01 Poster of Hong Kong International Art Fair(Art HK) 2012

Featuring works by artists from Picasso to Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei and cementing the city’s status as a global art hub, Hong Kong International Art Fair(Art HK) opens on May 17th at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). A night preview on May 16th drew thousands of VIPs who had first pick of works including Ai’s “Cong”, a chilling installation about child deaths in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, a Sherrie Levine cast bronze called “Dada”, and a fresh-off-the-easel 2012 portrait in oil of Lady Gaga by Yan Pei-Ming.

Now in its fifth year, ART HK 12 has achieved global significance in the international art scene attracting a rich mix of audience from both the West and East, and has cemented itself as a firm fixture on the global art circuit. Hong Kong is unparalleled as a location for a major destination art fair in the region, and ART HK has built a solid reputation for its outstanding quality and extraordinary variety showcasing the best international galleries alongside emerging artists and galleries from across Asia and the globe.

Speaking at the opening, Magnus Renfrew, Fair Director said, “We are delighted once again to welcome such a high calibre of art from around the world to ART HK 12. It’s extremely exciting to see the Fair progress with the support of Deutsche Bank and it’s hugely promising that in its fifth year it continues to attract new participating galleries. Asia is now clearly center stage”.

Asia’s art boom has also caught the eye of the world’s biggest art fair franchise, Art Basel, which bought a controlling stake in Art HK a year ago. The Hong Kong fair’s 2013 edition will be held under the Art Basel banner. Meanwhile a new art fair devoted to “affordable” contemporary art will be held in Hong Kong next year, organizers said Wednesday, confirming the city’s new status as a hot ticket on the art scene. The fair is being put together by Affordable Art China, a company which has organized a similar event in Beijing since 2006 and is opening a new franchise in Shanghai later this year.

Chief executive Tom Pattinson said the new fair offered a chance for smaller galleries and emerging artists to showcase their work in the booming art market of Hong Kong, now third only to New York and London in terms of art auctions. “The success of the events in mainland China has demonstrated the demand for accessible contemporary fine art in the region and Hong Kong is now a major focus for us as we launch our first event in this territory,” he said.

Friedhelm Hütte, Global Head of Art, Corporate Citizenship for Deutsche Bank commented, “The arts are a key cornerstone of Deutsche Bank’s social responsibility program. We look forward to seeing the very best in both Eastern and Western contemporary art come together at this year’s ART HK, and building on our ongoing partnership with Asia’s leading art fair”.

Over the next four days, the 2012 Fair is the platform for cutting-edge contemporary art, privileged networking, panel discussions and a string of glamorous parties running across the city as Hong Kong goes ‘art crazy’.

Highlights of ART HK 12

In addition to the three gallery sections at ART HK 12, the Fair presents ART HK Projects, which debuted in 2011. This exciting and pioneering element of the Fair incorporates ten installation works positioned in 100 metre squared spaces throughout the exhibition halls. Curated for the first time by Yuko Hasegawa, Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, selected projects include Flowers that Bloom at Midnight, an installation of Yayoi Kusama’s distinctive large scale sculptures presented by Gagosian Gallery. SCAI THE BATHHOUSE from Tokyo and Lisson Gallery from London presents Tatsuo Miyajima with HOTO, 2008, a 6 metre high silver-mirrored tower with 3,287 LED digital counters over its surface. Furthermore, Pace from Beijing brings Black Hole, 2010, by Chinese artist Yin Xiuzhen, a work which is a used shipping container re-configured and enhanced with neon lights as a signature round cut diamond.

ART HK 12’s Galleries Section features 182 leading galleries from 30 different countries, offering outstanding solo and group presentations from around the world. Solo presentations include a series of work by Alghiero Boetti, which is exhibited by Tornabuoni Art from Paris. Lin & Lin Gallery from Taipei presents internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Liu Wei. Nature Morte from New Delhi show new works by Indian artist Jitish Kallat. New gallery additions include Casa Triângulo from Sao Paulo, presenting work by Brazilian artist Sandra Cinto and Cape Town’s Stevenson Gallery with works by South African photographer Guy Tillim. Further solo presentations include STARKWHITE from Auckland, presenting a solo show by Chinese artist Jin Jiangbo, AANDO FINE ART from Berlin with works by Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa, Nadi Gallery from Indonesia with Indonesian artist Handiwirman Saputra, Rhona Hoffman from Chicago presenting work by Fred Sandback and New York’s McCaffrey Fine Art with both installations and works on paper by Japanese artist Noriyuki Haraguchi. Shanghai-born painters Yu Youhan and Zhou Gang are shown in solo exhibitions by ShanghART Gallery from Shanghai, and Galerie Christian Nagel Köln from Cologne, respectively. Amelia Johnson Contemporary from Hong Kong presents site-specific works for the Fair by Australian artist Sally Smart.

