Starlight Unfading: Miss You Much Leslie Cheung

Even though 20 years have passed since he lived in this world, Leslie Cheung is a shining star in Hong Kong’s pop culture.

Since its opening on 29 March 2023 at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, the “Miss You Much Leslie Exhibition” has attracted more than 300,000 visitors. The purpose of this exhibition is to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the passing of our Hong Kong superstar, Leslie Cheung. Audiences can view the personal collection, performance costume and precious videos during this extraordinary journey.

Red was one of Leslie’s favourite colours during his lifetime, so it is also the dominant hue of this exhibition. The red light is refracted by the glass of the exhibit cases, and Leslie’s voice recordings and visual footage are presented on the LED screen behind the showcases, displaying various looks and music from different periods of his life.

Glory and Memory

Leslie is a highly accomplished musician. His sublime musical achievements are easily discernible from the walls of music CDs and videos featured in the exhibition. “Monica” stands as one of his masterpieces. It broke away from the traditional lyrical song style prevalent in the past HK music market and employed a fast rhythm to convey the anguish of a regretful, lost man. Consequently, this innovation helped Leslie secure the “Jade Solid Gold Best Ten Music Award” in 1984.

The showcase displays many rare vinyl records that are hard to find on the market during the “Miss You Much Leslie Exhibition” at Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin, 4th October, 2023. Apart from showcasing Leslie’s classic musical works, they also present Hong Kong’s pop culture in the 80s and 90s. Credit: Sarah LU.

Not only in music, but Leslie’s dressing style also reflects that he was an artist keen to break from traditional conventions of art.

His costume, along with his long hair and mustache at that time, were quite ground-breaking, representative, and avant-garde for that generation. I really admired his bold breakthrough,” remarked Jane Ng, who has been a fan of Leslie for seven years.

The costume she mentioned is the seashell culottes that Leslie Cheung wore during his Passion Tour concert in 2000.

A famous French designer, Jean-Paul Gaultier, meticulously crafted the seashell culottes for Leslie during his world tour concert “Passion Tour concert” at Hong Kong Coliseum in 2000 Credit: Ming Pao Weekly.

Those collections and exhibits are partly provided by Mr. Daffy Tong, Leslie’s mate, including: a Vinyl record of “For Your Heart Only“, a Cassette Tape of “The Wind Continues to Blow“, the red high heels worn by Leslie Cheung at Live in Concert ’97, and the red cloak and suit with stonework, with the culottes also being courtesy of Daffy.

“Continue to Love”

Apart from the exhibits borrowed from Daffy, the exhibition organizers also created additional displays. The most captivating is a portrait of Leslie, created using 1156 commemorative medals. This artwork utilizes light and shadow effects along with the varying shades of the medals to depict Leslie’s profile. These medals are the 20th Anniversary Antique Commemorative Medals, available for purchase at the souvenir shop in the Hong Kong Heritage Museum or through the official fan club website, “LesFANmily“.

1156 commenmorate medals with Leslie’s profile, a butterfly and “Leslie Forever” make up the portrait at the exit of the exhibition for visitors to view his face. This is a special idea by agent Florence Chan to continue the story of Leslie Cheung with the butterfly and paper crane. Credit: Sarah LU.

The “Miss You Much Leslie Exhibition” is a collaboration between the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and three guest curators: Florence Chan, Leslie’s agent with close to 22 years of friendship, William Chang, a film art director and costume designer, and Wing Shya, a photographer. William Chang collaborated with Leslie in many films, such as “Days of Being Wild” and “Happy Together“, while Wing Shya also participated in the “Happy Together” production. All three were close friends with Leslie and designed the exhibition to introduce more people to Leslie’s life and legacy, ensuring his memory continues to resonate.

Interview clips of Leslie with subtitles and footage would be more appealing to stop and watch, but the clips were too fast for me to catch the highlights,” Jane shared her impressions after visiting the exhibition, “But I still agree that it will help the public to understand more about Leslie Cheung, even if the exhibition is more focused on music rather than film.”

One of the exhibition’s hit points is the two walls filled with songs that Leslie has sung, located at the entrance and the exit. Credit: Sarah LU.

The “Miss You Much Leslie Exhibition” will conclude on 9 October 2023. It also serves as a preliminary programme for the “Hong Kong Pop Culture Festival 2023” held in April 2023.

Life is impermanent, but love is eternal, so let’s continue to love Leslie Cheung,” Daffy wrote in a message for the “10 Years of Leslie Cheung’s Death” Memorial Service.

Featured Image: Miss You Much Leslie Exhibition. Credit to Sarah LU Yiting

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