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Hong Kong’s art scene is undergoing a renaissance sparked by a vibrant full-year programme at the M+ museum

Jasmine Alimin
Jasmine Alimin • 5 min read
Hong Kong’s art scene is undergoing a renaissance sparked by a vibrant full-year programme at the M+ museum
Explore how movies like The Last Emperor has portrayed the many facets of Beijing as a city, its culture and the dynamic lives of its citizens
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Hong Kong ushers in 2024 with a cultural crescendo and at the heart is M+, an innovative museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District. M+ is a leading global institution dedicated to collecting, exhibiting and interpreting visual art, design and architecture — making it one of the world’s largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture.

With an ambitious vision to become a leading global cultural institution, M+ embodies Hong Kong’s historic blend of local and international influences, shaping a distinctive voice for Asia’s 21st century. 

In its third year since opening in November 2021, the museum presents a vibrant 2024 program, pushing artistic boundaries across disciplines like visual art, design, architecture, moving images, photography and fashion. 

Museum director Suhanya Raffel says: “Following a tremendously successful second year, fuelled by the global recovery from the pandemic, M+ is in a stronger than ever position to present extensively researched and meticulously selected visual culture programmes within the museum and on major international platforms. Our 2024 lineup of exhibitions and programmes spotlight iconic contemporary artists and makers from across the globe that bring M+’s unique vision to life.”

This February, visitors will view a new thematic display of works drawn from the M+ Collections called Shanshui: Echoes and Signals, which draws connections between landscape and humanity in a post-industrial virtual world. The interdisciplinary presentation includes works by artists like Liu Chuang, Guo Hongwei, Amar Kanwar, Lee Ufan, Tatsuo Miyajima, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Isamu Noguchi, Wesley Tongson, Vivian Wang, Xu Bing, Yang Jiechang and Zao Wou-Ki. 

See also: Journeys across time

Opening in March is Noir & Blanc: A Story of Photography, a special exhibition co-presented with the French May Arts Festival and in collaboration with the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF). This is M+’s first exhibition focused on photography, featuring a stellar list of the world’s greatest photographers drawn from the vast BnF collections and M+’s collections from 1915 to 2019. Among the photographers featured are Man Ray, Diane Arbus, Mario Giacomelli, Robert Frank, William Klein, Daido Moriyama, Valérie Belin and Henri Cartier-Bresson. 

That same month, Thai artist and filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul will present Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Primitive. As part of the M+ Collections, Primitive is a multi-screen video installation that comprises two short films and an artist’s book. It represents a pivotal moment in the artist’s career when bridging visual art, moving images and cinema became a defining aspect of his practice. 

See also: Edmund Koh, Asia-Pacific president of UBS Group AG, discusses the growth of its art collections over the years

In April, Vietnamese artist Bùi Công Khánh will explore historical architecture with his largest wooden sculpture to date called Bùi Công Khánh: Dislocate. Made from aged and new jackfruit tree wood — valued in Vietnam for its strength and versatility — the sculpture was painstakingly hand-carved over two years by craftsmen in Hõi An in central Vietnam.

In June, M+ presents I. M. Pei: Life Is Architecture, a groundbreaking retrospective on the influential Chinese American architect I. M. Pei (1917–2019). The exhibition highlights his seven-decade career, showcasing projects like the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong and the Grand Louvre in Paris. M+ features newly commissioned photographs by a global cadre of photographers and architectural models crafted in collaboration with Hong Kong universities to offer a contemporary view.

Also, in June, design buffs will walk down memory lane to view notable works by Austrian-born Henry Steiner, recognised as an influential figure in graphic design in Hong Kong. Henry Steiner: Graphic Communicator looks back at his portfolio of branding work that has become an indelible part of daily life in the city and globally. 

For fans of moving visuals, M+ Cinema presents its Winter Edition called Once Upon a Time in Beijing featuring Madame Song: Pioneering Art and Fashion in China and Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987). From now until April, this programme will explore how cinema has portrayed the many facets of Beijing as a city, its culture and the dynamic lives of its citizens. The lineup will feature blockbusters alongside independent films that tell lesser-known and more personal stories of Chinese society in transition. In addition, a selection of documentary films underlines the significant impact of the fashion industry in China.

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Later in the year, Lee Mingwei will stage a performative installation piece called Sonic Bloom. Set in August, the work consists of a live performance in which trained opera singers approach a visitor in the museum galleries to offer the gift of song. It is inspired by the artist’s experience of caring for his mother during her recovery from surgery when they both took solace in listening to Austrian composer Franz Schubert’s Lieder.

Finally, fashion enthusiasts will not want to miss the special exhibition collaboration between China’s first couture artist Guo Pei and M+. Scheduled to open in September, the event will feature the artist’s early designs and key collections, whose runway collections — blending Chinese cultural heritage with international elements and artistic expression — have captivated fashion and art audiences worldwide for nearly thirty years. The exhibition will present a selection of garments for the first time, fostering a layered dialogue on visual imagination and workmanship in conjunction with the M+ Collections.

For tickets and programme line-up, visit

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