From Fine Art Asia to a new video art festival and three auction houses vying for attention, it was a busy weekend in Hong Kong. Here’s a short recap of the bubbling fair activities that took place.
TEXT: CoBo Editorial Force
IMAGES: Courtesy various
With all the attention on Hong Kong’s mega-fair, Art Basel Hong Kong, which takes place in the springtime, the buzz of the city’s autumn art season is often easily overlooked. Not to mention the attractive draw of Frieze week in London holding the attention of the international art world. Nonetheless, Hong Kong’s long weekend was nothing short of exciting auction news (more on that in another article) and fairs catering to the finer tastes in life.
It all started with the leading international fine art and antiquities fair, Fine Art Asia, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. From Tibetan antiquities and Egyptian treasures to Chinese imperial porcelain and furniture and much more, the fair offered just about enough to cover the entire cultural history of the world—just about. Jewels and antiquities often go hand-in-hand so certainly the fair did not disappoint. Bespoke pearls and coloured diamonds shone brightly from various booths including newcomer Yvel, an Israeli jewellery and luxury brand. Modern and contemporary art also have their place at Fine Art Asia. The likes of David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Francis Bacon and more could be spotted alongside Taiwanese artists Ju Ming and Yeh Shih-Chiang.
The most anticipated highlight of Fine Art Asia this year was perhaps the inaugural launch of The Masterpiece Pavilion, an offshoot created in partnership between Fine Art Asia and London’s Masterpiece Fair. While the Pavilion selections were smaller than hoped—partly due to the recent unrest in Hong Kong—those galleries who braved the trip to participate in the Pavilion offered a taste of European finesse.
Sharing the convention hall was Ink Asia—the first art fair dedicated to ink art—now in its fifth year. Celebrating ink as a diverse medium, Ink Asia’s exhibitors presented not only traditional ink on rice paper, but ink used in video, installations, mixed media forms and more. Among the highlights was a special tribute show for the late artist Irene Chou was organized by The Ink Society.
A little further south of the Hong Kong Island, a small and experimental video art fair, Flame HK, made its launch. Occupying four floors of boutique design hotel Ovolo Southside, the fair featured some 30 galleries from Hong Kong and Asia, hosted by Art Map in partnership with Art Formosa, a video art fair in Taiwan. A hotel art fair is nothing unusual these days—although the merits of using a hotel room for art is still highly debatable—it was certainly a fun experience. For the most part it introduced alternative means of displaying and viewing video and new media artworks, the success of which remains to be seen.
Speaking of hotel fairs, the twice-annual Asia Contemporary Art Show once again took place in the Conrad Hong Kong. Usually a crowded affair on its public days, the VIP night was largely affected last Friday from the gridlock that resulted from the uproar and political unrest that shook the city that night. Which brings us to our final point. Despite the city’s increasing social turmoil, now into it’s fourth month, the art world here persevered and continued to march forward with four fairs catering to a wide demography; from antiquity collectors to jewllery lovers and regular art enthusiasts. For those needing to uplift the mood shrouding our much-loved city, these fairs provided just that.