Frog King Exhibition
Lake After Rain, Phillip Hui
Fringe Festival 1999, Wong Yan-kwai
The University of Hong Kong, Lau Tak-ming
Untitled (left), Fringe Festival 1992 (right), Wong Shun-kit
Untitled, Wong Yan-kwai
Fringe Festival 1994, Carolyn Fok (left), Fringe Festival 1997, Kith Tsang (right)
Queen’s Garden, Peggy Chan (top left), Responsibility, Peggy Chan (bottom left), COCK, HEGuolu (centre), Window – Reflection of Hong Kong, Winnie Davies (right)
Fringe Club at 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong
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A timely double celebration of a four-decades-long transformation

In their manifesto, the Fringe Club says, “We believe in the powers of the arts to create our own realities. Heal the heart. Make us get up and dance…”

The Fringe Club is celebrating a milestone with an exhibition of mixed media works by sixty-six artists. This is an extensive showing of contemporary artworks by local artists, many of who have previously participated in either solo or group exhibitions at the Fringe Club. The works are displayed and spread throughout several venues of the club, including the main Anita Chan Lai-ling Gallery, the usual venue for the display of visual arts; the Fringe Dairy, a jazz and cabaret space which typically hosts live musical performances; and the Studio Theatre on the second floor, which normally presents live performances.

The exhibition’s title “Be 40” provides recognition to the works that have been commissioned and collected by the Fringe Club during the past forty years, from 1982 to the present day. It also heralds the almost forty years that the Fringe Club has influenced and fostered the growth of arts in Hong Kong. The club has been providing a platform for visual, musical, and theatrical artists since 1983.

The Fringe Club has occupied one part of the old icehouse on the corner of Lower Albert Road and Ice House Street for almost four decades. They have transformed their premises in this heritage building to provide open access to all for the fostering of creative expression and the enjoyment of the arts, as well as for social interaction between artists and the public, with venues that also provide food and drinks.

The distinctive curved, red brick and stucco strip patterned building located on the corner of Lower Albert Road, Wyndham Street and Glenealy is a declared Grade 1 heritage site in Central. The icehouse was built in 1892 and used as a cold storage warehouse by the Dairy Farm Company. The building was expanded from 1913 onwards to include additional shop space and rooms. Dairy Farm also used it as its company headquarters until the building was traded with the government in the early 1970s for land in the New Territories. Destined for demolition, the building was given a second life when one part of the building was leased to the Fringe Club and the other part leased to The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, which formally opened its facilities in the north part of the building in November 1982. The Foreign Correspondents’ Club is also celebrating forty years as tenants this year.

Some of the works in the Be 40 exhibition give focus to the Fringe, and some artists particularly recall their memories of their initial encounters with the iconic building – with the tell-tale shape and dark and light stripe patterns showing up in their works.

The entire Studio Theatre on the second floor features an extensive showing of recent works by Frog King (Kwok Mang-ho), one of Hong Kong’s most prolific and dynamic artists. Originally trained in ink painting and calligraphy, his art now incorporates a broad and vast range of media and materials, including installations and performances.

 Text & Photos Cammy Yiu