Although the Herzog & de Meuron-designed M+ visual arts museum is still three years from completion, that hasn’t stopped its curatorial team from delivering a series of innovative exhibitions across the city. This week, however, marks the first permanent venue for the institution, launching alongside its inaugural exhibition; a new solo commission entitled ‘Nothing’ by the Hong Kong-based artist Tsang Kin-wah.
Co-curated by M+ deputy director and chief curator Doryun Chong and the lead curator of learning and interpretation, Stella Fong, the small-scale exhibition is a ‘return’ response to Tang’s immersive video installation at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, an exploration of the significance of human life while noting the futility of such efforts.
‘Building a museum of the scale and ambition of M+ isn't something you can pull together overnight, so the M+ Pavilion is an exciting step for us programmatically in terms of trying and testing things out – a foothold on the way to the final destination,’ says M+ design and architecture curator Aric Chen.
The site-specific exhibition makes the most of the new low slung two-storey pavilion designed by a trio of young Hong Kong architects: VPANG Architects Ltd, JET Architecture, and Lisa Cheung. The building spans around 878 sq m, including a 310 sq m main gallery space and a dramatic elevated outdoor deck that frames views over Victoria Harbour. According to VPANG Architects’ managing director Vincent Pang, the platform also creates a sense of floating above the surrounding landscape, a metaphor about distancing oneself from busy city life to appreciate art in a quieter space.
Although a striking futuristic form, the pavilion’s mirrored steel façade ‘elegantly dissolves into its park setting’, says Chen. While inside, a minimalist blend of polished concrete floors and pure white walls offers a flexible backdrop to accommodate a wide range of small-scale exhibitions and performances.