• “Tim Yip: Blue – Art, Costumes and Memory” showcases multidisciplinary works by renowned art director and visual artist Tim Yip. /courtesy of HDKI Gallery
  • “Lili” and “Robot Lili” /courtesy of HDKI Gallery

Tim Yip takes a trip in time

Art November 26, 2018 01:00

By The Nation

4,864 Viewed

Acclaimed costume designer Tim Yip reappears with ‘Robot Lili’ on his arm



LAUDED for his artistic direction and costume designs for the acclaimed film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, Tim Yip has over the decades left a deep imprint on art, culture and performance across the globe. 

His first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, “Tim Yip: Blue – Art, Costumes and Memory”, is on display at the HKDI Gallery until March 31, capturing the evolution of his work across three decades, including his collaborations with renowned filmmakers.

“Tim Yip: Blue – Art, Costumes and Memory” showcases multidisciplinary works by renowned art director and visual artist Tim Yip. /courtesy of HDKI Gallery 

Curator Mark Holborn boasts a portfolio of leading artists including Annie Leibovitz, Issey Miyake and Daido Moriyama. 

“Blue” is his fifth collaboration with Yip following “Silent Passenger” (Beijing, 2013), “In Parallel” (Amiens, 2016), “Reformation” (Shanghai, 2016) and “Migong” (Chongqing, 2017).

The installation titled “Blue” plays on ideas and symbolisation, from the nature of the imagination to the depths of the subconscious mind, from collective history to human memory. 

“In the essence of time and space flows a sense of consciousness,” Yip says. “No matter where I am, deeply imprinted memories are constantly evolving. They never disappear. Like the expansive ocean, my memory deepens with time. 

“There’s only one colour that can aptly represent it – blue – dancing in the eternity of an alternate universe.”

Costumes for the role of Yu Xiulian in the 1999 movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” /courtesy of HDKI Gallery 

Part 1 of the exhibition features 21 costumes from Yip’s films and original creations, including the original outfits created for Oscar-winner “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Red Cliff” and “The Banquet”. 

“Sights” offers one of the six sets of costumes inspired by time and space. Combining interpretations of ancient Chinese history and abstract artistic expression, the masked face is a representation of the artist’s imagination and his hope for the future that people who “live under the veil” will be able to return to China’s traditional culture. 

“Sight”, part of the installation series “Timeless Time”, has one of the six sets of independent costumes inspired by time and space. /courtesy of HDKI Gallery 

Another centrepiece is “Shaping”, a Gothic corseted dress in black and grey adorned with 100,000 crystals commissioned by Swarovski in 2016. The second and the third parts of the exhibition focus on Yip’s ongoing muse “Lili” – a wigged mannequin seen in several of his works. Representing separate reality, she is presented as “Robot Lili”, speculating on the future of collective memory and artificial intelligence. 

“Shaping”, a Gothic corseted dress with over 100,000 crystals that Yip designed for Swarovski /courtesy of HDKI Gallery 

Lili resembles a stereotypical 16-year-old Chinese woman. She nearly always wears dark glasses and has a variety of wigs and costumes. 

Other highlights include “Outdated Magazines”, in which a photomontage of Lili is substituted on the covers, and “Blue”, in which he revisits his hometown through Lili for the first time, in his most personal film to date.

For details, visit www.HKDI. edu.hk/hkdi_gallery.