Art Market

The 10 Best Booths at Art Basel in Hong Kong 2023

Christina Ko
Mar 22, 2023 5:50PM

Interior view of Art Basel Hong Kong, 2023. Courtesy of Art Basel.

The prevailing thought on day one of Art Basel in Hong Kong 2023? So. Many. People. As the doors of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre opened for the first fully fledged edition of the global art fair since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the feeling was bright. International gallerists, artists, curators, and collectors were back in the city, and taking full advantage of Hong Kong’s better-late-than-never relaxation of social restrictions.

Just a 10-minute walk away from the fair at the Conrad Hong Kong hotel, Credit Suisse executives were doing their best to assuage a nervy audience at its investment conference—likely the last before its takeover by UBS—but on the familiar stomping grounds of the exhibition floor, the talk was for the most part positive, focusing on the social aspect of Art Week’s return: dinners, talks, shows, and parties.

The fair welcomed 177 galleries this year, down from its peak of almost 250, which made for (at least seemingly) wider thoroughfares and larger booths. The knock-on effect was evident, and galleries were able to show broader presentations that pull from across their respective rosters. The overall result was less overtly showy, but still occasionally overwhelming.

Alice Wang
Untitled , 2023
Capsule Shanghai

Alice Wang, installation view in Capsule Shanghai’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong, 2023. Courtesy of Capsule Shanghai.


The Discoveries sector—a hallway featuring 24 booths of solo presentations—provided a respite from this, with a number of well-considered single-artist shows. Roaming the fair grounds, artist and 2020 BMW Art Journey winner Leelee Chan—whose gallery Capsule Shanghai was showing a solo booth of work by Alice Wang in the section—was enjoying being a visitor, noting that this year’s presentations were particularly “brave.”

“Now that artists can actually come and install their own pieces [following the ‘satellite’ fairs of the last two years], galleries can really focus on bringing strong work,” she said.

If there had been any sense that Hong Kong’s strict travel guidelines—or its controversial national security law—had tempered the global jet set’s love affair with the city, leading to some of the usual galleries staying home (or worse, transferring their efforts to Seoul or Singapore), those fears seemed to be put aside for the day, with a “Hong Kong’s back, baby” attitude that seemed pervasive across all attendees.

Trevor Yeung, installation view of Mr. Cuddles Under the Eave, 2021, in Blindspot Gallery’s presentation at Art Basel Hong Kong, 2023. Courtesy of Art Basel.

While some gallerists noticed a slower, wait-and-see approach to buying, after the first flush of institutional sales had been logged, most were in good spirits and enjoying the less frantic pace—and the fact that people seemed genuinely happy to see art. “It’s our first year participating in Hong Kong,” said SMAC Gallery’s director, Baylon Sandri. “We didn’t see any frenzied buying on opening day, but lots of genuine interest from institutions and private collectors—and then the sales started happening on Wednesday morning. People were engaging a lot, and engaging in a different ways. Overall, on a number of levels it feels so different to other fairs—it feels fresh, it feels optimistic and less anxious.”

Here are Artsy’s 10 favorite booths from the fair.

David Zwirner

​Booth 1C15

With works by Jordan Wolfson, Richard Serra, Bridget Riley, Josef Albers, Oscar Murillo, Yayoi Kusama, Elizabeth Peyton, Thomas Ruff, Al Taylor, and Ruth Asawa

Installation view of David Zwirner’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong, 2023. Courtesy of David Zwirner.

Blue-chip galleries often have the most hodge-podge booths at art fairs—big art world names, big works, and big collectors all mingling and jostling for attention. But David Zwirner’s dedication of considerable floor space to new works by Jordan Wolfson gives its booth something of a focal point, especially since that focal point features images of a chained-up cat sitting before a fortress of apples; or leather-clad gloves palming Catholic crosses juxtaposed with Spongebob, Scooby-Doo, and Fred Flintstone; or the large and sinister Red Sculpture (2016–22), which was snapped up in the first hour of the fair by Shanghai’s Long Museum.

The booth also features favorites from David Zwirner’s powerhouse line-up, including a number of restrained geometric works including Richard Serra’s The Wagons Roll at Night (2021), Bridget Riley’s Light Shade 7 (2018), and Josef Albers’s Study for Homage to the Square: From Within. Another early sale was Elizabeth Peyton’s Truffaut (2005) portrait, in her first time showing with David Zwirner since joining the roster from Gladstone.

