Each March, Hong Kong consolidates its credentials as the cultural capital of Asia, with local and international artists, galleries and collectors flocking to exhibitions at every level of the market
It's that time again, the whirlwind that is Hong Kong's Art Month 2019, when the city becomes a dynamic international venue for a dizzying multitude of art exhibitions by a galaxy of artists, ranging from household names to newcomers ripe to be discovered.
The emphasis on art from Asia and the Asia-Pacific region ensures the presence of overseas artists, curators, gallerists and collectors keen to discover contemporary artworks by a mix of established and up-and-coming artists from the region and especially from Hong Kong.
Art Basel is undeniably the main event, followed by Art Central and the Asia Contemporary Art Show and a vast array of exciting associated satellite shows. In fact, with so much to see and do over the month, it is a challenge to decide what to fit into the limited time. So here is a round-up of some of this year's highlights to guide your exploration.
The three-day extravaganza that is Art Basel Hong Kong returns for the seventh year. The fairs in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong attract the top galleries and collectors, and at the Hong Kong fair half of the 242 participating galleries from 36 countries are from the Asia-Pacific region.
Works are exhibited in sectors: Galleries has the big-name modern and contemporary galleries. Kabinett shows diverse and thematic group exhibitions, art-historical showcases, and solo shows for rising stars. Discoveries is where to find the new talent, a powerful platform for emerging contemporary artists. Insights shows curated projects illustrating artists' careers, particular themes and art periods from 1900 through to the present. Encounters has 12 large-scale works that focus on current issues of disorientation and uncertainty by looking back at the past and speculating about the future.
Lehmann Maupin will have artists in the Kabinett, Encounters and Film sections, demonstrating the gallery's commitment to artists who are expanding the boundaries of their chosen medium. Korean artist Lee Bul's Willing To Be Vulnerable – Metalized Balloon, a 10m-long stylised replica of a Zeppelin aircraft will be featured in the Encounters section.
In the Discoveries section, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai showcases Lubna Chowdhary's new series of ceramic works inspired by the hybrid architecture and skylines of Asian cities.
Dominique Perregaux, founder of Art Statements Gallery believes Art Basel to be the cornerstone of the Art Month as it provides local people with access to contemporary and modern art and art education that would typically be found in museums and major art galleries that are not present in Hong Kong. "Art Basel is definitely encouraging people to collect through increased awareness, and will continue to do so," he says.
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Art Central returns with its fifth edition and 100 leading international galleries, of which 75 percent are AsiaPacific-based. Thirty new galleries are showing this year alongside performances, large-scale installations, tours, talks and live music and Hong Kong's hottest eateries.
Delve – literally – into thought-provoking installations featured in the PROJECTS sector dedicated to immersive and large-scale installations. Put together by Hong Kong independent curator Ying Kwok, it comprises six cutting-edge installations, including walk-through sculptures, with non-traditional approaches that investigate historical and cultural narratives through a variety of mediums. The works include Singapore-based contemporary art and design-collective PHUNK's HOPE, ROCK, KISS, LIVE and merging young Vietnamese Lê Giang's monumental white assemblage based on the nation's traditional ancient buildings.
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art returns with four interactive performances by leading contemporary artists from across the Asia-Pacific region, examining ideas of time and duration, questioning the futility and fruits of human endeavour. The passing of time, the exhaustive state of perpetual busyness and the act of counting down are all addressed through a series of daily on-site performances by leading contemporary artists Bettina Fung (Hong Kong/United Kingdom), Brian Fuata (Australia), Minja Gu (South Korea) and Siu Lan Ko (Hong Kong/Canada).
The performance piece and an interactive sculpture by Siu considers ideas of Hong Kong, now and into the future. Gu adopts the persona of a cooking infomercial personality, using the ubiquitous two-minute noodle packet as a tool to prompt conversations about food culture.
The Golden Age sculptures of Spanish Manolo Valdés, who has works in the Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and de Young Museum in San Francisco, are among the works shown by Opera Gallery. Art Central takes place at Hong Kong's Central Harbourfront.
Central Harbourfront, Central
ASIAN CONTEMPORARY ART SHOW
The 14th edition of the Asian Contemporary Art Show opens at the Conrad Hong Kong on March 29, with more than 80 galleries showing some 2,000 works, including paintings, limited editions, sculpture and photography, by over 250 mid-career and emerging artists. A highlight is Intersections: China, with more than 60 artists focusing on ideas of past and present, traditional and modern, and East and West.
In the fourth Artist Dialogues series of artist presentations, artists and galleries re-envision techniques and subject matter from the past to reflect the present. Highlights include the German artist couple GALASASCHA (Galina Brando and Alexander Abramov) and their colourful portrait series The Face.
Australian artist Mac Morgan works with acrylic and oil sticks which allow him to block in segments of the artwork quickly, then spray paint to provide a more urban feeling to his work.
