My Highlights From Art Basel in Hong Kong

Yana Peel
May 20, 2013 2:55PM

My main selection is anchored in artists who have had meaningful dialogues with Hong Kong, either as represented by the selected works or in their broader practice.

Ming Wong's Hong Kong Diary has particular resonance, as it was shot over several days as part of a memorable "wedding" project that we initiated in 2011, with creative collaborators ranging from Hans Ulrich Obrist to Vitamin Creative Space. The Hong Kong Diary days culminated in an unforgettable Intelligence Squared debate on Ming Wong's 40th birthday, which saw the celebrated Singaporean performance artist disrobe to an audience of 1,000 to challenge the notion of whether “Art Must Be Beautiful”.

Adrian Wong is another artist with deep roots in Hong Kong, who has shown at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, as part of a memorable exhibition that writer and curator Phil Tinari curated before taking on the helm of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Adrian is a very talented artist who divides his time between Asia and America and who will be curating a highlight of Art Basel—the Artist's Bar Project, WUN DUN, which will feature "geriatric opera singers, bumbling bar staff, actors, choreographed dance sequences and the like..." at an unexpected venue two floors below the Fringe Club.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Ai Wei Wei are two artists of the region whose message has a boundless resonance. They are both participating in a group exhibition, curated by Cosmin Costinas and Inti Guerrero at Para/Site Art Space (which I co-chair): “A Journal of the Plague Year. Fear, ghosts, rebels. SARS, Leslie and the Hong Kong story.”  Already critically-celebrated, the show starts from the events that affected Hong Kong in the spring of 2003 and traces the different narratives and historical backgrounds, as well as the implications of these events in relation to the contemporary culture and politics of Hong Kong and the world.

Heman Chong is another such local artist with global reach, as evidenced by his acclaimed (and ongoing) project "Moderations" at the beloved Spring non-profit arts space. He is an artist, curator, and writer whose practice involves an investigation into the philosophies, reasons and methods of individuals and communities imagining the future.

Finally, Andy Warhol's dollar sign would be a great tribute to his visit to HK in 1982, with none other than Jeffrey Deitch as his guide. Thirty years on, after a major retrospective at the Hong Kong Museum of Art this year, the question that Andy asked and which Jeffrey plans to answer at the Intelligence Squared debate on May 24th rings as true as ever: “The Market Is the Best Judge of Art’s Value.” Or is it? You decide.

Adrian WongA Stain on the Stationer's Linoleum, 2012 - Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Ai Wei WeiRock, 2009-2011 - neugerriemschneider

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Sketch for Morakot - SCAI The Bathhouse

Heman Chong, The Printmaker and other stories, 2007 - Singapore Tyler Print Institute

Ming Wong, Hong Kong Diary, 2011 - carlier gebauer

Andy Warhol, Dollar Sign, 1981 - Dominique Levy Gallery     
Explore the fair in its entirety: Art Basel in Hong Kong on Artsy.
Yana Peel