Controversial artwork by French artist at Harbour City may affect city’s feng shui, say practitioners


20th March 2023 – (Hong Kong) Harbour City, has enlisted French artist JR to create his first “GIANTS” artwork in Asia. The installation, titled “GIANTS: Rising Up,” is a 12-meter-high and 12-meter-wide depiction of a high jumper floating mid-air next to Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. The artwork, which is on display until 23rd April 2023 at Ocean Terminal Deck, interacts with its surroundings and appears to convey the sensation of free fall.

French artist JR is known for his oversized black and white optical illusion art and photographic installations in public spaces. His works have been displayed in over 40 cities with more than 80 exhibitions, including prestigious venues such as the Musée du Louvre in Paris, Palazzo Farnese in Rome, and the Pyramid of Khafre in Giza.

However, after the unveiling of the installation, some citizens have expressed their discontent. Some believe that the artwork has “seriously damaged Hong Kong’s feng shui” and is “heart-chilling.” Netizens have also criticised the artwork for potentially having a negative impact on people’s mental health. Some have even called for its removal, stating that the high-jumping athlete appears to be jumping off a building or into the sea due to the background being the coast.

The artwork has also caused controversy among practitioners of feng shui, with Master Cloud (Yun Wen-zi) expressing concern that it could impact the city’s overall feng shui grid. She said that the artwork could signify the risk of fire. The artwork could negatively affect Hong Kong’s overall feng shui because the figure in the artwork appears to be bending backwards with its head touching the ground as it signifies instability and fluctuation in Hong Kong’s luck. Although the situation is expected to improve after May in the lunar calendar, the installation could impede the city’s progress.

Geomancy expert Spencer Lee also shared similar concerns, stating that physical objects have spiritual energy and can affect the surrounding environment. He cited the example of putting a happy photo at the foot of a pregnant woman’s bed, which can lead to a happier baby. Lee criticised the artwork’s design for resembling a falling structure with the bamboo scaffolding, which could negatively affect Hong Kong’s overall feng shui and increase the risk of industrial accidents in the surrounding area. He added that the sculpture’s location, facing the Victoria Harbour, may give the impression of jumping into the sea rather than jumping high, leading to conclusions that the sculpture is “extremely evil” and “harming Hong Kong”.

Another opinion suggests that the artwork, with its back facing Victoria Harbour, appears to be jumping high but is actually jumping into the sea, making it a “place of no burial”. Critics have condemned the artwork as “extremely evil and harmful to Hong Kong”.