Blindspot Gallery

Booth 1C02

With works by Chen Wei, Un Cheng, South Ho Siu Nam, Pixy Liao, Andrew Luk, Kristian Mondrup, Wai Kin Sin, Angela Su, Wang Tuo, Trevor Yeung, and Yeung Tong Lung

Installation view of Blindspot Gallery’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong, 2023. Photo by South Ho. Courtesy of the artists and Blindspot Gallery.

Having participated in the fair since it was known as Art HK, Blindspot Gallery has been something of a trailblazer in the local Hong Kong art scene, with a considered roster of regional darlings. This year, its booth holds a prime position at the entrance of the fair and is adjacent to a large-scale, attention-grabbing Encounters installation, Mr. Cuddles Under the Eave (2021). Made by one of its own artists, Trevor Yeung, it features large money trees suspended from a ceiling.

Other works on display in the booth include a video work by Turner Prize nominee Wai Kin Sin, as well as the artist’s signature “death masks” created from discarded make-up wipes; Andrew Luk’s jagged multimedia canvases approximating the texture of durian skin (and questioning the controversial laws surrounding this polarizing fruit); and South Ho Siu Nam’s haunting watercolor pencil drawings of Hong Kong city scenes circa 2019.

Galerie Eigen + Art

Booth 1D06

With works by Marc Desgrandchamps, Tim Eitel, Neo Rauch, Nicola Samori, Kai Schiemenz, Kristina Schuldt, and Raul Walch

Installation view of Galerie Eigen + Art’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong, 2023. Courtesy of Galerie Eigen + Art.

Gerd Harry Lybke, owner of the Berlin- and Leipzig-based Galerie Eigen + Art, was in a positively ebullient mood halfway through the first day of the fair: “Nicola Samori: all sold. Neo Rauch and Tim Eitel: already some good sales,” he told Artsy.

Commercial success aside, the gallery’s booth has an impressive mix of poetry and whimsy on show, including a floating mobile by Raul Walch; a translucent glass architectural sculpture from Kai Schiemenz; and a full wall featuring eight of Italian artist Nicola Samori’s dark, baroque figurative oil paintings—faces slashed and all.

Kukje Gallery

Booth 1C12

With works by Haegue Yang, Ha Chong-hyun, Park Seo-bo, Gimhongsok, Suki Seokyeong Kang, Kyungah Ham, Jenny Holzer, and Candida Höfer

Installation view of Kukje Gallery’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong, 2023. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion di Persano. Courtesy of Kukje Gallery.

While its sprawling installation by South Korean artist Gimhongsok on the upper floor of the fair is certainly an attention-seeker, most of the works in Kukje Gallery’s booth demand a closer, quieter inspection. The leading South Korean gallery brings top names of Korean descent to its presentation, alongside a smattering of global names such as Jenny Holzer and Candida Höfer.

These include a columnal rock sculpture from Gimhongsok; rope-like hanging sculptures from Haegue Yang; a pair of Park Seo-bo works on canvas using ceramic from the artist’s “Ecriture” series; and one of fellow Dansaekhwa artist Ha Chong-hyun’s “Conjunction” paintings, created using his bae-ap-bub technique of pushing paint through the back of the canvas.

SMAC Gallery

Booth 3C23

With works by Wallen Mapondera

Wallen Mapondera, installation view in SMAC Gallery’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong, 2023. Photo by Michele Galeotto/Good Takes Only. Courtesy of SMAC Gallery.

Part of the single-artist Discoveries section of the fair, SMAC—one of just two galleries hailing from Africa—shows “Within and Between,” a new body of work by Wallen Mapondera, who is coming off representing Zimbabwe at last year’s Venice Biennale. The pieces explore ideas of space: physical, intangible, and spiritual alike.

Mapondera creates tapestries using cardboard boxes, a reference to the confines and shelters we build to host our bodies and souls. His preferred medium of found materials are taken from spaces of happiness and then used to construct stories and ponder questions about personal lineage, spiritual freedom, and the quantification of the metaphysical.

Lehmann Maupin

Booth 1C16

With works by Tammy Nguyen, Do Ho Suh, Lee Bul, Gilbert & George, Billy Childish, Tom Friedman, Liu Wei, and Nari Ward

Installation view of Lehmann Maupin’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong, 2023. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin.

