Review of Art Basel Hong Kong 2019, China

The 7th edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong, open to the public from March 29 to 31 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The show features 242 galleries from 35 countries participate in this year’s show, showcase from exclusive events to interactive floorplan and catalog highlights, practical must-haves at your fingertips, set to be the most exciting yet.

The presentation artworks comprised precisely curated projects, ranging from thematic solo and group exhibitions to art-historical showcases and film. Hong Kong is the perfect location for art fair is due to its surrounding art scene, its supportive art community, and its position as a leading art market in Asia. With Hong Kong Art Basel’s 2019, deliver an opportunity for art enthusiasts to come together, experience art, and exchange ideas.

Experience the incredible variety of Modern and contemporary art on view in the show’s five major sectors: Insights, Discoveries, Encounters, Kabinett, and Galleries. Dive into the Art Basel Stories for a more in-depth look at the show’s protagonists and highlights. This year, four more galleries add to ‘Meet the Gallerists’ video series.

Leading international galleries across Asia, Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and Africa. Some 21 galleries from around the world was taking part in the fair for the first time, so there was plenty of new additions to this year’s event. Over half of the galleries with exhibition spaces hail from Asia, and as many as 25 was from Hong Kong.

Southeast Asian galleries have a particularly strong presence this time around. The list includes Richard Koh Fine Art, which has spaces in Malaysia and Thailand, a first-time participant presenting “Your Past is My Future” by Natee Utarit. Thailand’s Nova Contemporary showcase a new series of works by Burmese artist Moe Satt, while Indonesian gallery ROH Projects feature various artists.

Highlights
The 7th edition of Art Basel Hong Kong has been marked by countless highlights. As usual, Art Basel was divided into several sectors, each with its own features.

They include exceptional works by artists including Sigmar Polke, Yoo Youngkuk, Alice Neel, Xu Bing, Huang Rui, Nan Goldin, Mira Schendel, Anicka Yi, Kazuo Shiraga, Egon Schiele, and Fernand Léger in the Galleries sector;

Exciting new voices and unsung heroes in the Discoveries and Insights sector, such as Zarina, Li Shan, Tishan Hsu, Candice Lin, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Shen Xin, and Jong Oh; in the outstanding Encounters sector, featuring twelve artists, including Lee Bul, Jose Davila, Elmgreen & Dragset, Chiharu Shiota, and Pinaree Sanpitak.

The Exhibition also include shows from Chinese contemporary artist Liu Xiaodong at Eslite Gallery; Christopher Wool, at Luhring Augustine; a new installation by Simon Starling created specially for the show at The Modern Institute; and works by visionary abstract painter Wu Dayu at Lin & Lin Gallery including oils, cartoons, ink, gouache, encaustic, pastels, watercolours, fountain pen and pencil drawings that reflect his exploration of different styles from Impressionism to cubism and fauvism. Famed art gallery Perrotin also feature an array of works and artists in their booth, from Xu Zhen to Takashi Murakami.

Select gallerists share insights into some of the artworks they exhibited in 2019. Learn from the experts as Taka Ishii discusses Kimiyo Mishima’s 1960s collages, Tyler Rollins explains Sopheap Pich’s sophisticated use of organic materials, and Richard Nagy explains the thinking behind his Egon Schiele solo booth, the artist’s first artwork presentation in Hong Kong.

Hunt kastner’s Katherine Kastner and Camille Hunt – the first ever gallerists to represent the Czech Republic at Art Basel Hong Kong – introduce Anna Hulačová’s much-praised concrete sculptures while Empty Gallery’s founder Stephen Cheng presents the technoid paintings of Tishan Hsu.

Spain’s Sabrina Amrani gallery was presenting works by South Korean artist Jong Oh, while Indian gallery Jhaveri Contemporary showcase new work by London-based sculptor Lubna Chowdhary.

First-time participants include US gallery Chateau Shatto’s exhibition featuring new works specially created for the fair by Los Angeles-based artist, writer and curator Aria Dean. Other first-time participants of note include Christian Andersen, Galerie Crèvecoeur and Tabula Rasa Gallery.

Encounters, a highly popular section of the Hong Kong Art Basel experience, was coming back under the title “Still We Rise”. The section is made up of 12 institutional-scale installations, with eight making their worldwide debut in Hong Kong. The large-scale works presented create environments for visitors to explore and discover, and to contemplate ways of dealing with today’s challenges.

The Encounters sector, which is dedicated to monumental artworks, was particularly popular. A silver zeppelin courtesy of Lee Bul, topsy-turvy skyscrapers by Elmgreen & Dragset, and an ethereal fleet of threadbare boats by Chiharu Shiota were among the most spectacular pieces featuring in this year’s edition, curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor.

This year curator selected projects that focus on current issues of disorientation and uncertainty by looking back at the past and speculating about the future. This year’s Encounters is both a call to action and a proposition to re-energise, re-incarnate, re-innovate and rise – in the extreme: to find hope even in hopelessness

Sean Kelly Gallery present a dynamic installation of 16 suspended kinetic mobile sculptures by Jose Dávila as a single installation, which continues the artist’s continuing series, titled “Homage to the Square”.

Kukje Gallery, Massimo De Carlo and Perrotin will jointly present Elmgreen & Dragset’s new work reflecting on the hyper-reality of cities such as Hong Kong. Ci ty in the Sky is an inverted installation that asks everyone to consider their own ideal future cities.

In addition, there are also works by a pantheon of distinguished artists such as Tony Albert, Joël Andrianomearisoa, Latifa Echakhch, Gerasimos Floratos, Mit Jai Inn, Lee Bul, Pinaree Sanpitak, Chiharu Shiota and Zhao Zhao.

