Money Talks Since the Medicis, financial houses have been patrons of the arts. MELISSA SCALLAN looks at today’s artists catching the financial world’s interest
▶ THREE MOMENTS OF ILLUMINATION (1998): acrylic on canvas, triptych, 2,740mm x 4,320mm. Collection of HSBC Holdings plc. Permission to reproduce courtesy of the artist and DACS.
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Ben Johnson “Spaces of quiet meditation, places to reflect and often religious places” is how artist Ben Johnson describes the subjects of many of his architectural paintings, which include Granada’s Alhambra, Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock, and Florence’s San Marco. Although HSBC’s Hong Kong HQ is unlikely to be described as a space for spiritual reflection, Johnson believes the architect – Foster + Partners – working closely to the client’s brief, was sensitive to the long hours worked by employees and therefore created the light-filled atrium as “a joyful space; space that’s good to work in; a space where one should celebrate life”. Johnson spent five days photographing the atrium from different angles, capturing the movement of shadows throughout the day. In creating a triptych, he acknowledges the building’s cathedral-like presence and by making the right panel a mirror of the left, he forces the viewer to question whether the space is real or imagined. Rather than a representation of a global giant, Johnson hopes that the work reflects the many decisions made by him as the painter, the architect’s design skills, and the client’s good intentions. More than four metres in width, this vast artwork has been exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Venice Biennale.
Hedge Magazine - Issue 46 - The Treasure Assets Issue