Academic History and Exhibitions
Kum Chi Keung was born in Hong Kong in 1965. He received a Certificate in Fine Arts at First Institute of Arts and Design Hong Kong in 1991.
Hitting the arts scene in the early 1990s, Kum held his first solo exhibition Once Upon A Time at the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre in 1993. Within a few years he was showing internationally at Inside Out: New Chinese Art held in New York in 1998. The show then travelled to Seattle and San Francisco, followed by Australia. He also participated in the Contemporary Hong Kong Art Biennial Exhibition of 1996 and won the 'Urban Council Fine Arts Award' of that year.
Kum Chi Keung quickly built a strong international reputation from a Hong Kong base, winning acclaim from critics, collectors and corporations.
Other more recent exhibitions include: Made in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Museum of Arts, Hong Kong 2008, Legacy and Creations - Ink Art vs. Ink Art, Shanghai Art Museum, China in 2010, Hong Kong Eye, Saatchi Gallery, London (2012); Hong Kong Eye, ArtisTree, Hong Kong (2013); The Origin of Dao: New Dimensions in Chinese Contemporary Art, Hong Kong Museum of Art (2013), and Framed: Ai Weiwei and Hong Kong Artists, Duddells (2014).
Kum Chi Keung has harnessed the bird cage as an object and metaphor within his work since the 1990s. Creating bird cages, varying them in size and dimensions, and working in diverse materials including wood and stone, Kum repurposes a classic Hong Kong craft and opens it to varying interpretations and uses.
Birdcages represent both links to the past, and commentaries on the way Hong Kongers live today. Aspects of people’s lives, foods, and leisure activities may be represented inside the cage, perhaps
denoting the oddness of today’s pursuits and technological innovations seen through the prism of tradition, nature or history.
Kum Chi Keung represents bamboo (also a key medium) forests, pine trees, motifs of classical Chinese paintings in his work. Rather than relying on ink and brush, he achieves the same delicacy through drilling on stone and steel. These works, created by the artist harnessing modern power tools and traditional cutting implements, exhibit the fine details of painting portrayed with the scale and power of sculpture.
Kum’s art inspires both in an intimate and in a larger, public setting. Within Hong Kong, K11, Swire Hotels and Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited are among the shopping malls, residential developments, hotels and commercial centres which display his work. The artist’s gift for recalling the traditions of Hong Kong associated with the bird cage, whilst endowing them with new and contemporary meaning, ensures that there is a continual interest in commissions. Shadow at K11 shows birds exhibiting freedom yet mimicking human behaviour.
At a civic level, Kum Chi Keung’s art reaches and inspires a wide audience, and his joyful aesthetic has been embraced by the Hong Kong government and leading corporations, including the city’s MTR stations and Star Ferry, Hong Kong Public Library, Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Victoria Park, and Sheung Wan Cultural & Civic Centre.
Awards and Collections
Kum has received various awards for his artistic achievements, such as “Persons with Outstanding Contributions to the Development of Arts and Culture” awarded by Secretary for Home Affairs, HKSAR in 2014 and Selected in Honorable Mention Prizes of “Hong Kong Arts Centre 30th Anniversary Award” in 2008.
Kum's works have been collected by the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Louis Vuitton (Taipei), The Village at Sanlitun (Beijing), Christian Dior (France), Deutsche Bank and many more.