The 15 Best Booths at Art Basel in Hong Kong
The fifth edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong opened to VIPs on Tuesday with 242 participating galleries from 34 countries setting up shop through Saturday in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Each of the fair’s editions has seen galleries steadily up their game, in step with the rapidly advancing collecting public of the region. But this year’s edition puts forward a particularly strong Discoveries section for galleries showing solo or dual presentations of young artists. Here are 15 booths across the fair that stood out from the rest.
Galleries Section, Booth 1B15
With works by Franz Ackermann, Ai Weiwei, Pawel Althamer, Billy Childish, Keith Edmier, Olafur Eliasson, Andreas Eriksson, Noa Eshkol, Mario García Torres, Renata Lucas, Michel Majerus, Mike Nelson, Jorge Pardo, Elizabeth Peyton, Tobias Rehberger, Thaddeus Strode, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Pae White
Inspired by Willem de Kooning’s seminal 1950 painting Excavation, Tim Neuger developed a booth that sees splashes of primary-colored works spread amidst a relatively sparsely hung stand. Visitors are drawn to the booth by one of Art Basel in Hong Kong’s largest works, Michel Majerus’s painting Ohne Titel (1998). Inside, Rirkrit Tiravanija’s untitled 2009 (who is afraid of chrome, chrome and chrome) (2009) is comprised of four red, bisected oil drums turned into grills, the centermost of which hosts a pile of chrome-plated lamb bones. They are the remnants of a performance at the Berlin gallery.
Galleries Section, Booth 1D18
With works by Donna Huanca, Blair Thurman, Melike Kara, Brent Wadden, Dan Attoe
Two strong female artists anchor Peres Projects’s booth. It’s centered on a painting by still-under-the radar Cologne-based artist Melike Kara, who’s overdue for a major surge of interest. The painting shows a group of intertwined figures that resemble masked commandos or cartoon extraterrestrials rendered in purple, green, and black lines. To the work’s right, a new set of sculptures and paintings by Donna Huanca continue to mesmerize and delight.
Galerie Kadel Willborn
Discoveries Section, Booth 1C38
With works by Kathrin Sonntag
In this striking solo booth, Berlin-based artist Kathrin Sonntag’s multimedia installation brings together pictures of pictures, objects featured in pictures, and a lot of mirrors. Typical of Sonntag’s on-the-rise practice (her work was featured in a group exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in 2015 and in solo exhibitions at Kadel Willborn and Neuer Aachener Kunstverein in 2016), the installation questions the truthfulness of images by distorting perception.
Antenna Space and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler
Galleries Section, Booth 3C01
With works by Florian Auer, Yu Honglei, Guan Xiao, Xu Qu, Slavs and Tatars, Avery Singer, Katja Novitskova, GCC, Anna Uddenberg
Having shown in the Insights and Discoveries sections in past years, respectively, Antenna Space and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler joined forces on a booth for the Galleries sector of Art Basel in Hong Kong. The dual presentation is about as strong a survey of post-internet art as could be achieved in one fair booth. Pulling equally from both of their programs—with a particularly strong presence of Guan Xiao, whom they share—the presentation makes clear the extent to which these two galleries, working on near opposite sides of the world, have influenced and supported the cutting edge of art practice today.
Discoveries Section, Booth 1C33
With works by Julian Charrière
Julian Charrière was shortlisted for the next BMW Art Journey on Wednesday for Coconut Lead Fondue, a 2016 work that resulted from the artist’s own month-long journey to the Bikini Atoll. Centered on a pile of coconut cannon balls (the cannon for which was recently confiscated in a raid on the artist’s Berlin studio), the booth also features photographs taken while in the former atomic test site and two vitrine sculptures. Collectively, the works reflect on colonialism through the military-industrial complex’s imposition on this remote landscape.
Galleries Section, Booth 3C27
With works by Parker Ito, Tabor Robak, Ryan McGinley
New York’s team gallery returns for a second edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong with a vibrant installation of Ryan McGinley’s ongoing “Yearbook” series. Taking up the booth’s back wall, the installation sees brightly colored photographs of nude bodies, of many types and ethnicities, that hail from New York’s downtown creative community. Similarly as eye-catching is Tabor Robak’s self-generative, algorithm-based landscape study; directly opposite are Parker Ito’s seemingly retro-filtered prints.
Discoveries Section, Booth 1C40
With works by Astha Butail
Back in Hong Kong after a six-year hiatus, Bangalore- and New Delhi-based Gallery SKE presents a Discoveries booth that showcases the work of young Delhi artist Astha Butail. The booth’s walls are hung with 322 geometric frames that house hand-woven muslin pulled taut across archival paper, an installation that explores how traditional oral narration has passed through families and communities throughout history.
