The iconic 90s movies of Hong Kong are more than just cinematic masterpieces; they embody the city’s cultural identity, showcasing its vibrancy and individuality to people around the world. Drawing inspiration from these classics and the city’s lively nightlife, Japanese artist Jun Oson pays tribute to the vibrant energy and cinematic flair of Hong Kong with “MOTLEY”, his latest exhibition curated by WAY by Way of Difference at Gallery by the Harbour, from 25 May to 18 June.
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The exhibition showcases 15 paintings, with a big truck depicting signature scenes from iconic 90s action and comedy movies of Hong Kong such as ‘In the Mood for Love’, ‘A Better Tomorrow’, and ‘Out of the Dark’, while others represent Oson’s unique vision of the city as a powerful and energetic place where all kinds of happenings and people come together. Jun Oson masterfully blends his distinctive pop art and manga styles with vibrant colours, bringing the essence of Hong Kong to life in each of his paintings, revitalizing the nostalgia of old Hong Kong with a contemporary twist.
With “MOTLEY,” Oson brings his signature positive graphic work to Hong Kong, infusing his strong use of colour and humorous background with the cinematic energy of the city’s iconic 90s movies.
Diving into Jun Oson’s Hong Kong: A City That Never Sleeps
Despite never having visited Hong Kong, Jun Oson was frequently exposed to Hong Kong movies through television broadcasts. When preparing for his solo exhibition in Hong Kong, Oson decided to focus on iconic Hong Kong movies from the 90s, as they were a fascinating representation of the city in his mind. As he began to conceptualize the exhibition, the name “MOTLEY” instantly came to him as an expression of his imagination of Hong Kong as a powerful and energetic city, where all kinds of happenings and people come together. Oson’s inspiration for the exhibition also stems from his impression of Hong Kong as “Neon light flaring up the desires in the dark. A city that never sleeps.”
During the preparation, Oson revisited many Hong Kong iconic movies, including “In the Mood for Love”, “A Better Tomorrow”, “From Beijing with Love” and “Out of the Dark” to capture their signature moments and references. For Hong Kong movie enthusiasts, identifying the referenced scenes in Oson’s paintings can be a delightful challenge. Oson’s distinctive touch of pop art and manga is evident in the vivid colours and playful, peanut-shaped characters that he infuses into the artworks. These characters add a whimsical element to the paintings’ dramatic urban settings, and their signature stateless style leaves room for the audiences’ interpretation.
Oson’s commitment to promoting diversity is also evident in his paintings, which depict characters of different races and imaginative creatures, including monsters and robots, mingling with humans. This adds richness and vibrancy to his work and showcases his unique artistic vision.
The featured work of the exhibition, “Street Corner”, is a tribute to those who belong to the long night of Hong Kong, capturing the essence of the city’s vibrant nightlife. In this painting, Oson brings together a diverse cast of characters, including a woman wearing a Chinese qipao, a man dressed in a white suit, and a skeleton in casual wear, all gathered together on a street corner. Through this striking image, Oson celebrates the eclectic mix of people who make Hong Kong’s nightlife so unique.
Jun Oson’s Success Across Continents: Exhibitions in Europe, Asia, and Beyond
Oson’s art has been exhibited across the globe, from England and France to Dubai and Beijing. With “MOTLEY”, his art has resonated with a wide audience, and he has collaborated with various renowned companies, such as BEAMS, New Balance, HONDA, and Japan’s NHK Educational Channel.
Jun Oson’s “MOTLEY” Exhibition @Harbour City
Date: 25 May 2023 – 18 June 2023
Time: 11am – 9pm
Venue: Gallery by the Harbour (Shop 207, Level 2, Ocean Centre, Harbour City)
About Jun Oson
Jun Oson is a Japanese artist who has been active since 2005. He started his career with the initial creation of characters with peanut-shaped features which have since developed further to become the cornerstone of his iconic style. Like many Japanese artists, his art is influenced by manga and animations from his culture and stands out from the others with a touch of pop art borrowed from the West.
“Diversity” is the fundamental concept of his art ever since the beginning of his career. It is reflected through characters of different colours, and the appearance of monsters and robots mingling with humans. The characters in his art have a signature stateless style that is open for the audiences’ interpretations. In recent years, Jun Oson has been active around the world, including shows and art piece releases in England, France, Dubai, Hong Kong and Beijing.