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The exhibitionists

With 250 galleries representing 3,000 artists, a visit to Art Basel's first Hong Kong edition, from May 23 to 26, requires serious planning. So where to begin and what not to miss?

 

Start on the upper floor (Level 3), say organisers, and work your way down. Here is where some of the strongest presentations from the Galleries section are located. It presents Modern and contemporary art galleries selected on the strength of their overall gallery programmes.

Ota Fine Arts and Victoria Miro will co-present new works by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Sadie Coles HQ from London will show works by their artists, including Jim Lambie, Montague Street and Nicola Tyson while Galerie Gmurzynska has a solo exhibition on Fernando Botero.

Also on this level is a solo show by local new media artist Hung Keung. Presented by the Schoeni Art Gallery, Hung's work continues to explore Chinese calligraphy and characters.

On Level 1, Tolarno Galleries from Melbourne, are a highlight in the Insights section, which presents galleries from Asia and Asia-Pacific with curatorial projects developed for this year's fair. Here, artists Martin Bell and Brendan Huntley will collaborate on a multimedia project that looks at what it is to be connected: to people, to technology or even to aliens.

In the Discoveries section, which focuses on solo or two-person shows, 2P Contemporary presents the up-and-coming mixed media artist Tang Kwok-hin whose works are personal and symbolic. Simon Lee Gallery will have a site specific wall-based work by Cindy Sherman.

Bring some focus to this massive event by making a point to catch all the "large-scale" projects curated especially for the event. Last year (when the fair was still Art HK), Yuko Hasegawa, chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, curated the 10-piece Art HK Projects to mixed reviews. She returns this year to curate the Encounters section, in which 17 installations and sculptures will take centre stage at the fair. Most notable of the collection will be a neon text installation by Laurent Grasso, and presented by Edouard Malingue Gallery; while Simon Lee Gallery will show sculptures by artist Marnie Weber that draw viewers into his imaginary world. Perhaps more intriguing is Oh Seung-yul's tube-like inflatables at One and J Gallery, which visitors will be encouraged to force their way through.

What sets Art Basel's Hong Kong edition apart from the others (Basel and Miami) is its strong focus on art from this region; more than half of this year's participating galleries are from Asia and Asia-Pacific, with 26 such galleries having exhibition spaces in this city. Also keep an eye out for local artists taking part in this commercial merry-go-round, including Halley Cheng at Galerie Ora-Ora, Lam Tung-pang at Galerie du Monde, and Kwan Sheung-chi at Gallery Exit.

Top tips

Follow us on Instagram @scmp_48hours for pictorial coverage of Art Basel's first Hong Kong edition. Tickets: HK$250 (one-day pass); HK$750 (four-day pass); HK$750 vernissage (May 22, 5pm-9pm). Inquiries: artbasel.com

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