March is high season for art browsing in Hong Kong, whether for the avid collector or casual spectator, and one of the first major stops to check out in the city is none other than Art Central, returning for its fourth year in its iconic harbourfront location on 27 March (with First Night and VIP Preview on the 26th). Since launching in 2015, Art Central has developed a reputation for its progressive (and even political) art programme, last year featuring a particularly impressive interactive section that is expected to return with even more cutting edge works this year. The fair also boasts a truly eclectic range of work, spanning from art-world superstars such as Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara, to rising talents such as featured alumni artists from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). To prep for the fabulous art lineup, check out our curated list of Art Central’s most interesting highlights this year.
Hiroshi Mori, “Mona Lisa”
Previously working as a game creator, a car painter and public school teacher, the Tokyo-based artist’s eclectic interests and mixed start to his career may explain his playful take on portraiture, humorously blending anime, traditional painting iconography and modern technology into fresh commentaries on the world today. His work joins a wide range of art at Art Experience Gallery’s booth, from sculptural installations made from washed-up ocean trash by Tetsu Takeda (also showing in the gallery’s current show) to poignant wooden sculptures by Chinese artist Ye Sen.
Art Experience Gallery, Booth F14
Jason Sims, “Light-Shifter”
Featuring the best of Australian sculpture, Melbourne’s MARS Gallery is showcasing works by seven of the country’s leading contemporary artists they call “The Magnificent Seven.” Of a diverse list of fascinating artists including Daniel Agdag, Sollai Cartwright, Simon Finn, Lisa Roet, Tricky Walsh and Jud Wimhurst, Jason Sims’ futuristic, light-based polygons shown here are sure to capture plenty of attention. Manipulating light and mirrors, the artist’s perspective-warping sculptures challenge viewers to expand their imaginations and engage their curiosity.
MARS Gallery, Booth C2
Michael Wolf, “Informal Solutions”
Through the lens of an outsider, the German photographer has been documenting and abstracting the compressed, dizzying atmospheres of dense “mega” cities such as Hong Kong and Tokyo. Among a range of recent works from various artists presented at Flowers Gallery, Hong Kong-based Michael Wolf will showcase his major installation “Informal Solutions,” comprising elements of video, photographs and found objects.
Flowers Gallery, Booth A4
Desmond Leung, “Dawn of Inner Reality”
Artists working with new media the world over have begun in recent years to really master the science and art of virtual reality, and Hong Kong’s own Desmond Leung brings a stunning new body of work to Art Central exemplifying this growth. Within the wider body of work “Dawn of Inner Reality” is a piece that brings the millennia-old medium of Chinese ink tradition into the modern age with VR innovation. Viewers can explore this virtual world using VR headsets, and soak in the awe of experiencing art in a whole new dimension.
Parkview Art, Booth E10
Lavar Munroe, “Devil No. 10”
As the educational partner of Art Central, the Savannah College of Art and Design always presents impressive works for collectors and art lovers looking for up-and-coming talent. This year, SCAD is featuring works by interdisciplinary artists Monica Cook and Lavar Munroe, alumni of the college who both shift between painting and sculpture in their practice, and who both focus on the uncanny in their subjects. Munroe’s works particularly strike out for the stunning depiction of creatures that are at once dreamlike and grotesque, gentle yet dynamic.
SCAD, Booth F20
Mike Dargas, “I Disappear”
Part of a group presentation of contemporary portraiture at Opera Gallery Hong Kong, German painter Mike Dargas is sure to astound viewers with his hyperrealist works. Just fresh from a successful debut solo at the Hong Kong gallery space in late January, Dargas’ works are all about ephemeral beauty: carefully depicting subjects that have their skin dripped on or covered in oil, which allows the artist to suspend an emotional moment in a split second of time.
Opera Gallery, Booth E07
Wing Shya, ‘Sweet Sorrow’ Series
Wing Shya’s series “Sweet Sorrow” has been a long time coming, with works spanning two years of production, made by a team of nearly 100 designers and artists, and costs reaching over HK$3 million. Shya may be known best for his roots as stills photographer for Wong Kar-wai during In the Mood for Love, but this personal project is his ode to Hong Kong: shedding the ’60s romanticism and instead pairing the darker psyche of today’s youth with the constantly stimulating backdrop of Hong Kong — a commentary on the lack of connection between those who belong to the current “me generation.” Will it be the artist’s magnum opus? Find out for yourselves at the fair.
Blue Lotus Gallery, Booth B09
Chung Sang-hwa, “Untitled 016-6-14”
One of the world’s foremost galleries exhibiting contemporary and modern South Korean art, Gallery Hyundai Seoul brings historical gems from the Dansaekhwa movement: a period that emerged in the mid-’70s, when artists began to manipulate methods of painting in unconventional ways, often in monochrome and minimalist styles. Chung Sang-hwa was one such figurehead of the postwar movement.
Gallery Hyundai, Booth B1
Lv Shanchuan, “Sea No. 4”
You can always count on Contemporary by Angela Li to bring top-notch contemporary works to Art Central. With a spotlight on unconventional paper works, the gallery is exhibiting a range of work by Li Hongbo and Lv Shanchuan. Lv Shanchuan, a Beijing-based native of Fujian, is particularly known for his half-abstract landscapes, created with plenty of dynamic colour and intricate texture on canvases built from news sheets and impastoed paint as a commentary on current affairs.
Contemporary by Angela Li, Booth A1
Laurent Martin ‘Lo’, “Flying Junk”
Puerta Roja Gallery is one of the few spaces in Hong Kong dedicated to representing Latino and cross-cultural art; almost like an homage to the city’s heritage, the gallery is bringing two artists who work with bamboo to their Art Central booth. With works acquired by many prestigious art collectors the world over, you’ll find pieces by Spain-based French sculptor Laurent Martin ‘Lo,’ whose airy, gravity-defying sculptures aim to immerse the viewer, offering a more complete way to experience and sense this traditional material.
Puerta Roja Gallery, Booth B02