From its humble roots as homegrown art fair Art HK in 2012 to the mammoth international art market nucleus it is today, Art Basel Hong Kong can be a dizzying day out, even for the most avid of art lovers. To prepare, we’ve done the homework for you, breaking it down to 10 artists that you need to have ready in your art knowledge arsenal before you hit opening night.
We’re always keen to see Hong Kong talent, and one of the biggest art fair names to emerge from Hong Kong this year is Lee Kit, presented by Massimo de Carlo gallery for his own Kabinett show. Recognised for his nostalgia-laden hand-painted cloth pieces which brought him to acclaim at the 2013 Venice Biennale, Lee presents a multimedia installation “IT WAS A CINEMA.” It’s a painting on paper, on which a video loop is projected, allowing viewers to physically enter the work in an exercise on empathy and emotion.
Showing at: Massimo de Carlo
Image courtesy of Massimo De Carlo — Milan, London, Hong Kong
The Insights sector each year is dedicated to curatorial projects showing strong thematic curating and historical significance for regional contemporary art. Alongside works by master modernist painter Liu Kuo-song at Galerie du Monde, you’ll also find works by three fellow members of Taiwan’s The Fifth Moon avant-garde art group, Fong Chung-ray, Cheh Ting-shih and Hu Chi-chung. It makes up an exceptional historic representation of how contemporary Chinese painting has developed over the past few decades.
Showing at: Galerie du Monde
Everyone loves the excitement of receiving a package in the mail, but what about looking at one you aren’t allowed to open? You’ll have to fight the urge when you peruse three very rare works from the 1960s by Christo, one half of the famed husband and wife duo Christo and Jean-Claude — known for their environmental wrapping works. The three wrapped pieces exhibited are a glimpse into the conceptual roots to their later large-scale pieces, wrapping world renowned monuments from the Reichstag to The Great Wall of China.
Showing at: Galerie Gmurzynska
The Japanese Gutai movement favoured immediacy and authenticity when finding new ways to create art in the post-war era, and one of the group’s leading members, Sadaharu Horio is one to look for at the fair. Horio’s practice is all fuelled by his concept of “Atarimae-no-koto,” meaning “a matter of course,” in which every waking moment is a unique opportunity to create and perform. Presented by Imura Art Gallery, you’ll find ‘paintings’ from his 3kg series, where he brings banal, everyday life into his art by using found iron scraps, weighing no more than 3kg each.
Showing at: Imura Art Gallery
Atarimae-no-koto, 3kg Painting, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist and the gallery.
Feeling a little overwhelmed with all the art around you and need a breather? You might find comfort in Mel Bochner’s “Blah Blah Blah” paintings at Simon Lee Gallery — colourful portrayals of the words, which can be perceived as either a nonsensical refrain or a means to voice an ellipsis. One of the major pioneers of conceptual art back in the day, Bochner is noted for his play on language, semantics, colour and abstraction. This is, surprisingly, his first time ever showing in Hong Kong.
Showing at: Simon Lee Gallery
How comfortable are you with constant exposure in the modern world? Shown by Leeahn Gallery, artist J.Park’s “Maze of Onlookers” explores this notion with his work: congregating 18 CCTV monitors to portray our constant attachment to staying on the grid, or perhaps, to give you a sense of what the dystopian future holds…
Showing at: Leeahn Gallery
De Sarthe Gallery’s booth will be split to show blue chip modern masters such as Chu Teh-chun and Atsuko Tanaka, alongside younger Chinese talent such as Wang Xin, who is a certified hypnotist. Incorporating this skill in her art, Wang’s installations are often eye-catching beacons of light and colour, using bold slogan signs to comment on the art world ecosystem as well as the unconscious.
Showing at: De Sarthe Gallery
Taiwanese artist Shi Jin-hua was diagnosed with early-onset diabetes at age 17, and creates work responding to his ritual of insulin injecting. Presented by Taipei’s Mind Set Art Center, his most notable performance piece will make an appearance at Art Basel, where he will complete “A 100km Walk,” wherein he draws on the wall with a pencil for the prescribed distance. One of the more unusual works out there, you’ll be able to catch the artist at work throughout the show.
Showing at: Mind Set Art Center
Image courtesy of Mind Set Art Center and the artist.
Part of Osage Gallery’s group presentation “Trembling, Twisting, Testing” which explores themes of weakness, fear, and mechanisms of power and control, Shen Shaomin shows a powerful, but introspective and reserved image of control by using a bonsai tree restricted by nuts and bolts. But perhaps all the more arresting will be his solo presentation in the Encounters section, where his sculptures of five deceased Communist leaders displayed in glass cases are sure to spark heated conversation (and Instagram snaps).
Showing at: Osage Gallery
Returning to Hong Kong four years after his last exhibition at White Cube Hong Kong, the Chicago-born artist will have works presented at Art Basel as well as at the gallery. His works typically go hand-in-hand with socially responsible practices, addressing topics of race and poverty in the US and aiming to make changes in the very communities where works take place. Have a taster of his pieces at Art Basel, before heading to the gallery show entitled “Tarry Skies and Psalms for Now” to catch his brand new works which build on his previous roofing practices.
Showing at: White Cube
© Theaster Gates. Photo © White Cube