Wun Dun: an Art Bar by Adrian Wong
Art Basel in Hong Kong, May 2013
Absolut is delighted to announce a new collaboration with US-born, Hong Kong-based artist Adrian Wong for the first edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong. This new installation, entitled Wun Dun, will transform the basement of the Fringe Club in Central Hong Kong, into an art bar featuring nightly performances and serving a range of cocktails designed by the artist. The bar will be open for the duration of the fair.
“I am incredibly excited by the opportunity to work with the Absolut Art Bureau on this ambitious collaboration. The entire team, from the creative staff to the beverage designers, have supported my hare-brained ideas, and their assistance has been invaluable in creating such an immersive experience—from the robotic musicians to the roast duck-infused cocktails.”
- Adrian Wong, Artist
Taking inspiration from Hong Kong's rich and unique history, Adrian Wong will create this latest art bar as a performative, participatory environment. This immersive work of art is inspired by the many different periods of Hong Kong's history. The artist makes use of multiple layers of traditional, often iconic imagery to evoke a multi-sensory impression of Hong Kong’s past. Wun Dun departs from the “real”, official history of the region by simultaneously drawing upon references from film, folklore, superstition, and alternative cosmologies.
The term Wun Dun has a number of different meanings. In traditional Chinese Cosmology the term refers to the primordial chaos that followed the division of heaven and earth. Wun Dun is also a "cosmic gourd" whose shape is taken to represent heaven and earth, and is by extension, a symbol for the entire universe. In Confucianism Wun Dun is a party-loving god shaped like a yellow sack with six legs and no sensory orifices.
In this installation, Wong takes these different meanings and ideas and reinterprets them as a metaphor for Hong Kong itself, an ancient, yet very modern region. Hong Kong is a part of China but with a varied colonial history, much of which has been eroded or forgotten. The complex, intertwined and often-indecipherable layers of Hong Kong’s past are like some great unknowable chaos contained within or behind the slick seamless façade of futuristic modernity.
Wong will orchestrate a series of interventions in the space combining different aesthetic, musical, and architectural references drawn from the idiosyncrasies of the region. From functionally designed banquette seating, popular in cafes and bars across the Pearl River Delta, to an animatronic backing band supporting septuagenarian lounge singers still active in Hong Kong, Wun Dun will provide an anachronistic view into the depths of the city’s collective consciousness.
The cocktail collection by Adrian Wong and Absolut
The creation of bespoke Absolut cocktails composed of complex combinations of flavours has been an important aspect of Adrian Wong's working process on the Wun Dun project. The layers of Hong Kong's complex history are mirrored in the experience of the drinks Adrian Wong has developed together with mixoligist Andres Leon Basile. Vodka infused with duck fat and served with Pak Choi, a Martini cocktail flavored with Oolong tea, picked by monkeys! drinks mixed with wolfberries (Goji berries), ginger and star anise; all these flavors and aromas combine with the setting of Wun Dun to form a fascinating, mystery-laden portrait of Hong Kong.
These cocktails were created by artist Adrian Wong and Absolut mixoligist Andres Basile Leon exclusively for the Wun Dun Art Bar installation.
Photo Credit: Christian Hagward