With 104 galleries participating, it might be half the size of it’s pre-pandemic days but Art Basel Hong Kong is still giving us a hefty amount of art to trawl through. There are loads of group presentations this year, so even more artists whose names we try very hard to memorise. Here are five that caught our eyes.
TEXT: CoBo Editorial
IMAGES: Courtesy of various
John Young 10 Chancery Lane Gallery
While Frog King and the expected line-up of revered Chinese artists such as Huang Rui, Ma Desheng and Wang Keping are the stars of 10 Chancery Lane Gallery’s booth, it was the abstract paintings of Hong Kong-born Australian artist John Young that really got us looking.
Entitled Spectrumfigures, the abstract paintings by Young evolves from his repetitive process of downloading a thousand photographic images from the Internet daily and transforming them into abstract images with algorithms. The images are then chosen and caringly painted into intricate oil paintings. The result is a myriad of radiant “Human-Technology Friendship” paintings, as coined by Young, which produces a plurality of colours that allude to the reciprocity between the strength of technology and the viscerality of oil painting. He is also currently the subject of a solo exhibition at the gallery’s space in Central, well worth a look and on until the end of this month.
Elizabeth Glaessner P.P.O.W.
The amorphous non-representational paintings of American artist Elizabeth Glaessner lights up the booth of New York gallery P.P.O.W, posing questions about stereotypical behaviours and ideas of morality.
Brimming with primordial colours and ambivalent figures, her works are both unsettling and seductive due to their organic forms which spring from tonal and textural convergence. The depicted ambiguous beings and tricksters in various states of becoming and undoing are painted in oil, acrylic and pure pigments dispersed with water and various binders, which prompts viewers to immerse themselves into an unrestricted world of fluid identities, emotions and physicality.
After a successful solo exhibition at Flowers Gallery’s Hong Kong space in late 2020, Hong Kong multidisciplinary artist Movana Chen now brings her knitted sculptures and tapestry, drawings and a participatory performance to Art Basel Hong Kong. In her sculptural work, Chen knits together fragmented maps and dictionaries she acquired during her travels, thus creating a new communication code to connect people from around the world. The sculptures are also wearable at performances and invite viewers to interact with the newly manifested narratives. Other works on view are Chen’s large hanging tapestry Words of the heartbeat VI, knitted from shredded dictionaries and maps using materials the artist collecting while travelling at the beginning of 2020.
Recipient of the BMW Art Journey Prize last year and one of our selected up-and-coming artists to watch, Hong Kong artist Leelee Chan’s imaginative sculptures are showcased in a solo exhibition presented by Capsule Shanghai. Her works are comprised of overlooked dumpster detritus, household ephemera and mundane objects from her daily life. Chan transforms them into playful sculptures with natural and industrial elements such as mother of pearl tiles and seashells, artificial plants and greenery, which evoke a sense of Modernist architecture and anthropomorphic shapes with a touch of poetic intimacy.
Greg Ito Anat Ebgim
Discoveries Sector | Booth 1C37
In the Discoveries Sector, which highlights compelling solo projects and curated exhibitions, the five-panel polyptych Paradise (2021) by Los Angeles-based artist Greg Ito, presented by Los Angeles gallery Anat Ebgi, is sure to turn heads..
While the solo installation “The Arrival of Spring” acknowledges the birth of Ito’s daughter Spring, the landscape framed by a continuous row of windowpanes also narrates a city, his hometown Los Angeles in particular, engulfed in flames that aptly refers to the turbulent times he has experienced during the pandemic. In contrast to the blazing fires and destruction that sets the major narrative of the work, the forefront blooms in vitality and tranforms the fire into a symbol of rebirth.