ART HK 12 is also delighted to see the return of ASIA ONE, a section which was introduced to the Fair in 2011, and which this year is integrated further into the Fair, set alongside other prestigious galleries from Asia and the West. Dedicated to showcasing the latest developments in contemporary art from across Asia, this year the section shows 49 galleries from the region, each exhibiting a solo presentation by an artist of Asian origin. ASIA ONE offers an international platform to Asian artists and their galleries and provides a unique opportunity for visitors to experience a diverse view of the Asian art scene.

Following the success of the section at ART HK 11, ASIA ONE this year features dynamic presentations by both emerging and established artists. Extending from the Middle East to Australasia, galleries participating in this vibrant element of the Fair come from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, Turkey and the UAE. Etemad Gallery from Tehran presents Iranian artist Mahmoud Bakhshi, with Rest in Peace, 2012, a sculptural installation developed specifically for the Fair formed as 16 coffins draped in the Iranian flag. YAVUZ FINE ART, from Singapore, brings to the Fair internationally acclaimed Thai artist Navin Rawanchaikul, Gajah Gallery presents leading Indonesian artist Nyoman Masriadi, and JIA ART GALLERY from Taiwan brings abstract works by Taiwan-based Richard Lin. Hong Kong’s Blindspot Gallery presents works by Chinese contemporary photographer Pengyi Jiang, while Richard Koh Fine Art, Singapore, and MORI YU, Kyoto, both showcase works from young and dynamic collectives local to their spaces, Vertical Submarine and Paramodel respectively. Additional galleries participating in ASIA ONE this year include Nellie Castan Gallery from Melbourne, Sullivan+Strumpf from Sydney, Galerie Ora-Ora and Sin Sin Fine Art from Hong Kong, Y++/ Wada Fine Arts from Beijing, Pi Artworks from Istanbul and Gallery Espace from New Delhi.

The Fair furthermore sees the development of ART FUTURES, showcasing works by emerging artists represented by 35 of the world’s most exciting new galleries. Galleries of up to eight years old and artists under 35 at the time of application were invited to participate. Once again the ART FUTURES cash prize – totaling US$25,000 – will be awarded to one of the featured artists, selected by an expert panel of judges including Lars Nittve, Executive Director of M+, the contemporary art museum in Hong Kong’s soon-to-be launched West Kowloon Cultural District; Elaine Ng, Editor and Publisher of ArtAsiaPacific Magazine; Okwui Enwezor, Nigerian-born American curator, art critic, writer, poet and educator, and specializing in art history.

Highlights of ART FUTURES at ART 12 include installations by Juree Kim presented by Gallery EM, Seoul, which are clay houses progressively disintegrating as water is poured over them. New galleries participating in the section this year include Green Art Gallery from Dubai, bringing Kamrooz Aram to the Fair, London’s Herald St Gallery presenting Hong Kong born artist Cary Kwok and Melbourne’s Anna Pappas Gallery with work by Australian artist Michaela Gleave to include a new large scale sculpture, We Are Made of Stardust, 2011. Saamlung Gallery, which opened a space in the centre of Hong Kong in October 2011, is another new addition to the Fair and presents local artist Nadim Abbas, whose 18-metre ‘coral corridor’ installation entitled Marine Lover drew great acclaim for the young artist at ART HK 11. Further new additions include Simon Preston from New York, bringing works by Kara Tanaka, and AIKE-DELLARCO from Shanghai, presenting a showcase by Hong Kong artist Lee Kit.

ART HK 12 will see the very first Private Museum Panel, in partnership with Vertu – a salon-style discussion open to the public in which owners and directors of museums across the Asia Pacific region, both from the private and public sectors, will discuss current developments in the museum scene. Focused on the subject of private and public museums across Asia, the Panel, which is free to attend on 17 May, welcomes six speakers from across Asia to share their experience and knowledge with the public. Speakers are: Wang Huangsheng, Director of CAFA Gallery, Beijing, and former Director of Guangdong Museum of Art; Li Bing, owner of Beijing He Jing Yuan Art Museum; Dr Oei Hong Djin, owner of OHD Museum, near Borobudur a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist monument in Magelang, Indonesia; Kian Chow Kwok, Senior Advisor to the National Art Gallery, Singapore; Wang Wei, collector and owner of the Dragon Art Museum, Shanghai, due to open November 2012; and Lars Nittve, former Director of Tate Modern, London, and Executive Director of M+, a major museum of Contemporary Art being developed in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong.

In addition, ART HK’s official education partner, Asia Art Archive, once again presents ‘Backroom Conversations’, inviting an impressive line-up of international experts and practitioners in the field of contemporary art to participate in engaging discussions about key issues affecting the art world in both regional and global contexts.

A number of participating galleries also presented special gallery shows to coincide with their presence at the Fair. These include White Cube’s solo exhibition by Anselm Kiefer, Simon Lee Gallery’s exhibition by Sherrie Levine and Gagosian Gallery’s exhibition by Andreas Gursky.

Date: 17 May – 20 May 2012

Related Reports

1. Art HK opens its fifth year confirming the fair’s status as Asia’s premier art fair by artdaily.org

2. Spotlight on Asian Art as Hong Kong Fair Opens by Agence France Presse

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