This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.More info

Mindful Art: Spaces for Contemplation


ArtisTree Selects: The Missing Something – The Singing Canvases by Ivana Wong

Mindfulness is about focusing our attention on the present, and it has a host of benefits for our mental health: reducing stress and feelings of anxiety, improving our memory and cognitive abilities, just to name a few. And as art can influence moods and connect us to our emotions and thoughts, many artists are creating meditative experiences by orchestrating the interaction between artworks, viewers, and the spaces around them. Here, we transport you to some of such mindful spaces, which were purposely designed to bring serenity and lead audiences into a state of contemplation. 


A Journey for the Senses

ArtisTree Selects: The Missing Something - The Singing Canvases by Ivana Wong

The multimedia exhibition, ArtisTree Selects: The Missing Something – The Singing Canvases, by singer-songwriter-turned-artist Ivana Wong incorporated visual, auditory and olfactory elements to create a multisensory journey. Visitors first passed through the dim, scented Tunnel of Confession with soft ambient music, before entering a white room, where the heart of the show took place: a large-scale installation combining music, lighting and a video that told a thought-provoking story. The artist had designed the journey to help visitors – many of whom were busy professionals working in Taikoo Place – to get their minds away from the outside world and into a calm and relaxing space. The transitional lighting also helped to turn the audience’s focus to their immediate surroundings, while soothing music prompted them to slow down and stay in the present moment – a moment of peace and thoughtfulness.      

The Art of Participation

Flower Obsession by Yayoi Kusama

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has for decades fascinated fans with her paintings and room installations with flamboyant colours, dramatic lighting, and polka dots. But with Flower Obsession, which was on display at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, the audience took over and decorated the apartment-like space with artificial red daisies and stickers. By the end of the four-month exhibition, the entire apartment, including the ceilings, walls, furniture and a toilet, were covered in red flowers. For the visitors (turned co-creators), it was an opportunity to experience the joy of making art while being mindful: as they embodied Kusama and considered where to place the flowers. Their mind was also brought to the present moment and away from other distracting thoughts.

Details to Ponder

Interior Design of Kiyotomo by Shiro Kuramata

Visitors to Hong Kong’s M+ museum are probably surprised when they find this sushi bar as a permanent exhibit. In fact, the curators revealed in an interview that it was their intention to create a surprise moment so visitors would stop and wonder: “Why is a sushi bar here?” Built by the renowned Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata, Kiyotomo used to be a sushi restaurant in Tokyo. It went out of business, however, and was eventually moved and preserved at the museum as the only intact example of Kuramata’s interior design work. The details of the space call for contemplation – visitors would have to pay close attention to notice the internally illuminated acrylic glass vault on the ceiling, and that the seemingly seamless sushi counter is formed from three blocks of marble granite. The exhibition includes a video that introduces Kiyotomo’s story and design, which encourages viewers to take the time to appreciate all these subtle details and reminisce about the sushi bar’s glorious history. 

Unexpected Encounters

Reflection by Polo Bourieau 

Mindful art doesn’t just exist in galleries and museums; sometimes, it may just be in the spaces around us. For the past 20 years, acclaimed Hong Kong-based French sculptor Polo Bourieau has been creating monumental sculptures for public enjoyment throughout Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland. This included Earth Dragon at Elements in West Kowloon; Wishing Well in Tseung Kwan O; Walking East in Kwun Tong; Great Wall in Central; Walking Through, Father & Son, and Written in Stone at Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu.

In 2014, he turned the public space around his 1.8 metre-tall sculpture, Reflecting Man, into a place for reflection – and not only because it was literally made of mirror-polished stainless steel. Passers-by will have found the sculpture randomly at various locations around Hong Kong, from downtown neighbourhoods to deserted beaches, and these unplanned encounters became little mindful moments as they stopped to examine and interact with the sculpture. Some took photos with it, imitating the Reflecting Man’s contemplative pose, while others were astonished by what they saw through the sculpture’s mirror surfaces. There was no one right answer to the question, “What does the Reflecting Man reflect?” And that’s just how art is meant to be – open to interpretation, and inspiring ruminations. This sculpture now permanently resides on Arbuthnot Road.

ArtisTree will be presenting a contemporary art exhibition to showcase a new collection of sculptures in March soon – stay tuned!

App Image