Not ready for the frenetic pace of IRL art fairs again? We hear you. To make your visit just that little bit easier, we rounded up the booths and presentations we think is worth the stop.
TEXT: CoBo Editorial
IMAGES: Courtesy of various
The long-anticipated Art Basel Hong Kong returns this May after it’s cancellation in 2020 and a further postponement from its usual March spot on the global art calendar. Putting anxieties to rest (“Will it happen?” was no doubt the number one most asked question in recent months), the fair returns to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre with 104 participating galleries hailing from 23 countries, of which includes those that are exhibiting as satellite booths (aka ghost booths). Although smaller in scale and definitely with an inevitable shift in momentum, we are still excited to return to the hustle of traversing hundreds of works of art and we hope you are too. Meanwhile, take a look at the homework we have done.
Lehmann Maupin Booth 1D29
Leading international gallery Lehmann Maupin, with spaces in Seoul, London, New York, and a new seasonal exhibition space soon to open in Taipei, debuts a selection of never-before-seen works by artists Lari Pittman, McArthur Binion, and Lee Bul, alongside a showcase of signature works by Shirazeh Houshiary, Ashley Bickerton, Tony Oursler, Angel Otero, OSGEMEOS, Helen Pashgian, Mary Corse, Do Ho Suh, and Cecilia Vicuña at Art Basel Hong Kong this year. At the heart of the presentation is South Korean artist Lee Bul’s stainless sculpture Study for Light Tower (2019) from her Aubade series, which weaves historical narrative with utopian ideals and surreal, futuristic forms. Works from the series were previously showcased at the 58th Venice Biennale and the 2021 Gwangju Biennale. Among other highlights is McArthur Binion’s new minimalistic painting Modern:Ancient:Brown (2021) portraying a carefully-constructed grid composition, combining collage, drawing, and painting to create minimalistic patterns over an “under conscious” of the artist’s personal documents and photographs—in this case the address book Binion kept from the 1970s to 1990s while living in New York.
Axel Vervoordt Gallery Insights Sector | Booth 1D47
A much-anticipated presentation, Axel Vervoordt Gallery showcases the site-specific installation Encounter – A Mirror Woman (2017–19) by South Korean artist Kimsooja in Art Basel Hong Kong’s Insights Sector. Taking as its departure point French philosopher Michel Foucault’s influential concept of heterotopia, the installation combines mirror floor surface, mirror walls, and a folded mirror screen that echo notions of reciprocity and dualism through its layering of multiple spatial dimensions. Completely enclosed by mirrors, the booth is framed within, the installation invites viewers to a new spatial experience.
Commonwealth and Council Level 1 | Booth 1D42
Based in Koreatown, Los Angeles, Commonwealth and Council joins Art Basel Hong Kong this year as a satellite booth, so while we will surely miss having the chance to chat away with them, the selection of art being showcased definitely won’t disappoint. Through their gallery programme, Commonwealth and Council celebrates the manifold identities and experiences through the shared dialogue of art that champions practices by women, queer, POC, and its ally artists to reflect individual and collective realities. In Art Basel Hong Kong 2021, the gallery is showcasing works by Kang Seung Lee and Carrie Yamaoka, creating a shared dialogue between Lee’s graphite redrawings of photogrpahs and Yamaoka’s cast resin paintings that speak to a queer historicity surrounding the legacy of AIDS—bringing to the surface artists’ and activists’ complicated experiences of illness, loss, and resistance.
The Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong presents ITALIANS, a collective booth showcasing 8 leading Italian galleries, curated by the Italian art historian and curator Fabio Cavallucci.
A celebration of Italian art and artists, the presentation showcases an extensive breadth of work—spanning from eminent figures from the 20th century such as Giorgio Morandi and Lucio Fontana; and Arte Povera masters Michelangelo Pistoletto, Giulio Paolini and Giovanni Anselmo; all through to Transavanguardia represent Nicola De Maria; and celebrated contemporary artists Paola Pivi and Francesco Vezzoli, among others. ITALIANS is at once a historical overview of modern and contemporary Italian art as well as an exemplification of characteristics of the Italian style.
Participating galleries are: Alfonso Artiaco, Cardi Gallery, Galleria Continua, MASSIMODECARLO, Galleria Maggiore g.a.m, Mazzoleni, Galleria Franco Noero, and Rossi & Rossi.
Rossi & Rossi /SILVERLENS Booth 1C18
With a mutal focus on art from the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong and London-based Rossi & Rossi and Filipino gallery SILVERLENS joins forces to showcase a stellar line-up of artists including Siah Armajani, Norste, Naiza Khan, Tenzing Rigdol, Mit Jai Inn, Nicole Coson, Gary-Ross Pastrana and Pio Abad.
Particularly worthy of attention, Iranian artist Siah Amajani materialises American vernacular architecture in prints, encapsulting how mundane structures of spaces can monumentalise gathering places, while coinciding with times we are expericing under a pandemic, Tibetan artist Nortse’s paintings were made in response to the personal losses of the artist and the collective adaptation to the impacts of modernisation.
David Zwirner Booth 1C19
Belgian-born New York-based artist Harold Ancart is the major highlight of mega-gallery David Zwirner’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong which also feature pieces by other artists including as Josef Albers, Thomas Ruff, Wolfgang Tillmans, Luc Tuymans, and Liu Ye among others.
Ancart works across a variety of media, including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography and sculpture, and portrays subjects that organically invite contemplation, such as architectural forms, flowers, horizons, clouds and flames. At Art Basel Hong Kong a suite of works depicting seascapes will be on view. Ancart’s seascape series, which he began in early 2020, dissects the painting from a figurative whole into abstract parts, in which the artist segments the composition with a stark horizon line, dividing sky and ocean, evoking a sense of serenity.