The Artsy Guide to Art Basel in Hong Kong 2014

Situated alongside Victoria Harbour, and before a spectacular skyline, Art Basel in Hong Kong returns, with over 34,000 square meters of exhibition space and promise for another dynamic fair program. Exceeding 60,000 people over a five-day run in its inaugural year, this second edition, with six exhibitor sectors, a full agenda of events around the city, and a new film program is sure to exceed expectations.

1. When? Where? How?

Art Basel in Hong Kong takes place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) (1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong), a prime location in the heart of the city. The fair is open to the public May 15th–18th, from noon each day. You can purchase tickets in person at the fair, or online here

2. Why visit?

Art Basel in Hong Kong is a premier, global art world event. Significantly located at a thriving Asian art capital, the fair extends far beyond the HKCEC venue through a series of events and exhibitions taking place across the city; and within the fair’s international forum, 24 native galleries offer a taste of the local art scene. Like the American and European Art Basel editions, Art Basel in Hong Kong is a beacon of current trends in modern and contemporary art.

3. Sectors

For the 2014 edition, 245 top modern and contemporary art galleries from 39 countries travel to Art Basel in Hong Kong, with paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, prints, photography, film, video, and digital art in tow. From museum-quality works to installations to site-specific commissions, Art Basel in Hong Kong encompasses a wide spectrum of art objects, providing an eclectic showcase to appeal to a diverse audience. With a strong emphasis on galleries based in Asia and the Asia Pacific, the fair offers multiple specialized sectors, to host a wide variety of galleries, artists, and genres of art. In addition to the main galleries sector, the fair includes:

Insights: A section of galleries in Asia or the Asia Pacific region (including the territory from Turkey to New Zealand), presenting artists from their region who have developed projects specifically for the fair. 

Discoveries: Gallery booths include new works by one or two emerging artists or artists at an early stage in their artistic careers, and present works created recently, preferably specifically for the show.

Encounters: With the aim to surpass the traditional art fair presentation, this sector presents a series of large-scale installations that are featured across the fairgrounds, creating immersive, dynamic interventions for fairgoers to encounter.

4. The Film Sector

Curated by Li Zhenhua, director and founder of Beijing Art Lab, this year’s Film Sector offers an engaging selection of films about artists. Each night of the fair, a feature-length film or a series of short films will be free and open to the public. Film screenings take place at the agnès b. cinema at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Find the full film schedule, here.

5. Conversations

Conversations, one half of the talks program, offers a series of dialogues between highly accomplished artists and art professionals, who share their points of view on collecting, exhibiting, and making art. Conversations are free and open to the public, and take place May 15th-17th, each morning from 10 to 11:30, on Level 1, at the entrance of Hall 1A. One hour of discussion is followed by a 30-minute Q&A session. This year’s conversations are:

“Premiere: Artist Talk”: Liu Kuo-sung, May 15th, 10am, in Mandarin.

“The Global Art World: Making Biennials”: Juliana Engberg, Eungie Joo, and Jessica Morgan, with moderator Hou Hanru, May 16th, 10am, in English.

“Collectors Focus: Cross Cultural Collecting”: Shareen Khattar, Takeo Obayashi, Gene Sherman, and Lu Xun, with moderator Elaine Ng, May 17th, 10am, in English.

6. Salon

The other half of the talks program, Salon, is an extensive series of concise presentations or informal discussions that take place each afternoon May 15th-17th, from 1pm to 7pm, also on Level 1, at the entrance of Hall 1A. Access to the hour-long talks is free with a ticket to the fair. Participants include highly esteemed artists, gallerists, curators, art historians, art professionals, collectors, writers, and other significant cultural figures. Highlights include:

“Focus Viet Nam: Monumental Bling and Other Things...”: The Propeller Group, Zoe Butt, and June Yap. May 15, 1pm, in English.

“Hans van Dijk: Dialogues in the Development of Contemporary Art in China”: Defne Ayas, Marianne Brouwer, Fiona He, and Zhang Wei; moderated by Philip Tinari. May 16th, 2pm, in English.

“Cross Cultural Influences between France & China”: Fabienne Verdier,  Yvon Chu, and Jérôme Sans; moderated by William Zhao. May 16th, 4pm, in English.

“Beyond Space: Artist Networks in Hong Kong”: Leung Chi Wo, Chow Chun Fai, Chu Hing Wah, and Lam Tung Pang; moderated by Stephanie Bailey. May 17th, 1pm, in English.

7. Professionally Led Tours

Successfully navigate the HKCEC fairgrounds with a guided tour given by established art professionals. A variety of tours are available daily, through contemporary art space Para Site (contact jims@para-site.org.hk), non-profit 1a space (contact anki@oneaspace.org.hk), and Time Out Hong Kong, which leads “Buying Art” tours for new collectors. 

8. α (alpha) pulse by Carsten Nicolai

Each evening of May 15th, 16th, and 17th, Berlin-based artist Carsten Nicolai’s α (alpha) pulse, an audio-visual installation commissioned by Art Basel, will light up the façade of the International Commerce Centre (ICC), an iconic 490-meter-high skyscraper. From 8:30pm to 9:20pm a pulsating light pattern will be projected onto the building, symbolically sending “its pulses into the city, reaching out to Hong Kong residents and visitors.” A complementary mobile app, also designed by Nicolai, provides audio and allows for audience participation. The fair recommends that viewers watch α (alpha) pulse from Tamar Park, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park, or the terrace on Podium 3 and 4 of the IFC Mall.

Explore Art Basel in Hong Kong 2014 on Artsy.

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