Cooperative Galleries
There was many curated presentations in the show’s main Galleries sector, highlighting participants’ engagement with specific artistic practices and communities. Artwork presentations like the of ROH Projects, Greta Meert, Galerie du Monde, and many other Art Basel Hong Kong exhibitors are necessary and welcome: They introduce a global audience to fascinating artistic positions from Asia, creating a fruitful cultural dialogue mirroring the show’s host city.

Two major movements of Postwar Asia was the cornerstone of Galerie du Monde’s presentation.The Fifth Moon Group and the One Art Group both sought to re-contextualize the millennia-old tradition of Chinese ink painting at different times in different places -1950s Taiwan for the former, 1970s Hong Kong for the latter.

By infusing the medium with Modernist influences, both groups gave it an innovative impulse that remains influential to this day. Powerful pieces by key protagonists, such as Liu Kuo-Sung and the late Kwok Hon-Sum. Additionally, the Hong Kong gallery’s booth include enigmatic blueprints and video works by the young Chinese Taiwan artist Wu Chi-Tsung, expanding the gallery’s reflection into the contemporary realm.

At Galerie Greta Meert, a sensuous dive into minimalism await visitors. The Brussels-based gallery is known for its longstanding commitment to such positions, and bring some of its most storied representatives to Hong Kong.

Fred Sandback, Enrico Castellani, Suzan Frecon, Robert Mangold, and Sol LeWitt was paired with works by two younger Belgian artists: Edith Dekynd’s effervescent cogitations on materiality and Pieter Vermeersch’s abstracted investigations of chiaroscuro.

On top of it, a series of works by John Baldessari, loaded with the Californian conceptualist’s signature blend of humor and absurdity, may convince even the most skeptical among us of his talent. Eclectic yet focused, this exciting selection ‘puts forth the coherent artistic identity that we pursue’, says Meert.

Recent years have seen female British sculptors gain momentum. Galerie Max Hetzler show the works of Turner Prize nominee Rebecca Warren – joyfully iconoclastic ruminations on the medium itself. Looking at Warren’s pieces, one might feel reminded of Giacometti, Disney figures, Rococco erotica, or a pottery class gone wrong; these are only some of the references the artist dexterously plays with.

Somehow, her pieces manage to occupy an irreverent conceptual territory, where crudeness and steadiness cohabitate peacefully. Hetzler will also bring several artists at the core of its program to the show, including Bridget Riley, Albert Oehlen, and Rineke Dijkstra.

Richard Nagy Ltd. honor the Austrian artist Egon Schiele in Hong Kong, mostly dedicated its entire booth to him. One can look far and deep, but it is hard to find work that matches the introspective precision and restless energy his sketches and paintings exude. ‘Schiele had a prescient feeling for the anxiety that was palpable across Europe at his time and captured it perfectly in his depiction of youths living on the edge of society’, says Nagy. In fact, realizing the artist created all of his oeuvre in his twenties, while World War I was raging, might make it even more gripping. The London gallery will focus on Schiele’s works on paper, executed between 1910 – when he was barely 20 years old – and 1917, a year prior to his untimely death.

Jakarta gallery ROH Projects has been a go-to destination for those interested in the emerging Indonesian scene. True to this reputation, it will bring a selection of artists from the world’s largest island country to Hong Kong. Among them are Arin Sunaryo, whose poured resin panels pay homage to the intrinsic beauty of chance; Faisal Habibi’s sculptural compositions, which combine the stringency of hardware with the playfulness of riddles; Aditya Novali’s subtle variations on depth and transparency, which she achieves by combining paint, ink, and plexiglass; and Bagus Pandega’s exploration of light and space through intricate, kinetic installations.

Art Conversations
Art Basel Conversations presents a stimulating series of panel discussions on topics concerning the global contemporary art scene between prominent members of the international artworld – artists, gallerists, curators, collectors, architects, critics, and many other cultural figures – each offering their unique perspectives on producing, collecting, and exhibiting art.

This year, Art Basel in Hong Kong collaborates with ArtAsiaPacific, in honour of their 25th anniversary, with a series of four panels that revisit and examine contemporary art in Asia from curatorial, institutional, technological and commercial perspectives, during the magazine’s founding decade in the 1990s.

In this year’s Conversations program, major figures such as artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, gallerist and scholar Chang Tsong Zung, The Art Market | 2019 author Clare McAndrew, and many more discuss the issues that have been shaping contemporary culture and the world we live in.

For a unique cinematographic experience, features contributions by artists such as Liu Xiaodong, Julian Charrière, and Cao Yu take place in the HKCEC from Thursday through Sunday.

Art Asia Pacific at 25 | Early Days: The Chinese Art Market in the 1990s
Chang Tsong Zung, Dr. Claire Roberts, Uli Sigg, Karen Smith, Antony Dapiran

A Contemporary Assessment | The Art Market Now
Dr. Clare McAndrew, Adrian Zuercher, Bhavna Kakar, Leng Lin, Zhang Wei, Elaine W. Ng

21st Century Collectors | Next Generation Approaches
Dee Poon, Lu Xun, Princess Alia Al-Senussi, Tarini Jindal Handa, Aaron Cezar

Cultural Capital | The Political Economies of Art
Basel Abbas, Pedro Barbosa, Corrado Gugliotta, Tayeba Begum Lipi, Kacey Wong, Rose Lejeune

Institutional Practice is Creative Work | A Roundtable on Leadership
Yana Peel, Claire Hsu, Antonia Carver, Pawit Mahasarinand, Doreen Sibanda, Hans Ulrich Obrist

Premiere Artist Talk | Ellen Pau in conversation with Isaac Leung
Ellen Pau, Isaac Leung

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