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Fernando Botero: Living with Botero

6 October 2021 - 27 November 2021



Ora-Ora is pleased to announce a landmark exhibition at its new Tai Kwun gallery space, a blockbuster solo show by renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero. Living with Botero is Ora-Ora’s major autumn show and will open October 6 – November 27, 2021. The gallery will be styled as a recreation of the artist’s apartment in New York, allowing visitors the privilege of stepping into the everyday life of Fernando Botero. The exhibition will present a way of life, a unique combination of passion, serenity and community. It is an open invitation to everyone, one of immersion and interactivity, as visitors enter the familiar surroundings of the artist at work. It will comprise paintings and drawings never-before-seen in Hong Kong, most of which the artist lived with and counted among his personal favourites.

Highlights of the exhibition will include the artist’s dialogue with Vincent van Gogh, entitled Sunflowers (oil on canvas, 1977) and his enormous 191cm x 127.5cm painting, Woman in the Bathroom (oil on canvas, 2002). His unique, voluptuous interpretation of van Gogh’s legendary still life references Botero’s belief that “For an artist, the quality of the art you create, is a function of who you admire.” Woman in the Bathroom is the artist at full throttle, the heady, vibrant colour palette, paired with the loving, tender portrayal of size and volume. Its subject is both coy and red-blooded, both protagonist and startled reactionary, a festival of wavy lines and curved vivacity. Here is a sense of mischief and life at its most animated and ebullient, the painting turned up to a higher decibel than everyday life as we may know it. This is one of many paintings on display which were previously hung in the artist’s home (Woman in the Bathroom hung in his New York apartment); other examples include Snake (from Botero’s Bogota home, oil on canvas, 1979).

Additionally, a range of Botero-themed collectibles have been designed specifically for this show, and will be on sale at the gallery throughout the exhibition period. Running alongside will be a number of tailored events, specially created by Ora-Ora in consultation with the artist and his family. More details to follow.

This much anticipated solo show brings four decades of Botero’s work to Hong Kong, as Ora-Ora brings this global phenomenon to a new audience. In so doing, Ora-Ora resumes the dialogue which was so memorably established by the acclaimed China exhibitions at the National Museum of China in Beijing in 2015 and the China Art Museum of Shanghai in 2016. Although the pandemic has prevented the artist from travelling to attend the exhibition, it has been a personal ambition of Fernando Botero to present these works in Hong Kong, and he has spoken recently of the special place that Hong Kong has in his heart.

This exhibition brings visitors a new sense of intimacy with an artist who has never shied away from a fight. It also seeks to bring calm in difficult times. Visitors are invited to call their own troubles, struggles and obstacles to mind when they contemplate the exhibition. How to describe the life of this artistic luminary who emerged from poverty in his beloved Colombia to occupy a global stage? A life of adventure certainly. He spent two years at a bullfighting school, was once expelled from high school for his staunch defense of Picasso, he protested injustices at times of war, and yet brought the bright warmth of South America to the world. Those who seek satire, retribution and anger at the world’s calumnies will find a spirited fellow activist, and those who long for peace and tranquility will find those havens in Botero.


Fernando Botero was born in Medellin, Colombia in 1932. Globally renowned for his unique handling of volume, shape and colour, Botero is an artist of both popularity and critical acclaim. Having spent two years at a specialist school for matadors in Colombia as a child, Botero always maintained a fascination for the sport, and for the theatre and traditions of his native land. Deriving broad and exuberant inspiration from such diverse sources as clowns, the corrida and Piero De la Francesca, Botero has been a major force in art since the 1950s.

The artist first showed at the Guggenheim in New York in 1958, the same year he provided illustrations for a novel by his friend, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In 1963, the artist presented his Mona Lisa, Age 12 at New York’s MoMA, a counterpoint to the Mona Lisa which was being shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Later works were to draw on influences of Albrecht Dürer and Edouard Manet among others. Attracted to forms and mass, yet with a passionate love for the sunshine, history and contradictions of his homeland, Botero’s style of boterismo is unmistakeable. The artist now divides his time between Paris, France, New York, and Tuscany. Botero was twice included in the Venice Biennale, in 1958 and 1992. His works are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the museum dedicated to him, the Museo Botero in Bogotá.


6 October 2021
27 November 2021
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