It appears that Hong Kong has become Asia’s art destination—at least for these couple of days. This year, as Art Basel Hong Kong made the transition to its permanent slot in March, away from its previous appearance in May, a flurry of art happenings were also trying to capitalize in its wake. In terms of art fairs, it was of course Art Basel Hong Kong that reigned, but there were also some surprises from the inaugural Art Central, which was tented by a temporary structure on the Central Harbourfront. Organized by the original team that had brought us ArtHK—the fair that was later bought and transformed into the East-Asian outpost for Art Basel—Art Central, who officially refers to themselves as the “first satellite fair,” showcased an easily manageable selection of 75 mid-level international galleries. With street food from trendy vendors and craft beer, the relaxed, festival vibe of Art Central eased weary travelers into the VIP preview day on Friday, March 13, before the high-flying glitz of Art Basel Hong Kong’s preview at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in the evening. Here’s a look at some standouts from both Art Central and Art Basel Hong Kong during opening day.
All photos by ArtAsiaPacific.
Over at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, crowds gathered in the concourse in anticipation of the 6 pm opening. Much like the configuration last year, the fair is spread across two levels. Neatly arranged in two rows on both floors are the 20 “Encounters” projects by artists from all over the world. Alexie Glass-Kantor of Sydney-based Artspace made the curatorial selection and this year, these large-scale sculptures and installations continue to alleviate the mercantilist sentiments that often run too high within these halls. From the fuzzy to the monumental, from the bizarre to the fragile, works by the likes of Eko Nugroho, Lee Ufan, Sterling Ruby and Zhao Zhao became welcome backdrops for fairgoers’ Instagrams.