Now that most major restrictions have been lifted, Art Basel Hong Kong is finally back in full form. David Ho looks at what to expect at the event
Taking place from March 23 to 25 (with previews starting two days before), the 2023 edition will see 177 galleries from 32 countries and territories present artworks across two storeys at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Out of these, there will be 22 first-time exhibitors from across the world, including mainland China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
All of the event’s special sectors will be back, namely: Encounters, Conversations, Film, and Kabinett.
Art Basel HK regulars will be thrilled to hear that the Encounters section is back after a three-year hiatus. It consists of 13 large-scale works interspersed throughout the fair under the theme “This present, moment”.
“After an extended period apart, the opportunity to activate Encounters feels especially important. Every project in this year’s sector considers in some way how we can hold space – how we might be present – individually and collectively in the singularity and precarity of this moment,’ says Alexie Glass-Kantor, the executive director of Artspace Australia. She will be curating this section for the sixth time this year.
This year’s Encounters highlights two Hong Kong artists: Trevor Yeung and Jaffa Lam.
Presented by Blindspot Gallery, Yeung’s botanically inspired creations are intended to “articulate the complexities of human emotion and relationships.”
Meanwhile, Lam’s Trolley Party brings 14 meters of patchwork made from recycled and found everyday fabrics and emerging from six chairs made of industrial trollies. His works are presented by Axel Vervoordt Gallery with Zilberman Gallery.
See the full list of artists and galleries presenting in Encounters here.
The Conversations section will also leave art lovers with plenty to talk about.
Taking place across four days from March 22 to 25, it will feature more than 85 speakers engaging in dynamic dialogue that are free and open to the public.
A set of three talks will take place ahead of the fair. The first is a group session on humour and critique with meme-makers Jerry Gogosian, Freeze Magazine, and The White Pube.
There will also be a report on the future of crypto economies hosted in collaboration with Art Dubai’s Global Art Forum, moderated by Shumon Basar. Finally, there is a talk in collaboration with the School of Modern Languages, University of Hong Kong exploring the influence of architecture in the work of Stanley Wong.
There are plenty of other talks worth dropping in for during the days that Art Basel is on.
Further details will be announced closer to the fair.
Film producer Li Zhenhua will curate most of the Film programme’s offerings. There will be a total of eight screenings and 29 video works by artists from around the world, including Mónica de Miranda, Angela Su, Tromarama, and Shen Xin, among others.
Two non-profit organizations that focus on regional video art – Videotage and Ghost 2565 – will each curate a screening.
The Film programme will kick off on March 22 at Theatre II, HKCEC with a special screening of Memoria by Palme-D’or-winning director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, starring Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton.
Set in Colombia, Memoria marks Weerasethakul’s first feature made outside Thailand.
Ghost 2565 will present Weerasethakul’s contemporary art practice in the form of a short film on March 25 at Louis Koo Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre. The venue is where the remainder of the short film programme will be screened.
Other short film program highlights include Runaway Girls by Inci Eviner, which explores the dreams and fears of girls who have either chosen to run away or were forced to leave their communities, presented by Dirimart.
Another would be 45th Parallel, a recent work by Lawrence Abu Hamdan that investigates the history and mythology of the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, presented by mor charpentier.
More details to come.
Kabinett is for thematic solo presentations within the main booths of galleries. Promising a strong focus on Asia, 15 galleries will participate in this sector.
Galerie du Monde presents the late Hong Kong ink artist Wesley Tongson’s journey artistic through his splash ink and monumental landscape paintings created with his hands, fingers, and nails.
Presented by ROH Projects, Indonesian artist Agus Suwage brings SiramanDuniawi. It explores multiple notions of identity from the perspective of ancient Hindu-Buddhist culture.
Check the full list of artists and galleries taking part in Kabinett here.
“Hand Me Your Trust” at M+
Commissioned by M+ and supported by Art Basel and UBS, Hand Me Your Trust is a brand-new site-specific moving image work by Pipilotti Rist for the M+ Facade. The facade is set along Victoria Harbour, with Hong Kong’s iconic skyline as the backdrop.
Rist’s vivid colour palettes and freeform camera work takes on not only Hong Kong’s design and architecture heritage, but also the individual hands that sculpted, placed, and forged these ubiquitous forms into being.
The work will be shown on M+ Facade daily from 7 to 9 pm from March 18 to May 21 and every Saturday and Sunday from 7 to 9 pm from 22 May to 17 June 2023.
Also see: A safe harbour for art