Metamorphosis Or Confrontation


Metamorphosis or Confrontation, Tobias Klein’s most extensive solo exhibition to date on the theme of Digital Craftsmanship.

20 May 30 Aug 2020
9:30 am to 6:00 pm (Tuesday to Saturday)
1:00 pm – 6:00 pm (Sunday)
Closed on Mondays, University and Public Holidays
Liu Haisu Gallery, 1/F T.T. Tsui Building, University Museum and Art Gallery, HKU, 90 Bonham Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
Metamorphosis Or Confrontation

(UPDATED 26/6/2020)

Vessels of Vanitas II, Tobias Klein, 2016

Vessels of Vanitas II, Tobias Klein, 2016, Resin (white), 3D print (Stereolithography Apparatus SLA), Edition of 3, 75 x 25 x 40 cm. © Tobias Klein

Transferring the qualities of cultural craftsmanship from Chinese Ceramics to digital manufacturing and 3D printing

Date: Saturday, 27 June 2020
Time: 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Venue is now changed to Liu Haisu Gallery, 1/F T.T. Tsui Building, University Museum and Art Gallery, HKU, 90 Bonham Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong. Please enter via the Fung Ping Shan Building and not the T.T. Tsui Building entrance.
Language: English
Cost: Free admission, all are welcome.
The artist talk will be conducted on site and via Zoom.
To attend the artist talk on site, please click on this link to register: (FULL)
To attend the artist talk online, please click on this link to join:
Meeting ID: 962 3339 0536
Password: 314020
*Please be ready 5 minutes prior to the scheduled time.

 Digitalisation transforms the way in which a society perceives and respects the field of Arts & Crafts. In 2012, 3D printing was described in the Economist as being a disruptive technology equal to the impact of the Industrial Revolution. In June 2018, Chinese scientists achieved the 3D printing of ceramics in microgravity using lunar dust. This feat continues thousands of years of exploration in the use of new materials, novel craftsmanship methods, and technological innovation within the development of Chinese ceramics.

Chinese ceramics are an art form renowned the world over for their technical sophistication, beauty, and wide-spread cultural influence. For thousands of years, Chinese potters have experimented with clay and engineered artefacts that exemplify a cultural high point in each era. Today, Chinese ceramics continue to play a crucial cultural role on the international art scene. The market looks towards China for art, and new technologies used in innovative applications.

In this field, 3D printing is not yet used to innovate, but to replicate sections of damaged artefacts or entire pieces based on 3D scans of the originals. The resulting surrogates are often criticized for their inauthenticity. If used only as a technology for replication, 3D printing currently seems unable to transfer the essential aspects of craft and material ontologies of cultural artefacts, such as tool marks, material haptics or patina—the so-called aura of cultural objects made by hand and the discourse about the emergence of a Digital Craftsmanship.


Dr Tobias Klein
Born in Bonn, Germany, Tobias Klein is a German Artist/Architect. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong.

Klein’s combined artistic and architectural works construct the emerging practice of Digital Craftsmanship, through which he has established an operational synthesis of digital and physical materials and tools as poetic (Poïesis) and technical (Technê) expressions. Klein’s works are based on the use of contemporary CAD/CAM technologies with site and culturally specific narratives, intuitive non-linear design processes, and historical cultural references.

His work has been exhibited internationally at the London Science Museum, the V&A, the Venice Architectural Biennale, the Science Gallery (Melbourne), the container (Tokyo), the Bellevue Arts Museum, the MoCA Taipei, and the Museum of Moscow and Museum of Vancouver. His works are also found in the permanent collection of China’s first 3D Print Museum in Shanghai, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma (USA), and the Antwerp Fashion Museum (MoMu).

Dr Florian Knothe
Dr Florian Knothe teaches the history of decorative arts in the 17th and 18th century with particular focus on the social and historic importance of royal French manufacture. He has long been interested in the early modern fascination with Chinoiserie and the way royal workshops and smaller private enterprises helped to create and cater to this long-lasting fashion. Dr Knothe worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art focusing on European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, and on European and East Asian glass at The Corning Museum of Glass, before his current position as Director of the University Museum and Art Gallery at HKU.

