Affa Chan, courtesy of Tatler Hong Kong


Known as the “Godfather of the designer toys”, Michael Lau kin-man is an acclaimed Hong Kong artist born in the 1970s when the city was at the peak of industrialization and a world leader in toy manufacturing. Every toy was a rare treasure to young Michael and played a key role in his childhood. His growing passion for toys eventually led him to a career in toy design where he conceived as a form of art.

A graduate from the first institute of art and design in Hong Kong in 1992, Michael held his first solo painting exhibition at the pao galleries of the Hong Kong Art Centre in 1993. In 1999, Lau merged his creativity and passion in art, toy and action figure and created the “gardener” series with 99 pieces of 12-inch action figures that juxtaposed his favorite G.I. Joe action figures and street culture for a solo exhibition at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. His unique artistic expression garnered global attention and brought him the opportunity to showcase his work around the world where he continuously innovates the format and medium, that earned him the recognition as the pioneer who launched the global trend in the 90s within Forbes magazine article “20 trends sweeping the globe” (January 2008) as an independent artist.

Over the course of almost 30 years, Michael Lau has consciously positioned himself between contemporary art and pop culture, exploring visual possibilities wherein traditional art forms and street elements collide. Employing spray paint and collage to his canvases, Lau created his avant- garde series, including Master, Portrait, Flower, First Encounter, Soliloquy, and Method, to reflect his life experiences and personal philosophies on social topics in the contemporary world.

Lau has held exhibitions of his paintings and sculptures with leading galleries and institutions including LGDR, Christie’s and K11 Art Foundation, where Lau’s works are held in the permanent collections of museums and institutions, including K11, Hong Kong, Deji Art Museum, Nanjing, China and Hudson Valley MOCA, New York. His work has recently been featured in exhibitions including Splendid Park, Hong Kong (2023); In the Garden, Hong Kong (2022); Collect Them All!, Beijing (2022); Maxx Headroom, Hong Kong (2021); COLLECT THEM ALL!, Shanghai (2019); Oh My Toy!, London (2018); and COLLECT THEM ALL!, Hong Kong (2018).

Michael Lau(劉建文)是中國香港著名藝術家,素有「Figure 教父」的美譽。 他出生於七十年 代,當時正值香港進入工業化的火熱時期,其中玩具生產業發達,供應遠至世界各地大型連鎖 店。 玩具對於兒時的 Michael Lau 來說猶如稀世珍寶,而玩具的形式一直深深影響著他的成 長,並漸漸形成一股內在的激情,引導他走出日後藝術創作上的鮮明方向。

Michael Lau 1992 年在香港大一藝術設計學院畢業,翌年在香港藝術中心包氏畫廊舉辦首次 個人畫展,創作不斷的他在 1999 年迎來關鍵時刻,把平面創作上的想像力,與他喜愛的 GI Joe 動作人偶,以及日益普及的街頭文化結合,成功創作出命名為 Gardener 「花園人」 的 Figure 形象,99 12 吋人偶同時展出於香港藝術中心個展上。 此展中他對 figure 創作的狂熱 和成就引來了國際的注意,其人偶作品隨之巡迴展出於日本多個城市,還有繼後的臺北當代藝 術館、倫敦和巴黎的空間。 從此 Michael Lau 聲名大噪,以獨立創作人身份帶出大眾收藏設計 師玩具的全球性熱潮。 2008 年一月份美國福布斯雜誌一篇名為「20 Trends Sweeping the Globe」文章,推舉 Michael 為於 90 年代創立及帶領搪膠人形潮流之領軍人物。

經歷近三十年的實踐演變,劉建文有意識地遊走於當代藝術與流行文化之間,持續探索傳統藝 術媒介與街頭及流行文化相碰撞的視覺可能,並相繼推出「大師」、「肖像」、「花卉」、「初

見」、「自言自語」、「方法」等前衛繪畫系列,以噴漆、塗抹、拼貼等手法,將藝術家自身的生 命經驗以及其對當代社會議題的審視與哲思融合於二維畫布。

劉建文曾與厲蔚閣、佳士得及 K11 藝術基金會等知名畫廊及機構舉辦繪畫及雕塑展,其作品 被多所美術館及機構納入永久館藏,涵括香港 K11、南京德基美術館及紐約哈德遜河谷當代藝 術博物館。 藝術家近期展覽包括「璀璨公園」 (香港,2023 年)、 「花園裡」(香港,2022 年)、「包圓兒!」 (北京,2022 年)、「Maxx Headroom」(香港,2021 年)、「全收!」 (上 海, 2019 年)、「Oh My Toy!」 (倫敦,2018 年)、「COLLECT THEM ALL!」 (香港,2018 年)等。