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It’s Hong Kong Art Week!

We explore the 2017 editions of Art Basel in Hong Kong and Art Central Hong Kong, along with some of the fascinating, design-focused events happening around the city at the same time.

  • Crown Chakra, Jeppe Hein, 2015, 303 Gallery at ABHK17

  • Visitors flock to Art Central Hong Kong 2017

  • Here? or There?, Lin Tianmao and Wong Gongxin, Galerie Lelong at ABHK17

  • Carlos Ishikawa, Stuart Middleton, Wang Taocheng, at Discoveries at Art Basel Hong Kong 2017. Photographed by Jessica Hromas for Art Basel

  • Nanzuka, Hajime Sorayama, Sexy Robot life-size standing model A, 2015, at ABHK17

  • Yuri Suzuki's Sharevari for Swarovski, on show at Art Central this year

  • Anida Yoeu Ali's signage at Art Central Hong Kong



BY Tamsin Bradshaw

March 23rd, 2017


Hong Kong’s annual art week is in full swing: the 2017 edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong (ABHK17) officially opened on Thursday 23 March, and Art Central Hong Kong kicked off on 21 March.

This year sees internationally renowned art fair Art Basel descend on Hong Kong for the fifth year in a row, with more galleries than ever: in 2017, 242 galleries from 34 countries are making an appearance across categories that include Insights, Discoveries, Encounters, Film and more.

Technology is increasingly making an appearance at the fair: this year sees Art Basel collaborating with Google Arts & Culture on a virtual reality project, “Virtual Frontiers: Artists experimenting with Tilt Brush”. Five artists – Cao Fei, Sun Xun, Yang Yongliang, boychild and Robin Rhode – each created virtual reality works using Google’s Tilt Brush, and visitors to ABHK17 can explore the fruits of their labour.

Art Central, meanwhile, is a Hong Kong initiative featuring 100 galleries – with roughly 75 percent of these hailing from Asia – and a dynamic, contemporary programme of events. Interactive installations and performances are giving visitors a chance to get up close and personal with the artworks. Yuri Suzuki’s installation, Sharevari, for Swarovski, is on show at the entrance to the fair, where visitors can see how they fare at creating crystal music. For more on Suzuki and Sharevari, check out our interview here.

Throughout the week, visitors to Art Central might be lucky enough to take part in a performance of The Red Chador: Ban Me! by Cambodian-American artist Anida Yoeu Ali, which will see her use signs to comment on political events such as the Umbrella Movement and President Trump’s immigration policies.

Also notable this year is the development of the satellite event scene, drawing more and more of the city into the creative sphere. These events include South Island Art Day, held on 23 March, and, perhaps most exciting for design lovers is the array of design-driven events on offer, presenting a variety of perspectives on architecture, furniture and interiors. These events demonstrate just how blurred the boundaries between art and design are becoming.

Among the design-driven happenings this week is Sotheby’s Masters of Design exhibition (which we covered here), and, to tie in with the exhibition, Sotheby’s Hong Kong gallery presented a conversation between designer Joyce Wang and M+’s Curator, Aric Chen, on 22 March, which saw the two discuss mid-century modern furniture. Wang and Chen also talked about the collections they themselves have been slowly amassing, and the power of the design icons who drove design and architecture in new directions in the 20th century.

Dedon, meanwhile, hosted a panel discussion on Architecture Meets Design on 23 March, in conjunction with Design Pier’s exhibition, Design with Character, at Lanson Place Hotel, Hong Kong, in Causeway Bay. Led by Design Anthology, the talk looked at how architectural thinking is influencing the way we design products.

On show at Design with Character until 25 March are design names such as Fadi Sarieddine, Sebastien Herkner for Dedon, Verner Panton’s works for Montana, Zaha Hadid’s work for B&B Italia, and more.

Both ABHK17 and Art Central 2017 will be open to the public up till and including 25 March. ABHK17 is happening at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, while Art Central is located on the Central Harbourfront. Free shuttles are running between the two events.