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Art Basel

New exhibitors from India and Middle East at Art Basel Hong Kong in 2018 will add to diversity of international art fair

Nearly 250 galleries from 32 countries will show works at sixth Art Basel fair in city next Easter, among them 28 newcomers from countries including India, Iran, and Turkey

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 October, 2017, 9:45am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2017, 4:12pm

Growing interest from art galleries in India and the Middle East will bringing more diversity to the sixth edition of Art Basel Hong Kong, which will take place between March 27 and 31 next year and again coincides with the Easter long weekend.

Among the 249 galleries from 32 countries that are taking part, 28 are joining for the first time from countries such as Iran, Turkey and India.

What’s caught our eye at Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central

The contingent of nine galleries from India in particular will boost the annual contemporary art fair’s reputation as the most international platform for contemporary art in the region, according to Adeline Ooi, Art Basel’s Asia director.

“I am most excited about the strong representation from India. For the first time, we will have Indian galleries present in all three sections of the fair.

“We need the diversity if I can say, hand on heart, this is the international art platform in Asia. So it is very encouraging that Indian galleries and their clients, who culturally tend to look to the Western art market and art fairs, are also beginning to look to the east,” she said.

Of the nine, Gallery Espace from New Delhi and Tarq from Mumbai are first-time exhibitors.

Dastan’s Basement from Tehran is the first Iranian gallery to join Art Basel Hong Kong. It was set up in 2012 to promote Iran’s young, emerging artists, but since 2015 has had a second space dedicated to more established names.

Some of the other names that are debuting in Hong Kong include Chinese artist Xu Zhen’s MadeIn Gallery, from Shanghai; New York’s 47 Canal; Gavin Brown’s enterprise; London’s Josh Lilley; Glasgow’s The Modern Institute; and Commonwealth and Council, an artist-run exhibition space and studio in Los Angeles.

Outside the Wan Chai convention centre, visitors to Art Basel 2018 will be able to see a number of highly anticipated exhibitions opening early next year.

Samson Young Kar-fai will adapt his Venice Biennale exhibition for a new show at the M+ Pavilion in Kowloon in February. David Zwirner Gallery will open its Hong Kong branch in H Queen’s, Central, around Lunar New Year with works by Belgian artist Michaël Borremans.

Art Central will return as the main satellite fair that week, while the Asia Contemporary Art Show will open on March 23 at the Conrad Hotel in Admiralty. Further afield, a new photo fair called Photo Macau will be held at the Venetian Macau from March 24 to 28.

Art Basel Hong Kong is facing more competition in the region, with Art Chengdu happening in April 2018 and speculation of an Asian edition of London’s Frieze. But Ooi said more players would help build up momentum for the still-new market.

Despite ongoing fears of geopolitical unrest, she said she remained confident about Asian demand for contemporary art.

Art Basel Hong Kong sees off fears of art market slump, to relief of galleries

“The November fairs in Shanghai will be a good test of the market, but so far this year, sales from fairs such as Frieze, Fiac and the auctions market suggest people are still keen to buy. I have had Asian collectors coming up to me and saying they would like to see certain works that they couldn’t find in the European fairs,” she said.