March 29-April 1
Conrad Hong Kong
HONG KONG ARTS MONTH 2019 SATELLITE SHOWS
Catch a series of art exhibitions and art-filled events at various galleries, art spaces and venues across the town spanning the whole March
Lehmann Maupin will premiere recent sculpture and photography by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm in his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong. Visitors will be invited to activate one of Wurm's One Minute Sculptures by mimicking an 'outlandish' pose with a common household item.
March 25-May 11
White Cube presents the first solo show in Asia by Canadian artist David Altmejd, featuring a group of new head and bust sculptures among examples of his work. Altmejd's work combines science, magic, science fiction and gothic romanticism, that the artist says "is both seductive and extremely repulsive".
At Taikoo Place's ArtisTree, concerts will be part of Notating Beauty That Moves – Music at an Exhibition, that deals with musical notation and scores.
Art Statements Gallery will showcase the video and photo series The Feast of Trimalchio by AES+F, a group of four Russian artists formed in 1987 that focuses on photography and video art
Until March 30
Bonhams' retrospective exhibition of some 30 rare works by renowned Taiwan born minimalist artist Richard Lin at its gallery at One Pacific Place, coincides with Art Basel Hong Kong. Among the collection is 1.3.1964 – Painting Relief that was exhibited as one of only three major works at the leading contemporary art show documenta III in 1964 in Kassel, Germany. Works will be auctioned in May.
Fabrik Gallery will present works from photographer Yoichiro Nishimura at The Art of Photography. In the Life series, Nishimura photographed his ikebana arrangements on a dark setting under natural light. In his Blue Flower series Nishimura uses the 'scangram' technique he invented to create luminous mystical, dream-like silhouettes.
March 7-April 11
In an offshoot to Art Central, Opera Gallery will showcase a solo exhibition by David Kim Whittaker, a self-taught artist whose ambiguous portraits often depict juggling states of inner and outer calm and conflict reinforced by personal gender dysphoria.
New York artist Brian Donnelly, aka KAWS, comes to Hong Kong with the HOCA (Hong Kong Contemporary Art) Foundation at PMQ for a solo exhibition to show works from the last decade. Works include classic Snoopys, Chums, Companions, and his new Squiggle series and a mix of sculptures and paintings will be displayed both indoors and outdoors at PMQ, with most of them exhibited in Hong Kong for the first time.
March 25-April 17
Dimitri Lorin's Hong Kong-based contemporary and urban art gallery Avenue des Arts will feature Shelby and Sandy, the brother art collective from Los Angeles who pride themselves on creating super fun, simple pop art, through nostalgia, often painting canvases featuring Disney, Looney Tunes and Nickelodeon characters.
Pace Gallery will present the first exhibition in Asia dedicated to American artist Mary Corse who has investigated perception, properties of light, and ideas of abstraction through painting in which light serves as both the subject and object of art. A selected eight new paintings showcase Corse's use of glass microspheres and a limited palette of white, black, and red acrylic paint to create simple geometric configurations, giving structure to the luminescent internal space of her works.
March 26–May 11
Over the Influence Gallery is showcasing Chinese performance artist and photographer Liu Bolin at its premises on Hollywood Road. Liu, the Chinese performance artist and photographer, nicknamed "The Invisible Man", is known for using chameleon-like methods to immerse himself in environments.
Sprüth Magers will present the exhibition Eau De Cologne at HART Hall in H Queen's, the very first presentation in Asia that continues the discourse around art, feminism and power through the voices of eight seminal female artists of this celebrated project, including Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Astrid Klein, Louise Lawler, Cindy Sherman, Rosemarie Trockel, Marlene Dumas and Kara Walker.
March 26–April 12
The non-profit arts organisation HKwalls organises the HKwalls street art festival (see page 70) for local and international artists to add colour and energy to the city streetscape. This year's festival will take place in Wanchai, adding to the efforts to create an art district for Hong Kong.
Founded in 2012, Hong Kong Art Gallery Association is a member-based non-profit organisation of established art galleries in Hong Kong, with more than 50 member galleries. It will celebrate art month with an Art Brunch on March 30 and Art Gallery Night on March 25.
Para Site, one of Hong Kong's leading contemporary art centres and one of the oldest and most active independent art institutions, will once again oﬀer its Art Basel guided tour programme.
Lévy Gorvy's new space in the St. George's Building, Central, Hong Kong, designed by architect Bill Katz in collaboration with HS2 Architecture, opens in March with an inaugural exhibition in conjunction with Art Basel.
Joyce Boutique has collaborated with interior architect, colourist and trendsetter Gert Voorjans and fabric designer Christoph Hefti to create and curate an original art window installation at the Queens Road Central store for this year's Art Month.
March 17-April 14
Altfield Interiors will partner with restaurant SEVVA to curate a fabric installation of Belgian designer Gert Voorjans for Jim Thompson. A new look for the SEVVA Lounge will be unveiled during Art Basel Week, featuring the colourful textiles.