Asiatic Insights

Art Basel‘s fifth Hong Kong edition welcomes 242 galleries to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) from 23 March to 25 March. The 2017 show sees exhibitors from 34 countries and territories come to the city. Works ranging from the early 20th century to the present day will be on view, and half of the exhibitors have spaces in Asia and the Asia Pacific region, including Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan – making the fair an unparalleled platform for art from this region. It boasts a high number of galleries from Hong Kong itself, as well as mainland China.

Led by partner UBS, the upcoming event expands on last year’s programme by inviting 29 new galleries from Asia, Europe and the Americas. For the first time, Art Basel will also introduce the Kabinett sector to its Hong Kong show, which has been a great success at Art Basel Miami Beach. Kabinett sees galleries present a specially curated project in a separate area within their booths, ranging from one person shows, thematic group exhibitions, installations, film/video programs to collections of art historical material.

Main sector Galleries will feature 190 exhibitors specialising in Modern and contemporary art and various mediums including painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, photography, video and editioned works. Exhibitors returning after a brief hiatus include Karma International, Timothy Taylor and Galerie Daniel Templon. The Galleries sector will see Antenna Space and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler present a joint booth in an unprecedented collaboration for two young galleries.

Insights will be dedicated to curatorial projects by 27 galleries, of which eight are completely new to the fair, and will feature solo shows, historical material and thematic group exhibitions. This sector illustrates Asian art history by presenting work by artists from Asia and the Asia Pacific region. This edition features a selection of Modern work as well as a strong presentation of Chinese contemporary artists. Highlights include works by four members of Taiwan’s The Fifth Moon avant-garde group.

In 2017, Discoveries features a selection of solo and two-person exhibitions: 12 of the 25 galleries participating will be new to Art Basel Hong Kong. Key exhibitions include Petra Cortright’s (b. 1986) series of five digital paintings on anodized aluminum presented by Société; and Ishu Han’s (b. 1987) politically charged video, photography and painting examining the relationship between the individual and society at Urano.

BMW’s collaboration with Art Basel to support emerging artists, BMW Art Journey, is open to artists featured within the Discoveries sector in Hong Kong and within the Positions sector at Miami Beach. British artist Abigail Reynolds (b. 1975), represented by Rokeby, who was the award recipient in 2016, will this year present The Ruins of Time: Lost Libraries of the Silk Road as a culmination of her experience. Elsewhere, the Encounters sector, which is dedicated to works of institutional proportions, sees Alexie Glass-Kantor, Executive Director of Artspace, Sydney, curate a programme of sculptural installations and performance.

Other sectors to look out for include the popular Film sector, once again be curated by Beijing and Zurich-based curator, multi-media artist and producer Li Zhenhua; Conversations, the long-established morning programme of talks and panel discussions; and the afternoon Salon series that serves as a platform for shorter, more freestyle presentations, including artist talks, panel discussions, lectures and book launches. In addition, Art Basel has an associated line-up of events at cultural organisations across the city, including Asia Art Archive (AAA), the Asia Society, Para/Site Art Space, Spring Workshop and M+.

Art Basel Hong Kong, 23-25 March, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and various institutions across the city.

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1. Atarimae-no-koto, 3kg Painting, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and imura art gallery. Insights sector.