Museum still in picture with Van Gogh buildup

Local | Amy Nip 18 Jan 2016

The Museum of Art is closed until 2019 for renovations but behind the closed doors, curators will be working to bring masterpieces of Vincent van Gogh to Hong Kong.

They are also building an online database to revive old exhibitions dating back to the 1960s.

Chief curator Eve Tam Mei- yee said her team is preparing for new exhibitions to be hosted when the museum reopens as well as extending the public's reach to local art via mobile exhibitions and the internet.

On the exhibition side, top spot will be Van Gogh. Tam said the museum is in discussion with Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum to bring the art icon's works to Hong Kong.

Tam is interested in Van Gogh not only because of the Dutch painter's important status in the art world but also his dramatic life.

"In the past, we often curate exhibitions in the name of art styles such as impressionism and cubism. After renovations, we want to use a people-oriented approach, using a person to spark people's interest in art," she said.

Van Gogh, who struggled with mental illness, cut off his ear and shot himself to death at the age of 37, was the dramatic person behind his art, Tam said.

"The museum should be a story teller. We will tell stories through exhibitions," she said.

It is too early to say what pieces would be exhibited in Hong Kong, but Tam hoped it would include some of his iconic pieces such as self portraits, sunflowers or Cafe Terrace at Night.

As for extending the public's reach to local art, the museum is testing an online art research portal which will contain 1,200 entries when it is launched in February.

That will include information on local artists.

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