The second edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong ended on a high note last Sunday, with strong sales reported across all major galleries reports Christie Lee.
Top image: Gu Wenda at Encounters
Held from 14 to 18 May at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the second edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong pulled in a staggering 65,000 visitors. The fair, with UBS as Lead Partner, played host to 245 galleries exhibiting works from 39 territories and regions.
There was a general atmosphere of joviality on opening night, as society’s crème de la crème hopped from one art party to another, beginning with cocktails at the Collector’s Lounge. Global Associate Partner of Art Basel Audemars Piguet inaugurated their new lounge, conceived by French designer Mathieu Lehanneur, while Ruinart unveiled an artwork by Scottish artist Georgia Russell. A third Associate Partner, Davidoff, was to host a party at the Grand Hyatt poolside, complete with a special performance by Alex To and Caribbean live music, the night after.
Art critics and collectors including Uli Sigg, Budi Tek and Adrian Cheng rubbed shoulders with the likes of Colombian-born artist Oscar Murillo, Toby Ziegler, in town for the opening of his solo exhibition at Simon Lee Gallery, Takashi Murakami, whose works are on display at Galerie Perrotin among others, and Bharti Kher, who is showing at Hauser &Wirth. Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang was also in town to inaugurate Pace Gallery’s new space at Entertainment Building with his new oil-on-paper.
Strong sales were reported across all the major galleries. Local stalwart Edouard Malingue Gallery sold all seven of Chinese artist Yuan Yuan’s artworks even before the fair officially opened on the morning of 15 May. With spaces in Taipei and Beijing, Ting Keng Gallery sold over 50 per cent of works at the booth on the first day. “As always, we continue our relationships with our existing collectors and build new networks at the show. We met lots of new collectors from Asia, Europe and the United States. Art Basel in Hong Kong is the best fair we have been to so far,” director Shelly Wu says in a statement.
Urs Meile, whose Galerie Urs Meile showed works by Tobias Rehberger, Yan Xing and Ai Wei Wei, is equally pleased with the show. “I have been delighted to see many collectors from China, especially the younger generation. The show itself looks again substantially better this year, showing works from across Asia. I am looking forward to next year. The date change to March is a very important move for the show, and for the potential of the Asian art market itself. I am looking forward to seeing more European and American collectors here.”
The HK $25,000 Discoveries prize went to Nadia Kaabi-Linke. Represented by Experimenter, Kolkata, the Tunisian artist wowed judges with works that were laden with nuanced social and psychological observations.
Art Basel in Hong Kong 2014 also saw the Asian debut of Art Basel’s Film section. Curated by Li Zhenhua, a total of 49 films by 41 artists including Sookoon Ang and Dinh Q. Le were screened at the agnes b. Cinema, housed within the basement of the Hong Kong Arts Centre. German artist Carsten Nicolai’s α (alpha) pulse, an audio-visual installation commissioned by Art Basel, generated enthusiastic rave reviews, as viewers from across the city plugged in their earphones for the complete multi-sensory experience.
The next edition of Art Basel Hong Kong is set to take place from 15 – 17 March 2015.