Art Basel Hong Kong / Sir Michael Craig-Martin at The Peninsula Hotel

Building on its ground-breaking history of championing public art in Hong Kong, The Peninsula is once again celebrating the power of creativity this spring with the launch of its fourth annual “Love Art at The Peninsula” programme. The initiative, which highlights the iconic hotel’s strong connections to the city’s cultural and artistic landscape, is this year spearheaded by renowned conceptual artist Sir Michael Craig-Martin RA – also known as “The Godfather of Brit Art” – who has presented a new site-specific installation to mark the third year of The Peninsula’s collaboration with lauded British cultural institution the Royal Academy of Arts.

The brand new sculptural work by Craig-Martin, Bright Idea (2016) is on display at The Peninsula’s forecourt from 20 March to 31 May 2017, and its unveiling has been timed to coincide with the fifth edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong. The striking work – a four-metre-high, bright yellow lightbulb constructed from solid, high-tensile, powder-coated steel which has been created using a computer-controlled water-jet-cutting technique – appears to emerge from the fountain, creating an eye-catching spectacle, while challenging the way common objects are perceived by changing their dimensions and setting. 

“The unusual thing about my sculptures is that, in a sense, they are sculptures of drawings rather than of objects,” says Craig-Martin. “Most sculptures create their three-dimensionality by mimicking the dimensionality of their subject. However, as mine are actually sculptures of drawings rather than objects, they are essentially flat and depend on pictorial rather than sculptural illusionism. They have a powerful presence, but consisting only of line, very little mass, and their transparency makes them appear virtually weightless.” 

“When I was invited to visit The Peninsula with the idea of making a work for the hotel, I looked at various possibilities, various locations,” said Michael Craig-Martin RA. “I became interested in the idea of an image that would appear to float at the centre of the courtyard by the fountain. That was the initial idea.

The courtyard is an exciting and dramatic space, and therefore difficult to command with a sculpture. For this reason I decided on the image of the lightbulb, that it should be yellow, and that it would need to be as big as possible. This lightbulb is one of the largest sculptures I’ve done.” Sir Michael Craig-Martin 

Since the 1990s, Craig-Martin has focused on painting, developing a signature style with everyday objects depicted in bold, black outlines and painted in a palette of vibrant colours. Today, these defining works can be found in contemporary art collections around the world.

In 2014, Craig-Martin hosted a landmark exhibition of 12 large scale powder-coated steel sculptures in the grounds of 17th-century British stately home Chatsworth House. 

Represented by Gagosian and Alan Cristea Gallery, Craig-Martin was elected to the Royal Academy in 2006 and was commissioned as coordinator of the Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition in 2015. He was awarded a CBE in 2000, and in 2016, was knighted by the Queen for his services to art.

Images Simon J Nicol

LWSY March 2017

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