo exhibition. There in a room of white light, you see the sheer simplicity of clean lines and shades of red, black and white, whispering fashion. It isn’t the size that undermines the exhibition but rather the want of a compelling narrative….

The candid work of Japanese artist and printmaker Emiko Aida

I came across Emiko Aida‘s art prints first at the International Art Fair this year in Royal College of Art, and later at the art print specialist shop For Art’s Sake in Ealing. A 60x40cm aquatint art print called Reverie in the Rain caught my attention. A girl is asleep, in the background a verdant…

Murakami’s birthday girl

‘The Birthday Girl’ is one of the best short stories I’ve ever read. Published initially in the Guardian in 2006, Haruki Murakami’s story tells of a girl who made a wish when she was twenty, working her shift in a restaurant. I loved it when I first read this story, and to tell the truth,…

A poem for Gabriel Orozco: the global artist

My hands are my heart or my heart is my hand hiding the fingers in the soft of my palm. You cannot read the lines on my palms, but feel the strength in my arms. I am the clay man with strong muscles sitting in front of a kitchen table in New York, in Mexico, in Paris….

West kowloon arts hub in Hong Kong part 1

Graham Sheffield, former artistic chief of Barbican Centre in London has decided to quit his role as CEO of Hong Kong’s HK$21.6 billion (£1.8 billion) West Kowloon arts hub project after five months. He has resigned due to health reasons, although many think that there must be more that triggered his abrupt decision to leave….

Bridget Riley and her galloping colours

Viewing the show of Bridget Riley’s latest works at the Sunley Room, the National Gallery, has been a real treat. It seems always apt that her work is shown here, at the gallery where the genuine paintings of old masters like Seurat, Mantegna and Raphael, whom she admired, are exhibited. I have always been quite…