Dr Harald Peter Kraemer
is Associate Professor at School of Creative Media of City University of Hong Kong and Head of the Curating Art & Media stream of the Master of Arts in Creative Media program. Since his PhD in Art History on Museum Informatics & Digital Collections and his MA in Museum and Curatorial Studies, he has been involved in more than 60 museum management projects and he has produced more than 120 interactive online and offline applications. He curated and designed exhibitions like ISEA2016 in Hong Kong, The Age of Experience (HK 2015/Vienna 2016) or Interval in Space (Nairs/HK 2017). Kraemer has written and published widely on hypermedia design, museum informatics, digital collections, and contemporary art. Recent publications: Robert Lettner. Das Spiel vom Kommen und Gehen (2018). Coming: Multimedia Classics - Hypermedia Hermeneutics - Transmedia Storytelling.

Metamorphosis or Confrontation

Metamorphosis or Confrontation, Tobias Klein’s most extensive solo exhibition to date on the theme of Digital Craftsmanship. Klein was trained as an architect at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Before relocating to Hong Kong in 2014, he taught for more than ten years at the world-renowned Architectural Association School of Architecture and the Royal College of Art. Klein holds a PhD from RMIT Melbourne and currently teaches in the School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong. By exploring applications of 3D printing in architecture, art, design and interactive media installations, Klein has created a fusion of contemporary CAD/CAM technologies built from natural materials, found objects and cultural historical references. In his work, Klein develops the emerging discipline of Digital Craftsmanship as an operational synthesis between digital and physical tools and techniques.

The UMAG exhibition, curated by Harald Kraemer, traces Klein’s work over the past decade and is structured in four distinct areas: Bones, Masks, Mutations and Forces. Each theme unravels the relationships and evolution of the artist’s body of work, while at the same time demanding that visitors take a position of negotiation, evolution or confrontation.

The first room, Bones, serves as a general introduction. Full of references and models that were both inspiration and source material for the artist, the space has been transformed into a cabinet of curiosities (Wunderkammer). The second room, Masks, is dedicated to a single work. Inspired by the intricate detail and cultural allusions of Cantonese Opera masks, this interactive installation transforms the visitor into a participatory player within a landscape of discoveries and unexpected moments. Mutations, the third exhibition space, places three different works in a stimulating constellation—The Invisible Human, Melted Proportions and Witnesses—while thematising a shift in time and space. In the final room, Forces, Klein establishes a dialogue between traditional forms of Chinese wood carving, experimental glass blowing and the ornamentation of digital transformations. 

Seen as a whole, the individual rooms establish myriad readings. On the one hand, they allow for an understanding of the mastery of both digital and analogue materials while expressing the ability to apply interpretative and communicative techniques between old and new. This entire exhibition may be regarded as an extended Wunderkammer—a total work of art—which impressively presents the rich tapestry of Digital Craftsmanship.


Saturday, 13 June 2020 | 2:00pm - 3:00pm | Please click here to register
Saturday, 20 June 2020 | 11:00am - 12:00nn | Please click here to register
Venue: 1/F T.T. Tsui Building, University Museum and Art Gallery, HKU
Language: English
Cost: Free admission. No walk-in accepted.  ID (HKID/Passport) matching registered name required for entry.

**Please enter UMAG via the Fung Ping Shan Building entrance.


As part of the exhibition Metamorphosis or Confrontation, the artist Tobias Klein will host a series of workshops with a focus on 3D scanning and printing. Participants will scan found objects, digitally alter and design the scanned forms, and then 3D print the results. 

Session   Date     Time   Content
Session 1 Saturday, 20 June 2020 2:00pm -5:00pm Introduction to 3D Printing and 3D Scanning
Session 2 unday, 21 June 2020 2:00pm -5:00pm 3D Printing Modeling
Session 3 Saturday, 27 June 2020 2:00pm -3:30pm Touch up and Conclusion

Venue: Workshop Room, G/F Fung Ping Shan Building, University Museum and Art Gallery, HKU, 90 Bonham Road, Pokfulam
Cost: HK$200 per person
Audience and Limit: Aged 18 or above, maximum 8 people per class
Language: English
Materials: All printing materials will be provided. Participants are required to bring their own laptop to class. A software is required to be downloaded prior to the class, more information will be available when closer to date.
Note: Participants are required to attend ALL sessions. 

Registration & Enquiries: Registration opens from 26 May to 13 June 2020.
For enquiries, please contact Chelsea Choi: / 2241 5509.
For details of the workshop, please refer to






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