Art Central Hong Kong opened to VIPs on Monday, kicking off the city’s busy art week. Now in its third year, the fair brings some 100 galleries, 75 percent of which hail from Asia Pacific, to a 10,000-square-meter tent by Victoria Harbour. Newcomers at this year’s edition include Tokyo’s Art Front Gallery, Sydney’s Artereal Gallery, Taipei’s GALERIE OVO, Copenhagen’s In The Gallery, and De Buck Gallery of New York, Antwerp, and Saint Paul de Vence.
Judging by Monday’s bustling preview, the gloomy economic outlook that has affected fairs in the region recently did not seem to have an impact on Art Central. International and local collectors mixed with artists and young professionals looking to buy their first piece of art. Galleries, however, appear to be cautious in their choice of presentations, evidenced by a wealth of paintings on view across the fair, though some galleries did still manage to push the envelope with their presentations. Below, we bring you the 10 strongest booths at this year’s fair.
Installation view of MuMu Gallery’s booth at Art Central Hong, 2017. Photo courtesy of MuMu Gallery.
In its first foray at Art Central, the Taiwan gallery participates in the fair’s Rise sector, which features solo booths by galleries and art spaces launched over the past six years. The gallery presents the work of Huang Bo-Hao, a young Taiwanese artist whose minimalist works on paper draw inspiration from Chinese ink painting and are made using natural minerals.
Installation view of .M Contemporary’s booth at Art Central Hong Kong, 2017. Photo courtesy of .M Contemporary.
Sydney’s .M Contemporary presents a two-person booth of South African artist Lionel Smit and Pakistan-born, Australia-based artist Mehwish Iqbal, with Smit’s striking portraits and sculptures providing a nice contrast to Iqbal’s works on paper and installations. The latter’s Home Away From Home (2016) consists of small crocheted sculptures, and Last Prayer (2016) is comprised of hand-etched porcelain date seeds. The gallery also presents Estuary (2017), a delicate yet powerful installation by Hannah Quinlivan, in the fair’s Projects section.
Central Section, Booth E9
With works by Carol Prusa, Brigitta Rossetti, MARCK, Jonathan Rosen, Tom Smith
In one of the most buzzed-about booths during the VIP preview, Taiwanese gallery Bluerider ART presents Sex Sells (2015), a video sculpture by Swiss artist MARCK, and text-based wall works by New York-based artist Jonathan Rosen, among others. Works from Rosen’s “I WANT”series became instant crowd favorites, offering many the perfect excuse for a selfie.
Central Section, Booth F8
With works by Na Wei, Ye Sen, Hye Kyoung Kwon, Xiao Yu
Hong Kong’s Art Experience Gallery presents works by three mainland Chinese artists and one from South Korea. While on the booth’s exteriors walls, the gallery has hung loud, striking paintings by Hye Kyoung Kwon, including the bright-yellow Container B-2 (2013), inside, viewers encounter works that embody a zen ambience. This includes elegant prints by Xiao Yu, like There is a Leopard Inside Everyone of Us (2017), and Ye Sen’s serene sculpture made from interlocking pieces of elm wood, tiled Unfolding (2015).
Central Section, Booth B12
With works by Kim In Kyum, Kim Eull, Yang Jung Uk, Yoon Sang Yuel, Chung Seung Un
This South Korean gallery presents a harmonious, multi-generational presentation of Korean artists. Fairgoers are greeted by Kim In Kyum’s heavy stainless steel sculpture Space Less (2015), which guards the entrance to the booth, and Yang Jung Uk’s mesmerizing installation Signboard for some of store (No.9) (2017), which is hung on the adjacent wall. Other highlights include Chung Seung Un’s installation Skyline 160917 and works on paper by Yoon Sang-Yuel.
Central Section, Booth B9
With works by Wang Xingwei, Yu Youhan, Zhan Wang, Deng Yuejun, Zhang Peili, Zhang Liaoyuan
Installation view of Rén Space’s booth at Art Central Hong Kong, 2017.
This elegant booth by the Shanghai-based gallery mingles emerging Chinese artists with some of the biggest names in the contemporary Chinese art scene. Yu Youhan’s latest piece, a triptych titled Abstract (2017), and Zhang Peili’s new graphic works are among the booth’s most compelling works, though pieces by young artists—such as Deng Yuejun’s mechanical installation Somniloquy - Mechanical Butterfly (2014), and Zhang Liaoyuan’s conceptual light installation Between 0 ~ 255 (2015)—steal the show.
Central Section, Booth A1
With works by Chen Wenling, Ann Hoi, Lai Sio Kit, Li Hongbo, Lu Zhengyuan, Lv Shanchuan, Shi Jindian, Jacky Tsai, Martin Wehmer, Wong Hau Kwei, Wu Didi, Zheng Yiqiang
Participating at the fair for the third time, the Hong Kong gallery presents a well-balanced group of artists based in China. Among the booth’s strongest works are two sculptures by Beijing-based artist Li Hongbo,which are created from thousands of stacked sheets of paper and can be pulled apart and folded like Slinkies. Other highlights include Shi Jindian’s delicate steel wire sculpture Changjiang 750 No. 2 (2006), and realist paintings from Lu Zhengyuan’s “The Vessels of Time” series (2012–present).
Art WeMe Contemporary Gallery presents an array of paintings by Shanghai-based Chinese artist Sanzi and Malaysian-Chinese painter C.N. Liew. The gallery presents Sanzi’s muted landscape paintings, like Dawn (Sunflower) (2014), picturing a black-and-white field of glowing sunflowers, and 云漫 Moving Cloud (2014), which features two small figures on a cliff engulfed in a foreboding, grey sky.
Central Section, Booth A6
With works by Yin Zhaoyang, Li Jin, Li Guijun, Liu Tianlian, Hao Jiantao, Fu Meijun, Gao Yu, Shih, Yung-chun, Liu Bing, Di Qing, Li Wei, Liu Zhiyin, Yan Shilin, Yan Lei, Li Xinyu, Tang Jie
Installation view of Line Gallery’s booth at Art Central Hong Kong, 2017.
A wall installation by Chinese artist Yan Shilin, titled Growth (2016) and made of cast copper and chemical stain, will easily draw you into Line Gallery’s booth. Once inside, you’ll find vibrant, playful Chinese ink paintings by Li Jin, which are a nice contrast to Yin Zhaoyang’s powerful red painting Square.The 10-year-old Beijing gallery also presents a mechanical installation by Tang Jie in the fair’s Projects sector, titled Stone Story (2015), made with stones and a large drum.
For its first showing at Art Central, the Hamburg gallery brings the work of Brazilian artist Afonso Tostes. The booth is a thoughtfully curated presentation of the artist’s oil paintings and sculptures, including work from the artist’s “Fogo mensageiro” series, comprised of woodworking tools that reference human history, suffering, and survival.