Didem Doğan

Hong Kong: Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts

The former central police station compound from the colonial era has been converted into a Culture and Arts Centre after eight years of renovation sponsored by the Jockey Club with nearly four billion HK dollar fund and it has opened its doors to all visitors in 2018. 

Now one of the greatest places to hang out in the city it has a museum, a space for contemporary art, garden and a court with cafés, restaurants and design shops. Take the entrance on Hollywood Road after your visit the private galleries and spare a couple of hours to truly enjoy this new place which is Hong Kong’s largest restoration project. The Swiss architecture company who also designed the Tate Modern in London, Herzog & Meuron, restored sixteen heritage buildings, including the former police offices and prison dating from 150 years ago, and added two other new modern buildings to the compound. Elegant walkways, prison cells, a mixture of old and new, with Hong Kong’s silhouette in the background has made this place a new public space for culture, arts and leisure. The cultural centre is headed by Tobias Berger. 

Lawrence Weiner’s work in the prison yard is artist’s familiar words on walls: “Hard stones floating within folds of soft earth here and there”. Right next to it is the JC contemporary gallery. The Jockey Club—the city’s biggest philanthropic organisation of Hong Kong named this galley where the Chinese artist Cao Fei’s works are exhibited during our visit. Cao Fei, contemporary artist with video and digital works named the exhibition ‘Hollow in a world too full’, where one of the galleries is converted into a prison room and the video of a ‘Prison architect’, an architect who designs a prison is shown referring to Hong Kong’s colonial history.

You can easily spend a couple of hours at this cultural center and then check the art galleries on the same street.

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