Wed, Mar 13, 2019 - Page 13 News List

Art Basel Hong Kong marches on

The Beyond Gallery in Taipei is among 21 galleries that will be making their debut at Asia’s leading art fair this month

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Chen Shun-chu’s King-Do Relic will be exhibited at Beyond Gallery’s booth in the Insights sector at Art Basel Hong Kong this month.

Photo courtesy of Beyond Gallery

Art Basel Hong Kong returns for its seventh edition this month, and it shows no signs of relinquishing its status as the mecca of Asia’s art market and a must-see event. Even as concerns about a global economic slowdown loom, the Hong Kong fair remains unshaken.

“Yes, if you look at the news today, most of the time everyone is talking about China, China, China,” Art Basel’s Director Asia Adeline Ooi (黃雅君) tells the Taipei Times.

Ooi says that while the slowdown may cause art collectors to become more cautious, Asia’s art market will, as it has in the past, endure. New art markets in Asia or new generations of artists and collectors are always emerging, she said, adding that she is “keeping fingers crossed and being optimistic.”

This year, 21 galleries will join the show for the first time, including Taipei’s Beyond Gallery, which will bring works by the late artist Chen Shun-chu (陳順築) to the Insights sector, dedicated to artists from the Asia or Asia Pacific region.

In line with the fair’s tradition, over half of the 242 participating galleries have spaces in Asia or the Asia Pacific. Eleven have spaces in Taiwan: Chi-Wen Gallery, Eslite Gallery, Tina Keng Gallery, Liang Gallery, Lin & Lin Gallery, Galerie Nichido, Soka Art, TKG+, Asia Art Center, Beyond Gallery and Mind Set Art Center.

In the Galleries sector, the show’s main attraction, Eslite Gallery and Lin & Lin Gallery, will respectively host solo presentations of works by Chinese contemporary artist Liu Xiaodong (劉小東) and Chinese abstract painter Wu Dayu (吳大羽).

Prague-based gallery Hunt Kastner will be representing the Czech Republic at the Hong Kong show for the first time with Pathetic Poetic — an installation by Czech artist Anna Hulacova.

CROWDED ART SCENE

The three-day fair, which kicks off at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on March 29 with private previews taking place from March 27 to March 30, is following in the heels of January’s inaugural edition of Taipei Dangdai, which signaled sustained new interest in art collecting in Asia and beyond, and breathed new life into the art scene in Taipei.

Ooi spoke fondly of the Taipei venture, which was organized by her former colleague Magnus Renfrew, the founding director of Art Basel Hong Kong, and its predecessor, Art HK.

With not only geographical but also temporal proximity to Art Basel Hong Kong, Taipei Dangdai is well-situated to challenge Basel in the future, if not in sales and footfall, then at least in the willingness of Asia-based galleries to invest their resources into both events.

Taipei Dangdai for its part will have to fight off competition from Art Taipei, as well as a growing number of domestic fairs — such as One Art Taipei — that are quickly crowding the market. The Taiwan Art Gallery Association alone hosts three year-round: Art Taipei, Art Taichung and Art Tainan.

Nevertheless, Ooi suggests there may be enough interest in Taiwan to accommodate the increased frequency of multi-gallery exhibitions. Gallerists are excited about the prospect of new collectors, not just from Taipei but also from other places like Kaohsiung, Taichung and Tainan, she said. Noting the loyalty of Taiwanese collectors, she added: “If they really believe in you, they will follow you all the way.”

Lin & Lin Gallery Director David Lin (林岱蔚), whose gallery participates in four to five art fairs each year, was equally unconcerned about the proximity of Art Basel Hong Kong and Taipei Dangdai. The timing of the two shows has no effect on his willingness to attend, he said.

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