An exhibition of newly commissioned works by the renowned Hong Kong artist Michael Lau went on show from 1 October 2018 at the acclaimed Duddell’s restaurant in London as part of its ongoing programme of curated exhibitions and special art events.
Known as a pioneer of the ‘designer toy’ movement, Lau’s new exhibition Oh...My Toy! included previously unseen works, including a large-scale sculpture and wall-mounted pieces. Inspired by its location inside the historic former St Thomas Church, the exhibition explored the notion of art, toys and religion in popular culture through the artist’s witty lens, and built on Lau’s major solo exhibition at Christie’s Hong Kong in April 2018. Oh...My Toy! is curated by Hong Kong-based art critic and curator William Zhao.
In this Artling Social feature, we bring you these highlights from Oh...My Toy!'s opening, along with more from the artist, curator, and Founder of Duddell's:
Artist Michael Lau grew up during Hong Kong’s ‘toy era’ of the 1970s. His childhood passion for toys grew into an obsession with collectables as an adult. His genuine love of toys and his desire to collect them gave birth to his Gardener series in 1999, which was presented at a solo exhibition at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. He took inspiration from the streets, but he brought his characters into galleries and auction houses, launching the Artoy trend.
Michael Lau said of his work: “Many people take great comfort in toys. I am one of them. From the industrial revolution in the 1950s - 1970s in Hong Kong to the economic reform in China, toys also evolved, from being collected by children and now by adults. Whatever form they take, toys act as a shield against the unpredictability and lurking chaos of the outside world. My work is an examination and experimentation of the different forms toys take, and the thinking that lies behind it. To me, all artworks are toys, all toys are art.
William Zhao, Curator of Oh...My Toy!, said: “Michael Lau has become known as the ‘godfather’ of designer toys. Building on the notion of collecting, which many view as something of a religion, and inspired by its setting within a historic church, Michael’s inventive new series for Duddell’s brings toys, art and God together into a new trinity.”
Alan Lo, Founder of Duddell’s London, said prior to the opening: “We are delighted to be presenting a new body of work by acclaimed artist Michael Lau, which will open in time for Frieze week. Michael is one of the most exciting and important artists working in Hong Kong today and we look forward to introducing his new exhibition which has been commissioned especially for Duddell’s in London.”
Since opening in 2017, Duddell’s London has received critical acclaim from respected food critics. Much like its Hong Kong counterpart, Duddell’s London plans to become a cultural and social destination as well as a meeting point for those passionate about food and the arts, with a dedicated art programme supported by Perrier-Jouët Champagne.
Housed within the historic Grade II-listed St Thomas Church, Duddell’s London represents one of the finest examples of Queen Anne architecture in London. Michaelis Boyd oversaw the restoration of the building, which involved carefully configuring the design to uphold the rich history and heritage of the standing structures, detached from the walls and existing wood panelling to conserve the historic location.
The original Duddell’s in Hong Kong was founded in 2013 by entrepreneurs Yenn Wong, Alan Lo and Paulo Pong. It is renowned for its vibrant programme of museum-class exhibitions and eclectic art programme and has become a creative meeting spot in the heart of the city.
Oh...My Toy! will be on display from 1 October 2018 to 14 April 2019.
To find out more about Duddell's London, click here.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.