Art Basel Hong Kong 2018 offers a premier platform for renowned artists and galleries
Art fair is bigger and better than ever, and is set to make an impact on the global scene
Art Basel Hong Kong continues to grow as a major highlight event in the city’s cultural calendar. The 2018 show – from March 29 to 31 – is bigger, better and destined to have more impact on the global scene. This year, 248 premier galleries from 32 countries and territories will be featured and 28 of them are taking part for the first time.
More significantly, the show continues its commitment to the region. Half of the galleries displaying are from Asia or have exhibition spaces in the Asia-Pacific region, situated alongside overseas big names. Such an in-depth and diverse survey of the international art scene, whether it’s historical material or avant-garde works by established icons and emerging talents, proves Art Basel really is the one of the world’s premier art shows for contemporary and modern art.
The show is divided into various curated sectors. Projects by galleries based in greater Asia-Pacific and showcasing artists from the region are gathered in Insights. The Kabinett sector returns for its second year, presenting 30 carefully curated projects from solo shows to thematic group presentations.
Encounters is dedicated to unveiling large-scale sculpture and installation works that take visitors out of the art fair setting. These pieces are all by renowned and acclaimed artists, and curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor.
In contrast, Discoveriesgives a voice to emerging contemporary artists and the next generation of talent in the early stages of their career. Also back are the “Conversations” series of dynamic and thought provoking talks, film screenings of art-oriented works, and magazine booths revealing the wide discourse on art still presented in print.
However, the main focus is still on fascinating new art and this year the highlights are plentiful and fascinating. At the M+ Pavilion, a new edition of Samson Young’s “Songs for Disaster Relief”, will make its world tour debut after being presented at the 57th Venice Biennale. The multidisciplinary exhibition involves sculptures, videos, sound installations, and site-specific commissioned work, for a delightful audiovisual experience re-examining numerous popular ’80s and ’90s charity singles. It will also be accompanied by several live music performances.
Not to be missed is a solo exhibition by American artist George Condo. “Expanded Portrait Compositions” at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum is co-presented by galleries Skarstedt and Sprüth Magers, and encompasses eight paintings full of electrifying colours and outlined forms.
Galerie Ora-Ora will celebrate its new space in the H Queen’s building with a literature-themed group show, “Screaming Books”, featuring prominent Chinese artists like Halley Cheng, Peng Jian, Xu Lei, Zhang Yanzi, Peng Wei, Hung Keung and Xiao Xu. Looking at Chinese literature and art through different eyes, the show explores the emotions and meanings of literary visuals from a more universal perspective.
German artist Michael Müllerhas his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong during Art Basel for Galerie du Monde. The multimedia star is known for his striking conceptual works, tackling the realities of artistic representation, such as the relationship between archetype and reproduction, originals and copies, and the difficulty of distinguishing one from another.
The Liang Yi Museum features a specific colour tone. Curated by Dr Yuka Kadoi, “The Blue Road: Mastercrafts from Persia” surveys the use of blue in Persian culture and its impact on art in other parts of Asia. Works have been drawn from illustrious sources such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Ashmolean Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum, and the Doris Duke Foundation of Islamic Art. The exhibition coincides with the first gallery from Iran to take part in Hong Kong’s art fair.
Other significant exhibitions include a solo display by Los Angeles artist Mark Bradford, presented by Hauser & Wirth, that examines America’s social landscape and cultural history.
Pace Hong Kong is featuring two artists to watch out for. New Yorker Loie Hollowell, known as “the Georgia O’Keefe for the Instagram age”, will show a collection of paintings that evoke bodily landscapes and allusionary female forms that are provocative and contemplative. In addition, Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara returns to Hong Kong with new paintings, drawings and ceramics.
Marlborough Fine Arts, which has been around for over 70 years, will be represented with a selection of paintings by great American artist Frank Auerbach.
The Gagosian is staging “Jennifer Guidi: Heliocentric”, consisting of luminous sand paintings that resemble swirling mandalas and abstract sensory palettes. Meanwhile, the Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery hosts “Soul Is Like Wind; Life Is Like Snow: Recent Works by Ai Xuan”. These realist works are held in high regard in prestigious museums the world over.
Art house/restaurant Duddell’s will host the opening party and a site-specific musical performance by Leila Hekmat. “I Was Not Invited” will dabble with a song cycle inspired by Franz Schubert’s Winterreise, a singer and pianist as characters, the poems of Mallarmé, and baroque costumes.