Along the center thoroughfare—or “meridian,” as Art Basel likes to term it—the behemoths are lined up: Perrotin beside Pace Gallery, Gagosian, David Zwirner, Lehmann Maupin, White Cube, and finally Hauser & Wirth. This line-up of works from art world superstars rivals that of any institutional collection, and the booths stay consistently packed, with brisk sales, works being constantly rotated, and photo opportunities galore.

At Lehmann Maupin, the work seems to have a little more room to breathe, whether it is with the new large-scale painting The Gape (2023) by Tammy Nguyen, which the gallery placed at the top of its booth highlights; an ethereal work, Perdu CXLVIII (2023) by Lee Bul, made of mother of pearl and acrylic paint; or even the fair-standard Do Ho Suh polyester kitchen appliance. This time it is notably encased in a glowing glass display: no doubt a result of the artist’s delicate work from the same series being damaged during an after-hours event at Australia’s MCA last month.

Lucie Chang Fine Arts

Booth 1B37

With works by anothermountainman (Stanley Wong)

anothermountainman (Stanley Wong), installation view in Lucie Chang Fine Arts’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong, 2023. Photo by Christina Ko. Courtesy of Lucie Chang Fine Arts.

Commissioning anothermountainman (Stanley Wong) to create a site-specific installation for its Insights booth (the sector featuring works created specifically for Art Basel), Lucie Chang Fine Arts made a smart play, capitalizing on the artist’s always visually captivating use of the city’s iconic red, white, and blue cheap plastic carrier bags that Wong sees as a symbol of Hong Kong’s simple resilience.

Besides being incredibly Instagrammable, it seems to act as a galvanizing presence, uniting viewers in their love of the city, and acting as a beacon of consistency, with work created as recently as this year and from as far back as 2001, meshed together seamlessly.

Star Gallery

Booth 3C19

With works by Yan Cong, Liu Heung Shing, Zhao Gang, Kang Haoxian, Ju Ting, Zhu Xinjian, Qiu Jiongjiong, Wen Ling, and Liu Haichen

Installation view of Star Gallery’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong, 2023. Courtesy of Star Gallery.

Despite being tucked in the back of the upper floor of the fair, Beijing’s Star Gallery has a strong and bold showing, anchored by a sprawling seven-meter-long painting by Yan Cong titled Mice, which was one of its first works to sell, going to a private collection. Also getting attention is a black-and-white photograph by Liu Heung Shing featuring a man holding up a sign that reads, in simplified Chinese: 要艺术自由—freedom for art.

Other works include the macabre Richter is Dead No. 1 by Manchurian artist Zhao Gang; a tactile hanging piece by Ju Ting, Winter is Coming; and Zhu Xinjian’s ink rabbits Detaining the Moon for the Empty Mountain.

Empty Gallery

Booth 3C03

With works by Tishan Hsu, Jes Fan, Taro Masushio, Henry Shum, Vunkwan Tam, and Raha Raissnia

Installation view of Empty Gallery’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong, 2023. Courtesy of Empty Gallery.

Two artists hosting exhibitions at Empty Gallery’s Hong Kong gallery also hold pride of place at its booth. Jes Fan’s aqua resin, selenium, glass, and pigment sculptures, draw from Fan’s glassmaking expertise and are merged with scientific processes to deal with questions of biology and flux states, which relate to the artist’s cultural and gender identity.

Tishan Hsu’s work also explores hybrid spaces, though primarily exploring the divide between tactile and digital. breath 9 is a wall-mounted sculpture made from UV-cured inkjet, acrylic, silicone, and ink on wood, for a final product that teases both the eye and mind.

Zeno X Gallery

Booth 3D06

With works by Martin Margiela, Luc Tuymans, Mark Manders, Michaël Borremans, Marlene Dumas, and Mircea Suciu

Half of Antwerp gallery Zeno X’s booth was taken up by sensual and subversively classical sculptures by fashion designer Martin Margiela, alongside images from his “Film Dust” series, which raise questions on authorship in a subtle, sophisticated manner (and yes, these are paintings of film dust). The booth also includes moody, seductive canvases by Marlene Dumas, Le Désespoir de la Vieille (2020); and Luc Tuymans, Seagull (2018).

Christina Ko