There’s a painting pinned to the ceiling at Duddells. You have to tilt your head back to see it – and if you look closely, you can see the pins holding it suspended above your head. This abstract piece Keith Tyson is just one of 25 works that artist Adrian Wong has installed in restaurant and bar Duddells for the exhibition Geomantic Intervention, which has works hanging at odd heights, in unusual combinations and on previously unadorned walls.
As the show’s title suggests, there’s a mystical aspect to this exhibition that explains the unusual placement of many of the works. When Wong first started brainstorming ideas for Geomantic Intervention with Alan Lo – one of the co-owners of Duddells – he was reminded of a project he completed in 2010, when he redesigned two sections of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco “under the supervision of a group of diviners, energy readers, geomancers and one of the most renowned feng shui experts in the Bay Area.”
Knowing that Lo and his wife Yenn Wong are interested in feng shui, Wong thought it would be interesting to do a similar thing at Duddells, which was designed by Ilse Crawford. “I thought it would be interesting to conceive of the impact of these objects and these images that we chose on the energies of the space and the feeling of Duddells, which is actually what I was in charge of curating,” Wong says.
This led Wong to tracking down feng shui practitioner Zoe Yung, who did a thorough reading of the energy flow in Duddells and also investigated the feelings that might be elicited by each work of art. With these readings, she worked with Wong to select the art and then hang it in the restaurant and bar. “Things came down to the millimeter,” Wong remembers. “The installers asked me like four times, ‘you know that’s not centre on the wall, right? Are you sure you want it 87.25cm off the ground?’”
Highlights among the 25 works include an enormous photo by Marina Abramovic standing beneath a waterfall and an oil painting of a fleshy female nude by George Condo, who’s famous for designing the cover of Kanye West’s album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Pieces by Hong Kong artists Frog King, Trevor Yeung and Romain Jacquet–Lagrèzeare are also on display, though Wong hasn’t put any of his own work in the show. “I just think it’s gauche to put your own work in your shows,” Wong says. “It’s just weird.”
Geomantic Intervention is on show at Duddells until March 10, 2017.