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True Likeness: The Art and Collection of Jingguanlou

22 March 2024 - 8 January 2025



Like many 20th century Chinese artists who navigated between realism and abstraction, Dr Leo Wong Kwai-kuen, the master of Jingguanlou, aspires to create his photographic works by embracing the Chinese artistic ideal of “taking the likeness in unlikeness as true likeness”. Photography garnered for him trophies in the form of international awards. Suspecting a block to his creativity, Dr Wong took a 10-year hiatus from photography and turned to Chinese arts for inspiration. This set him collecting works of Chinese painting and calligraphy ever since. He kept making breakthroughs since the 1990s, successfully transcending naturalistic pictures to become spiritual imageries. The exhibition includes a selection of Dr Wong’s photographic works in correlation with the paintings and calligraphies from the Jingguanlou Collection. It aims to showcase how the collector-photographer pictured the intrinsic for both his collecting and photographing endeavours.

This exhibition is fully supported by the “Wu Guanzhong Art Sponsorship” *. The Sponsorship is dedicated to promoting the art of Wu Guanzhong and the 20th century China. Through a diversity of programmes, the Museum endeavours to showcase the innovation and evolution of the 20th century Chinese art, and aspires to offer a fresh perspective on this significant period.

The Museum invited Hong Kong artist Olivier Cong to create the music project, Diary 23, which draws inspiration from the period when Dr Wong took a 10-year hiatus from photography and turned towards Chinese arts for aesthetic nourishment. Through a series of music and images, Diary 23 serves as a response to Dr Wong’s transformative artistic journey, capturing moments of transition and introspection.

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