Chinese Artists at 2013 Art Basel Hong Kong

May 29, 2013 10:13PM

By Chiu-Ti Jansen

Contemporary artists were the first global jetsetters in China, way before international travels became a vogue in their country. Given their constant travel schedules, these days it is rare to see a dozen of established artists gather in the same room in China. On May 22, the day of VIP preview for the 2013 Art Basel Hong Kong, Artsy threw a dinner party at the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre that drew Kate Moss and many Hong Kong high society notables. Artsy is an online platform that deploys an “art genome” technology to connect prospective buyers to artworks based on their personal taste, boasting a roster of luminary investors that included Wendi Murdoch, Dasha Zhukova and Larry Gagosian.

I enjoyed seeing Kate Moss, but the main draw of the event for me was the congregation of many bold-faced names from the Chinese art world: Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Xiaogang, Li Songsong, Yan Pei-Ming, Zhou Chunya, Ye Yongqing . . . .

The presence of these artists is also felt at the fair. For instance, Gagosian Gallery is showing Zeng Fanzhi’s recent work To Be Titled (2013), with dramatic brushwork depicting overgrown web-like grass reaching the red-yellow sky that simulates the colors of China’s national flag.

During the VIP preview, I got to chat with Zhang Xiaogang. Zhang’s latest paintings and new sculptural works were prominently displayed at Pace’s booth. After the fair opened to the public, he spoke at a fair-sponsored ancillary event called “Conversation: The Artist and the Gallerist” with Pace Beijing President Leng Lin.  He told me that his primary objective of this trip was to “see the fair.”
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Chiu-Ti Jansen is the founder of 
China Happeningsa multimedia and advisory platform that focuses on the lifestyle and cultural industries of contemporary China. Follow her on Twitter at @chiutijansen.