Images / Aya Takano/Kaikai Kiki Co. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin

The Hong Kong Contemporary Art Foundation (HOCA) launched this month, with the mission of promoting and developing awareness of contemporary international art in Hong Kong. Unlike other foundations, HOCA aims to bring art to the city, outside of the gallery environment, with the idea of making art more accessible and the experience less intimidating for the uninitiated.

HOCA will be organising a series of art exhibitions and events throughout the year, in addition to sponsoring international artists-in-residence, providing art and culture programmes and community services, and overseeing the publication of contemporary art books that will be donated, along with magazines, to schools, libraries and other charitable institutions.

The inaugural HOCA exhibition, ‘La Maison d’Aya’, featuring the work of Japanese artist Aya Takano, will be on show at Bibo (163 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan) until 18 February 2015.

Curator Lauren Every-Wortman says, ‘Hong Kong’s art scene is becoming ever-more cutting-edge, and the HOCA Foundation wants to develop the conversation and education around contemporary art through exhibitions and events. We are thrilled to be able to partner with Aya Takano and Bibo for our first exhibition, and look forward to seeing HOCA grow with a number of planned events throughout 2015 and beyond.’

Takano, a former member of Takashi Murakami’s studio, is now a major star of the Japanese contemporary art world in her own right. Her dream-like works reflect on her memories of childhood and collective memories of national events, and display references to science fiction, cartoons and comics. Takano’s work is loosely based on the Japanese style Shunga (an historic form of erotic art that was often in the ukiyo-e, woodblock print style) and is a reflection of a contemporary Japanese transliteration of the Lolita complex, known as lolicon and derived from Vladimir Nabokov’s famous book. The works span a history of over ten years, with some new pieces that Takano has created specifically for the exhibition.

Every-Wortman adds that Takano’s work is ‘a fascinating amalgam of innocence and sophistication. The subjects in her works are often childlike and androgynous, and exemplify both the fleeting nature of childhood and the infantilisation of women in Japanese otaku culture. “La Maison d’Aya” will showcase this background as well as introduce the artist’s newest pieces to art lovers in Hong Kong. This exhibition will be a new step for Hong Kong’s contemporary art scene bringing artwork to city outside the context of a commercial gallery space.’

The follow-up exhibition, slated for March 2015, will be a collaboration with anonymous European artist ‘photograffeur’ JR (jr-art.net).