Travelling 5,888 miles to see Art Basel Hong Kong

Hajime Sorayama

For the name of ART – Berkeley Bespoke has travelled half the World to see highly anticipated the seventh edition of Art Basel. Having brought together collectors from over 70 countries and territories, notably from Hong Kong, Mainland China, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States, resulting in strong sales for galleries from all market sectors. During the five show days, private collectors, as well as representatives from over 130 leading international museums and institutions, attended the show, including: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; M+, Hong Kong; National Gallery of Zimbabwe; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; Pérez Art Museum Miami; Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Serpentine Galleries, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate, London; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; and Vancouver Art Gallery.

The Art Basel week once again directed an international spotlight onto Hong Kong’s ever-more vibrant art scene, including Tai Kwun, the new centre for heritage and arts, designed by Herzog & de Meuron. The 2019 edition featured 242 premier galleries from 35 countries and territories, with 21 galleries participating in the show for the first time – among them nine galleries in the main sector that have been highly influential in defining the art scenes in Europe and the United States, including: Galerie Greta Meert from Belgium; Galerie Bärbel Grässlin and Galerie Max Hetzler from Germany; Luhring Augustine, Matthew Marks Gallery, Paula Cooper Gallery, Regen Projects, and Andrew Kreps Gallery from the United States; and Richard Nagy Ltd. from the United Kingdom.

Lee Bul, “Willing to be Vulnerable”

Eight galleries from Asia joined the fair for the first time, including Watanuki Ltd. / Toki-no- Wasuremono from Tokyo; Beyond Gallery from Taipei; Empty Gallery from Hong Kong; Hunsand Space, Pifo Gallery, and Tabula Rasa Gallery from Beijing; Richard Koh Fine Art with spaces in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Singapore; and Nova Contemporary from Bangkok.

The graduation of five galleries from the Asia-Pacific region into the main sector reinforced the fair’s commitment to the strengthening of the region’s art scene. These galleries included Beijing Art Now Gallery from Beijing, Galerie du Monde from Hong Kong, Gow Langsford Gallery from Auckland, ROH Projects from Jakarta, and Tang Contemporary Art with spaces in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. Many observers commented on the outstanding quality of art on display and the ambitious presentations by galleries from the East and the West alike.

Gagosian Gallery

‘Art Basel Hong Kong continues to be a key fair for galleries from all over the world. What was striking this year was the strong presence of museum directors, curators, and collectors from places like Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, and Korea. The fair, whilst operating in Hong Kong, is also providing an opportunity for visitors to make valuable visits to other cities in the region prior to or after the fair. It feels like the connecting of a region rather than a single fair in a single city. At the same time, the city of Hong Kong seems to be ever- expanding in its own cultural presence. The growth of museums and foundations presenting excellent exhibitions alongside the fair is providing a rich experience for visitors coming to Hong Kong, and the expanding local gallery scene in the Aberdeen district is an indication of robust and authentic activity.’

Sadie Coles, Owner, Sadie Coles HQ, London

Dan Colen

The 2019 edition of Encounters presented 12 institutional-scale installations, with eight works premiering at the show in Hong Kong. Under the title ‘Still We Rise’, curator Alexie Glass-Kantor, Executive Director of Artspace in Sydney, brought together artists from different backgrounds and generations.

Supported by MGM Resorts Art & Culture, the works were installed along the four meridians that run through the two exhibition halls of the show. Highlights included Lee Bul’s ‘Willing To Be Vulnerable – Metalized Balloon’, a ten-meter- long replica of a Zeppelin based on the footage of the 1937 Hindenburg disaster, presented by Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Lehmann Maupin and PKM Gallery; Chiharu Shiota’s ‘Where Are We Going?’ presented by Templon, an ephemeral, site-specific work depicting 63 boats that figuratively sail across the space, touching on notions of migration and movement; Jose Dàvila’s ‘Homage to the Square’, referencing Josef Albers’ theories on color with kinetic mobiles that refract color and light; and Zhao Zhao’s ‘In Extremis’ that addresses wider human rights issues, presented by Tang Contemporary Art.

Su Xiaobai

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