Edouard Malingue, Hongkong

In the last decade Hong Kong has developed an emerging contemporary art scene. One of the players is Eduard Malingue, son of art dealer Daniel Malingue. In his gallery in Central Hong Kong Eduard Malingue promotes the dialogue between Asian and international contemporary artists

Edouard Malingue, Hongkong

When did you open your gallery?

The gallery opened in 2010. After four years, we expanded and moved to a new gallery space that opened in 2015.

How would you describe the program of your gallery?

We aim to build a critical dialogue between Asian and international contemporary artists, both emerging and established, who combine aesthetic concern with conceptual enquiry, and work across different disciplines from video and installation to photography, painting and sound.

Installation view, Eric Baudart 'again, again and again', Edouard Malingue Gallery, 2015

Which artists did you start with, and how have you expanded your program?

Since the beginning we’ve worked with a range of Asian and international artists such as Callum Innes, Laurent Grasso, Yuan Yuan and Sun Xun. Because of  the gallery’s location in Hong Kong, as a bridge between the East and the West, we’ve brought on more local artists including  João Vasco Paiva, Samson Young and Ko Sin Tung, as well as artists from the region such as Tromarama (Indonesia) and Chou Yu-Cheng (Taiwan), and more internationally known artists like Eric Baudart (France) and Jeremy Everett (USA).

What do your artists have in common?

On an immediate level there is an aesthetic concern that prompts a sense of enquiry. At the heart of each of their practices is a strong conceptual message, whether it be reflecting on urban environments, political undercurrents or literary associations. How each ultimately manifests their message is different. All are united , however, by this undercurrent of conveying an idea.

Jeremy Everett, Floy, Installation view, Edouard Malingue Gallery, 2016, Courtesy of Edouard Malingue Gallery

Your are well known for public art projects and collaborations with curators worldwide. Please tell us more about this.

From the start we’ve been committed to bringing art into the public realm as well as encouraging an art historical dialogue that emanates in and out of Asia.

Our first public project was Zhang Huan’s major sculpture ‘Three Heads Six Arms’ followed closely by Laurent Grasso’s ‘Anechoic Pavilion’, Fabien Merélle’s ‘Pentateuque’ and Jeremy Everett’s ephemeral performance ‘Color Pump – Hong Kong’. Recently we’ve also been supporting international public projects, such as João Vasco Paiva’s city-wide public project in Brisbane ‘Unlimited’ presented at the time of the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial.

Regards our collaborations with curators, from the beginning we’ve invited them  to contribute critical essays for the various publications and e-books we create. Additionally, we’ve opened our exhibition schedule for curatorial projects in the gallery, such as ‘Clamour Can Melt Gold’ curated by the Tate’s Adjunct Curator to Latin America, Inti Guerrero. Also, we actively collaborate with curators and institutions internationally, from the Chinese Centre for Contemporary Art in the UK to the Mori Art Museum in Japan.

Invisible Light, Installation view, Edouard Malingue Gallery, 2015, Courtesy of Edouard Malingue Gallery

How does digitalization affect your work as a gallerist?

We actively use our social media channels, from Facebook to LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, to share news about our artists’ activities and features to engage with our existing friends, to reach out to a greater public, and also to invite followers to our programmes held at the gallery. However, in the end, nothing replaces the joy of being physically confronted with the artwork; the interaction with the public is what drives the gallerist.

Let’s talk about the location. Why did you choose this building and neighborhood?

We wanted to be in Central Hong Kong because it’s interesting for us to interrupt it’s financially-driven hustle; we wanted to provide a critical and refreshing interlude.

How is the contemporary art scene of Hong Kong evolving?

The scene has been developing rapidly over the last 7 years. During the first three especially there was a rise in the number of commercial art galleries as well as auction houses. This growth in the commercial sector, however, has been met by developments in the curatorial sphere, too: Parasite, one of the most important Not For Profits in Hong Kong expanded majorly in size last year, and we’ve seen an increasing number of grassroots and experimental initiatives such as Things That Can Happen and Holy Motors both in Sham Shui Po. This year we can also look forward to the much-anticipated Central Police Station.

Tromarama, Panoramix, Installation view, Edouard Malingue Gallery, 2015-16, Courtesy of Edouard Malingue Gallery

Have you ever thought of opening a space in another city?

As we just opened our new space in Hong Kong our focus at the moment is on doing collaborative projects internationally. We organised an exhibition at the Taipei Artist Village curated by Esther Lu, Director of the Taipei Contemporary Art Centre, and recently teamed up with Media Art Asia Pacific (MAAP) in Brisbane for João Vasco Paiva’s public installation described above. Upcoming projects include a collaboration with Open Eye Gallery in the UK curated by Ying Tan, who is part of the Liverpool Biennale curatorial faculty.

Who has influenced you as a gallerist?

I worked for five years with my father, Daniel Malingue, who established Malingue gallery over fifty years ago dealing in Impressionist and Modern art. I traveled across the world building relations with museums and collectors, from the US to Japan, an experience that developed my global outlook.

What are your plans for the future?

In the upcoming future we have a number of exciting exhibitions, including solo shows with Chou Yu-Cheng, Wang Zhibo, João Vasco Paiva, Fabien Mérelle and Samson Young. Looking further into the future, the aim is to keep focusing on the programme.