Hong Kong International Arts and Antiques Fair

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 October, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hall 3, Sat-Oct 7

The world economy might be grinding to a halt, but the founder and director of the inaugural Hong Kong International Arts and Antiques Fair (HKIAAF), Andy Hei, is optimistic the event will weather the turmoil. With more than 2,000 antiques and contemporary works of art valued at HK$300 million, the fair aims to lure collectors in Asia.

'There may be some economic slowdown, but it has been worse before - the 1997 handover, then [the] 1998 Asian economy crash, 9/11 and Sars in 2003. All of these events were worse [for the art market] than the situation now,' Hei says.

The show's mix of old antiques and new contemporary art is the first in Asia and reflects the current market, Hei says.

'Usually buyers will collect contemporary art to hang above or next to their antique art or antique furniture,' he says. 'It's happening more often.'

While the Hong Kong International Art Fair (Art HK08) in May concentrated on contemporary art, Hei says the HKIAAF, organised by Art & Antique International Fair, runs on the success of its three previous fairs: the International Asia Antique and Art Fair Hong Kong (IAAAF, May 2006 and 2007) and the Hong Kong International Contemporary Art Fair (ICAF, October 2007). So this year, the two fairs have been combined into one.

Visitors can view antiques from 40 local and international galleries including the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and Italy's Danon Gallery while for contemporary art collectors there are 30 galleries including Goedhuis Contemporary (US and Britain), Sundaram Tagore Gallery (US), CAIS Gallery (South Korea) and Hanart TZ Gallery (Hong Kong).

The event is staged on the same weekend and at the same location as Sotheby's autumn auctions, Hei says. 'Now is [the] art business season,' he says. 'Buyers, collectors and dealers will come to Hong Kong in October. We can attract the same group of people as Sotheby's.'

With proceeds going to the Community Chest charity, the antique section features a range of collectibles, from a Ming dynasty enamel imperial Longquan (seven-star) sword to a Ming lacquer box.

A special exhibition, Ethereal Visions: Li Huayi at 60, also showcases the artist's Chinese paintings not previously shown to the public.

Sat-Oct 5, 11am-7pm, Oct 6, 11am-8pm, Oct 7, 11am-5pm, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, free. Inquiries: 3107 0681