Mar 19 2014

Contemporary Asian Art at TEFAF 2014

by Paul Laster
Qiu Deshu, Mountainscape (Red), 2005, ink, acrylic and xuan paper on canvas, 200 × 360 cm. 
Courtesy Michael Goedhuis, London.
Qiu Deshu, Mountainscape (Red), 2005, ink, acrylic and xuan paper on canvas, 200 × 360 cm.
Courtesy Michael Goedhuis, London.

Mixing more periods of art and design under one roof than any other art fair in the world, The European Fine Art Fair—best known as TEFAF Maastricht—launched its 27th edition on March 13 to an enthusiastic crowd of museum directors, curators, connoisseurs and collectors. This year’s fair, which runs through March 23, features antiques, rare books, maps, jewelry, Old Master works, Modern and Contemporary art, photography, ceramics and design, all offered by 275 dealers from 20 countries. “TEFAF has the best quality of everything. It’s specialized, and the most important collectors from around the world do come,” Antwerp’s eclectic gallerist Axel Vervoordt shared with ArtAsiaPacific on opening day.

Vervoordt transformed his booth into a cabinet of curiosities, where archeological finds were displayed next to works by Gutai artists, including Kazuo Shiraga, Norio Imai and Tsuyoshi Maekawa, the last of whom was signing books at the fair. Similarly, Rossi & Rossi combined a large, contemporary collage of a bodhisattva figure by Tibetan artist Tenzing Rigdol with early classical art from the Himalayas, while Michael Goedhuis mixed Asian antiquities with Chinese contemporary ink paintings, including recent canvases by Qiu Deshu and Yang Yanping.

Elsewhere, Gana Art offered Western contemporary art (including a notable “nurse” painting by Richard Prince) alongside Korean works including contemporary paintings by Yoo Sun-Tai and crowd-pleasing sculptures by Yi Hwan-Kwon, while Kujke Gallery and Tina Kim Gallery’s shared booth presented an outstanding exhibition of Korean contemporary artists from the monochromatic 1970s Dansaekhwa movement, with sublime paintings by Chung Sang-Hwa, Park Seo-Bo and Lee Ufan.

Other highlights of Asian contemporary art at TEFAF included Wang Keping’s carved wood sculpture Rêve (2002), a homage to Picasso’s famous painting of his mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, at Ben Brown Fine Arts; several of Chun Kwang Young’s multidimensional wall works intricately constructed with string, paint and paper at Landau Fine Art; a masterful, 1967 abstract canvas by Simon Hantaï at Paul Kasmin Gallery; and amazing examples of Asian ceramics and metalwork at Adrian Sassoon and Yufuku Gallery.

At TEFAF, everywhere you look there are objects of desire, which can be relished in the moment, without really having to take them home. Scroll through the slide show to view some of our favorite examples of contemporary Asian art at the fair.

Paul Laster is New York desk editor for ArtAsiaPacific.