Mar 14 2015

Live!: Highlights From Art Central and Art Basel Hong Kong 2015

by The Editors

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.

Entrance of Art Central along Hong Kong’s Central Harbourfront, which runs through March 16, 2015. 

Inside Art Central’s spacious 10,000-square-meter-venue. 

At Richard Koh Fine Art, Malaysian artist YEON CHOO KUAN’s He Took Off His Skin For Me (2015), an oil and lacquer on canvas mounted on a custom wooden frame, is a study of the visceral qualities of paint. 

A paper sculpture by LI HONGBO at Contemporary by Angela Li of Hong Kong challenges expectations of material properties, vacillating between sections resembling severed tree trunks and others accordions. 

Tropezón by Berlin-based Spanish artist ANTONIO SANTIN, not a colorfully embroidered carpet but a photorealist oil painting, reveals a trompe l’oeil effect of buckling at New York-based Marc Straus Gallery. 

Art Central presented PROJECTS, a group of five installations by five individual artists installed throughout the fairgrounds. For her commission, Beijing-born STELLA ZHANG sewed together swathes of white fabric to create a temporary environment that invokes the nautical, the cellular or perhaps the natal. 

Shanghai-based Rén Space has on offer a selection of editioned works by Chinese artist ZHANG PEILI, all executed in 2014, comprising lithographs, painted mirrors and a woodcut print.

Lines collide with planes in the energetic oil on canvas Rosenrot by German painter HELMUT STURM at Schuebbe Inc. (Düsseldorf/Mettmann). 

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.

SHOOSHIE SULAIMAN, SEA Brothers Rubber Estate of 16 March, 2015, as part of “Encounters.” 

ZAI KUNING, Dapunta Hyang (Transmission of Knowledge), 2014–15, for “Encounters.” 

An elegant display of paintings covers the booth walls of Taipei-based Project Fulfill Art Space, who has brought a solo exhibition of Taiwanese artist CHOU YU-CHENG to Hong Kong this year. 

London-based Nigerian artist YINKA SHONIBARE MBE’s impossibly colorful sculpture features a bent-over figure in his trademark printed outfit with a collapsing tower of cakes over its head. 

Indian artist ATUL DODIYA is a master at quoting important moments of world art history in his assemblages. 

Frauenbad by Japanese artist TADASHI KAWAMATA is modeled after a female-only outdoor swimming pool in Zurich of the same name. Six unemployed Swiss citizens, who had lost their jobs due to alcoholism or drug addiction, were engaged to build the structure. 

At Taipei’s Lin & Lin Gallery, a beautiful landscape painting by Chinese artist LIU WEI, overtakes the frame. 

New York’s Tyler Rollins Fine Art had a solo presentation of Cambodian artist SOPHEAP PICH. Here, Far From the Sun (2014) is a recent addition to his “Wall Structures” series, made from bamboo, rattan, burlap and plastic. 

Iraqi artist AHMED ALSOUDANI’s new 2015 painting, Untitled, departs slightly from his previous penchant for portraying the imagery of torment and expressing the atrocities of violence through indistinct masses. While many similar elements remain, this composition incorporates unexpected additions of mundane objects and folkloric associations. 

Sean Kelly Gallery dedicates half of its booth to Japanese artist MARIKO MORI: the large, futuristic sculpture is surrounded by a selection of works on paper.

Hong Kong-based SAMSON YOUNG performs Nocturne, during which the multimedia artist composes a musical piece with found video footage of night bombings using live foley techniques. The performance was broadcast on Hong Kong FM radio. The gallery AM Space will present a solo exhibition of the artist’s work in the “Discoveries” section of Art Basel Hong Kong.