Korean art fascinates Hong Kong
This year’s Art Basel Hong Kong shines the spotlight on South Korean artists, bringing to the forefront budding names and established artists alike
By Kwon Mee-yoo
The art world’s attention is transfixed upon Hong Kong as the largest art fair in Asia opened for preview Tuesday. Hong Kong has become the third largest art market in the world thanks to its tax benefits and Korean galleries are finding a way out in Hong Kong amid a domestic slump.
Over 242 galleries from 34 countries take part in the fifth edition of the largest art fair in Asia held at the Alexandra House. Some 3,000 artworks from A-list artists such as Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon and Cy Twombly to budding young talents will be on display for sale through Saturday.
Korean artists in spotlight
A handful of top Korean galleries are taking part in the art event, pulling out the cream of the crop to capture the attention of art aficionados, collectors and curators flying to Hong Kong.
Art Basel Hong Kong has a few subsectors including Insights, Discoveries, Kabinett and Encounters. The Insights sector presents works of artists based in the Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. The 313 Art Project introduces Park Ki-won’s site-specific installation “Ruin” and painting series “Width,” while the Leeahn Gallery presents Park Jong-kyu’s “Project on Maze of Onlookers,” showcasing diversity of Korean contemporary art.
Along with growing international interest in “Dansaekhwa,” Korean monochrome painting, Kukje Gallery will present works of Kwon Young-woo at the Kabinett sector, which is more thematically curated.
In the Encounter sector, which features 17 large installation pieces curated by Artspace Sydney Executive Director Alexie Glass-Kantor, Kim Soo-ja’s “Deductive Object” will be exhibited. Kim Soo-ja will also have an artist talk “The Dimensions of a Needle” at the Art Central, Auditorium as one of the four recipients of the Asia Art Awards Hong Kong on Friday.
Lee Kyung-hwa, known for her installation and performance art “Malleable Bodies,” is invited to the Conversations and Salon corner on Saturday. Lee will take part in a discussion themed “New Media at Work” with other noted guests Maurice Benayoun, Masaki Fujihata, Lin Ke and Petra Cortright.
During the art week, various art events other than Art Basel Hong Kong, are held across Hong Kong. Gallery Hyundai and Johyun Gallery take part in Art Central Hong Kong and some 50 smaller galleries participate in Harbour Art Fair.
Kim Whan-ki to be auctioned
Hong Kong will also be the right place for art lovers who are interested in adding a decent Dansaekhwa piece to their collection.
Seoul Auction’s 21st Hong Kong Sale, to be held Friday at Renaissance Harbour View Hotel, featuring some 60 artworks worth 10 billion won. The auction will be headlined by the most expensive Korean artist Kim Whan-ki’s 1972 dot painting “18-Ⅱ-72 #221,” with a starting bid of 2.7 billion won (US$2.4 million).
Christie’s Hong Kong will hold “First Open,” a curated auction centering on the 20th century and contemporary Asian art, on March 23, featuring works of world class artists such as Japan’s Yayoi Kusama and China’s Sanyu as well as Korean artists Ha Chong-hyun, Yun Hyong-keun and Chung Sang-hwa.