Tag: Hong Kong

Hell Money

Hell Money

ADOXOBLOG

HellMoneyFrontA recent visit to a Chinese supermarket led to a number of somewhat less than pragmatic purchases, including a pack of Hell Money. Alternatively known as joss money, it’s intended to be burned or otherwise offered to people and deities in the afterworld. Hence also the term joss sticks, AKA the incense burned before a shrine or altar. I guess the underlying idea is that the smoke carries the prayers up to the afterlife, and so by extension the burned money also travels the same way. You can get Hell (or joss) clothes, cars, and household appliances although they’re frowned upon by the authorities in mainland China as “vulgar” and “feudal”. You see loads of this kind of thing in places like Hong Kong, though. Fifty million HK$ is worth about four million British Pounds, nearly five million Euros or about $6.5 million US… and one typically offers them in…

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“KITSCH AND UNORIGINAL… WEAK CREATIVITY”

“KITSCH AND UNORIGINAL… WEAK CREATIVITY”

CAREER SUICIDE

Follow up to WHAT THE DUCK? When the Chinese Communist Party talks more sense than many art wonks about the real (i.e. non monetary) value of contemporary art, things are really screwed. It’s a bit like Hitler telling you to cool it with the anti–Semitism. The People’s Daily newspaper, effectively a sock puppet for the Party, recently issued an editorial in which it praised artist Florentijn Hofman’s wildly popular 16m tall duck installation in the bay at Hong Kong, while also firmly castigating the flood of copycat inflatables as “kitsch and unoriginal”. Kitsch and unoriginal are also pretty good descriptors of the Chinese commercial art world in general, which has been blindly hyped in the West in recent years.

Unoriginal art “will ruin our creativity and our future and lead to the loss of imagination eventually,” according to the People’s Daily. “The more yellow ducks are there, the further we are from…

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WHAT THE DUCK?

WHAT THE DUCK?

CAREER SUICIDE

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‘Rubber Duck’, like its maker Florentjin Hofman’s other work, is daft, kitsch, intellectually undemanding and entirely uncool. Yet its value, I think, lies in precisely these attributes. When was the last time the work of any artist celebrated on the front cover of Art Review or Frieze aroused general excitement, civic pride, despair at the prospect of it going away, or “limitless amounts of joy”? This last comment is from a discussion at the governmental level about the widespread positive fallout from Hofman’s avowed attempt to spread this joy. I certainly don’t think art can be or should be uniformly subjected to tests of popularity or popularism, but I also think that somebody except the artist and their friends should care about and connect with an art work.

Until recently the 16m tall duck was floating between Hong Kong island and Kowloon. Although described by the artist as…

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