The Urbanites

K11 Art Foundation proudly presents ‘The Urbanites’,

Solo exhibition and photography book launch of eminent photographer Almond Chu

Exhibition from 8 - 30 June 2013


Our Urban City is a place where people from diverse backgrounds with different beliefs and pursuits gather. Hong Kong is such a place, a thriving fusion of divergent cultures containing nationalites from around the world bringing their own languages and traditions, creating endless possibilities of human character to be explored. Urbanites hurrying about their lives in the fast paced daily life of Hong Kong capture the essence of our city-scape and cultural heart.


Interpretation of Urbanites by Almond Chu

Urbanites are citizens that have a unique and optimistic outlook on life; they are a group of people nurtured by vivid neon lights and modern skyscrapers of international metropolises. These people are described as city-proud, media-literate, brand-centric, trend-sensitive and culturally-aware. Possessing a strong recognition of their urban identities, urbanites expect their own living to be meaningful embraced with interesting experiences; their jobs to be fulfilling and enjoyable; their lives to be lived holistically and successfully.

As one of the most prominent photographic artists in Hong Kong, Almond Chu believes that Urbanites interpret an attitude of lifestyle, somehow mirroring a spiritual portrayal of our contemporary city living. Through his lens Almond Chu finds that with clear and purposeful pursuits in originality, urbanites can be the creative sparks and pioneers in our cities; they dare to think big and are ahead of time in their actions and quests. More than absorbing the international urban information, urbanites always keep an eye on the native outlook of local culture. They also try to re-shape their own personality, interpret their attitude, and present the spirit of fashion according to their personal experiences.

To Almond Chu the autonomy of living is vital, and he tries to discover a sense of cultural texture in the city that has been stretched with urban lifestyle. He also hopes to find an ideal space of belonging, live his life the fullest as an evidence of existence. As Chu mentioned, “Thanks to a sense of awareness beyond materialistic lifestyle, the day to day interaction and clash between the urbanites and the surrounding urban development easily bring impact on changing the entire city-scape and ecology of local community. Urbanites therefore could inevitably become a compass of our city’s cultural development.”


Urbanites in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, where traces of urbanites which Almond Chu has described can be found?

Almond Chu said, “Central and Western District is one big hub in Hong Kong charmed with native history and culture while the modern city development has been undergone simultaneously.” Alongside narrow roads, lanes and walkways, boutiques, small shops, furniture stores, authentic old Hong Kong groceries, cafes, bars, art galleries, local eateries of their own personalities are everywhere in Central and Western District. Local neighbourhood, newcomers or visitors of different backgrounds are mingling in this cultural convergence point. The fusion of present and past, and the East and West enrich the colours which also makes Central and Western a district full of cultural colours and allure.

During these years, Almond Chu enjoys wandering around Central and Western District. He has witnessed the change as more and more urbanites have fallen in love with this area nowadays. Urbanites from different backgrounds reside in Central and Western District, they share ideas and experiences, gradually transforming it into a trendsetting community with vitality, fashion and inspiration because they know that this is still a great place to be explored and discovered. So does the local neighbourhood.


Capturing the particular personality of Urbanites

As one of the most reputable photographic artists in Hong Kong, Almond Chu began to travel and work at major metropolis such as, New York and Tokyo during 1980s to 1990s. After graduation, Almond Chu returned to Hong Kong to set up his studio. His focus is always portrait photography and he had created a series of works showcasing his unique artistic languages.

Over these years, the shooting models (subjects) of Almond Chu’s portrait photography who mostly came from the arts and cultural industry, such as Zhang Xiaogang, Johnnie To, and Perry So, had already become the leading figures in their respective field. Chu loved to meet and chat with his shooting models beforehand. He tried to understand their characters, purely based on his subjective point of view derived from a sense of sharp sensitivity. Within a second of movement, he designed and then created a new character for the subjects. Here, an urbanite and another urbanite were inspiring each other, and throughout this repeated process of creating and being created, Chu discovered eternity in his photography which perhaps is the best portrait to unveil true character and unique flair of urbanites.

The acclaimed photography critic Iizawa Kotaro gave a fine comment on Almond Chu. “Almond delicately captures the qi of the people in front of his camera and he then injects the qi into their body postures.”


About the Exhibition and Photography Book Launch

Proudly presented by K11 Art Foundation and sponsored by New World Development Company Limited, ‘The Urbanites’, Almond Chu Solo Exhibition will feature the artist’s well-selected collection of 19 works in around 20 years, including black and white, colour, traditional photographic film and digital photography masterpieces. A number of new works will also be on display.

Almond Chu’s portrait art photography always shows its special allure, he has captured the personality of new generation well-known artists. This exhibition will show the audience Chu’s creation progression on portrait art photography during times. On the day of exhibition opening, a Photography Book also entitled ‘The Urbanites’ will be launched simultaneously which included 80 pieces of Chu’s works in around 30 years. Those works photographed the most decisive moment for the art and cultural sector and made a perfect interpretation for ‘Urbanites’.