Luxembourg & Dayan
Galleries Section, Booth 3D15
With works by Lucio Fontana
For the gallery’s first foray at Art Basel in Hong Kong, Luxembourg & Dayan presents Lucio Fontana’s iconic slashed paintings. Monochromatic canvases that have been split violently or else punctuated along invisible lines, these painting-sculpture hybrids are a modern treat in an otherwise almost exclusively contemporary fair.
Galleries Section, Booth 1D40
With works by Eko Nugroho, Kim Tae-Ho, Nalini Malani, Subodh Gupta, Chen Yujun
Arario’s colorful booth is dominated by Indonesian artist Eko Nugroho’s flamboyantly dressed mannequins and bold embroidered works. In response to the rapid industrialization of Indonesia’s textile embroidery trade, the artist commissioned local craftspeople to create the tapestries, therefore building an additional layer of social engagement into the already politically minded works.
Galleries Section, Booth 1D11
With works by Cai Guo-Qiang
An 18-meter-long screen dominates ESLITE’s solo presentation of Cai Guo-Qiang. Created for his 2009 exhibition at Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the work is inspired by Taroko National Park on Taiwan’s east coast. It was created using the artist’s signature gunpowder-on-paper technique and is on offer for $3.5 million. At the opposite end of scale, at least in size, is Black Peony (2008), one of the artist’s ongoing experiments with fragile Jingdezhen porcelain and the more violent medium of gunpowder. The work illustrates Cai’s mastery of his craft, as the intricate flower relief on the porcelain is not just intact, but beautifully covered in gradients of of residual powder.
Galleries Section, Booth 1C20
With works by Luc Tuymans, Oscar Murillo, Thomas Ruff, Jordan Wolfson, Alice Neel, Marlene Dumas, Martin Kippenberger, Michaël Borremans, Raoul De Keyser, Josef Albers, Wolfgang Tillmans
Luc Tuymans himself was at David Zwirner’s booth, where two of three brand-new canvases the Belgian painter created expressly for the fair had already sold. Elsewhere in the booth, portraiture and painting stood out, including strong works by Alice Neel and Marlene Dumas. Having clocked in seven years showing at both Art Basel in Hong Kong and its predecessor, ART HK, the New York- and London-based gallery has announced plans to open a new space in Hong Kong’s H Queens development in early 2018.
Insights Section, Booth 3D20
With works by J. Park
Central to emerging Korean artist J. Park’s dramatic monochromatic booth for Daegu- and Seoul-based LEEAHN is a scaffold, mirror, and CCTV installation titled Maze of Onlookers. The immersive environment features live and time-delayed video feeds of fairgoers, as well as scenes of Seoul and Hong Kong, that uncomfortably blur the distinction between surveillance and voyeurism.
Discoveries Section, Booth 1C52
With works by Hu Weiyi
Hu Weiyi is the son of influential Chinese digital media artist Hu Jieming. For Art Basel in Hong Kong, the young conceptual artist has created a series of miniature “film studios” called Pulp Landscape (2013–ongoing). Within vintage suitcases, cutouts of family photos and reproductions of artworks by Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, and Yoshitomo Nara rotate on a carousel that has been filmed and then projected onto the case’s interior surface. The works offer a captivating and playful response to the fair environment that’s not to be missed.
Discoveries Section, Booth 1C50
With works by Lin Ke
Propped up along one side of Bank’s booth is Lin Ke’s precisely titled 2016-04-17 at 11.46.20pm. This blown-up screengrab neatly encapsulates the up-and-coming Chinese artist’s practice, which mines and manipulates imagery found on the internet in order to dissect contemporary digital culture and its influence. Opposite is a recent film work, Like Me, which sees the artist recite strangely prophetic lines from a 1960s Star Trek episode.
Encounters Section, Booth 3E16
With works by Bingyi
In the Encounters sector, Beijing-based Ink Studio presents monumental scrolls by Chinese artist Bingyi, which were created en plein air on Chinese mountainsides. At 22 meters long and 2.8 meters wide, only two of the six works in the oversized series could be shown at Art Basel in Hong Kong. The gallery is also showing work by Zheng Chongbin in Insights. Zheng mounts large-scale abstract ink and acrylic paintings onto layered pieces of corrugated aluminum to create angled, geometric shapes that starkly contrast their expressive strokes.
—Frances Arnold and Alexander Forbes