Hong Kong is having a busy week with all the art collectors, curators, museum directors, gallerists, journalists and artists that have descended upon the Pearl of the Orient for Art Basel.
In recent months, the city has seen an influx of international galleries, including David Zwirner and most recently Hauser & Wirth opening their Asia outpost in the hottest and newest gallery hub, H Queen, that at 24-storeys tall, really makes the most of the little development space left in Hong Kong.
So once you’ve perused the plush new 10,000 sq ft gallery spaces in the sky, walked amongst the sculptures by Yayoi Kusama and Matthew Tsang in the new Harbour Arts Sculpture Park co-curated by the Royal Academy of Arts Director Tim Marlow, and taken a gander to see Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Flesh and Spirit (1982-83) that’s on show at Sotheby’s Hong Kong ahead of being the star attraction of the Contemporary Art evening auction in New York, you have to head to the Convention & Exhibition Centre on Harbour Road for the sixth edition of Art Basel Hong Kong.
Here, you will see everything from modern masters to contemporary talent from over 240 international galleries. The fair brings together spaces from the USA and Europe as well as representing the strengthening Asian art scene with new galleries from Seoul, Taipei and Beijing.
From the Instagrammable and the collectable to the challenging and innovative, Art Basel Hong Kong is a platform for some of the most exciting work everyone should know about. Here, is just a small taster of what you’ll see.
195 leading international galleries show in this section of the fair, so expect to see the acclaimed photographer Candida Höfer (Ben Brown Fine Arts) and the exceptionally talented painter, Djordje Ozbolt (Herald St). Michel Comte will present a news series of works that explore the decline of glacial landscapes at his gallery, Galerie Urs Meile (Booth 1D24). And Jeffrey Deitch has curated Modern Figures for Luxembourg & Dayan’s stand (Booth 3E07) that focuses on how artists between the 1920s and 1960s approached figuration and includes work by Giorgio de Chirico and Pablo Picasso.
If you love big, fun and engaging art then you want to head to Encounters section, where 12 ambitious projects have been curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor. If you’ve never had the opportunity of experiencing Austrian artist, Erwin Wurm’s ongoing project, One Minute Sculptures (2000-2018) that were a hit at last year’s Venice Biennale, then you have the chance to create your very own artwork by interacting with a variety of inanimate objects. Or make sure you don’t miss Chou Yu-Cheng’s new performance Refresh, Sacrifice, New Hygiene, Infection, Clean, Robot, Air, Housekeeping, www .agentbong. com, Cigarette, Dyson, Modern People (2017). It might have a mouth-full of a title, but the work has serious intention as it explores hygiene, the distribution of labor and technology.
Insights is a unique aspect to the fair as it seeks to illustrate Asian art history through the works of important artists from Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. One of this year’s highlights is Li Zhanyang’s intriguing installation, A Tale of Two Cities (2013). The Chongqing-based sculptor has been drawn to depicting crowded scenes since a child and here, manages to condense the intensity of the monumental into diminutive form.
Focusing on emerging artists, 25 galleries in the Discoveries section present thought-provoking and challenging solo shows. One such project is Sophia Al-Maria, Mirror Cookie, an installation that creates a positive, self-affirming environment in which the Chinese-American actress Bai Ling – who Al-Maria has been a fan of since the 2000s – can attempt to ‘free her public persona from the abjection projected onto her in the popular imagination of tabloids’.
HTC Vive Lounge
How better to challenge perceptions of the world than to work within the sphere of virtual reality. And two art world giants are publicly launching their latest ventures into the realm of VR during Art Basel Hong Kong in the HTC Vive Lounge. The doyenne of endurance performance, Marina Abramović unveils Rising (2017), in which viewers will witness her within a glass tank that slowly fills with water so as to symbolise the effects of climate change. While Anish Kapoor goes internal, taking you on a gory journey through the human body in Into Yourself, Fall (2017).
Art Basel Hong Kong 2018 takes place at Convention & Exhibition Centre, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong between March 29-31, 2018. Ticketed entry.
Want to see more major art events around the world? Check out all the art fairs in Basel.