Waterfront wonder: highlights from Art Basel Hong Kong 2016

 Installation view at Galerie Perrotin
Avoid the art-fair hustle and bustle with our shortlisted best bits from Hong Kong Art Basel 2016. Pictured: installation view at Galerie Perrotin. Copyright Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. Courtesy the artists and Galerie Perrotin
(Image credit: JJYPHOTO)

As the art world descended on Hong Kong for five days of Art Basel and the dizzying collection of satellite shows that piggyback on the main event, the art market held its breath wondering if the region’s economic slowdown would translate into fewer sales compared to last year’s spree.

Serious art lovers, however, obviously found moments of inspiration – particularly at the top end of the spectrum, thanks to ambitious works by the likes of Michaël Borremans at David Zwirner (all five of his paintings sold on day one to Asian collectors) and Iranian artist Shirazeh Houshiary’s abstract Raintree etchings at Singapore Tyler Print Institute.

Elsewhere, the middle market galleries, whose works were decidedly less glitzy than last year, found the going a little more challenging. Despite this, there were gems to be found, including South Korean artist Ham Kyungah’s statement-making Chandeliers for Five Cities, a collection of tapestries secretly created by North Korean textile workers.

Gallerist Pearl Lam put on a good show, with an extravagant collection of mixed media including Self-Portrait with Red by Antony Micallef; as did Pace Beijing with a mesmerising digital video work by teamLab, and KaiKai Kiki’s works by Aya Takano and Mr.

As in previous years, however, some of the most innovative cultural offerings were to be found outside of the main fair. Must-sees include the surreal film installation Duilian at Spring Workshop by the artist Wu Tsang, based on her decade-long research into a Han Chinese revolutionary beheaded by the Qing government in 1907; and art hub Duddells' collaboration with the Dallas Museum of Art, presenting emerging artist Margaret Lee’s works.

Meanwhile, Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima’s monumental Time Waterfall façade light installation did battle with the heavy rain clouds that shrouded the International Commerce Centre at Kowloon Station, while on the same side of the harbour, British artist Conrad Shawcross’ mathematics-inspired robotic light sculpture entranced guests at The Peninsula hotel. Across town, Los Angeles artist Larry Bell transformed Pacific Place mall with three enormous reflective glass cubes.

Art Central's Stiff & Trevillion-designed waterfront tent was also well worth a detour, with Elaine Yan Ling Ng’s beguiling Sundew installation for Swarovski; Hong Kong gallery Sin Sin’s extraordinary Growth drawing of roots by Indonesian artist Dwi Setianto; and Sundaram Tagore Gallery’s collection of tactile works by Jane Lee. We were also particularly taken with New Zealand gallery PAULNACHE’s architectural installation Wall Hang; and The Cat Street Gallery’s playful lacquer carvings by Shanghainese artist Jacky Tsai.

With so much happening across the city, it came as no surprise that Art Basel has announced its intention to expand its focus from art fairs to help a selection of global locations (yet to be announced) to develop their cultural landscapes.

Sirtaki by Michaël Borremans, 2016

The high-end art-spectrum was headed up by the likes of Michaël Borremans at David Zwirner. All five of his paintings sold on day one. Pictured: Sirtaki, by Michaël Borremans, 2016. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York/London

(Image credit: TBC)

The River is Within Us 6/B, and The River is Within Us 2/B

Singapore’s STPI gallery featured Iranian artist Shirazeh Houshiary’s abstract Raintree etchings. Pictured: The River is Within Us 6/B, and The River is Within Us 2/B, by Shirazeh Houshiary, 2015

(Image credit: TBC)

Chandeliers for Five Cities

There were gems to be found in the smaller galleries, including South Korean artist Ham Kyungah’s statement-making Chandeliers for Five Cities (pictured)

(Image credit: TBC)

Gallerist Pearl Lam put on a good show with an extravagant collection of mixed media including Self-Portrait with Red

Gallerist Pearl Lam put on a good show with an extravagant collection of mixed media including Self-Portrait with Red, by Antony Micallef, 2015 (pictured)

(Image credit: TBC)

Pace Beijing excelled with this mesmerising digital video work by teamLab.

Pace Beijing excelled with this mesmerising digital video work by teamLab. Pictured: Black Waves, by teamLab, 2016

(Image credit: TBC)

Takashi murakami time bokan art

Kaikai Kiki also presented a well-curated offering of works by Takashi Murakami, Aya Takano and Mr. Pictured: Time Bokan, by Takashi Murakami, 2001. Copyright the artist and Kaikai Kiki Co. Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo

(Image credit: TBC)

Must-see satellite exhibitions include the surreal film installation

Must-see satellite exhibitions include the surreal film installation Duilian (pictured) at Spring Workshop by the artist Wu Tsang

(Image credit: TBC)

Beyond the Canvas and Portrait

Singaporean artist Jane Lee challenged what makes a painting by using textile, canvas and mixed media. Pictured: Beyond the Canvas and Portrait #14, by Jane Lee, 2016. Courtesy of Sundaram Tagore Gallery

(Image credit: TBC)

Time Waterfall façade light installation

Tatsuo Miyajima’s monumental Time Waterfall façade light installation did battle with the heavy rain clouds that shrouded the International Commerce Centre at Kowloon Station

(Image credit: TBC)

Mathematics-inspired robotic light sculpture

British artist Conrad Shawcross’ mathematics-inspired robotic light sculpture, The ADA Project (pictured) entranced guests at The Peninsula hotel

(Image credit: TBC)

Pacific Place mall with three enormous reflective glass cubes, and The Upper House with an array of Light Knots

Across town, Los Angeles artist Larry Bell transformed Pacific Place mall with three enormous reflective glass cubes, and The Upper House with an array of Light Knots. Pictured left: Larry Bell with Pacific Red. Right: Light Knots, by Larry Bell

(Image credit: TBC)

Hanging Banana and Two Limes,

Stalwart art hub Duddells collaborated with the Dallas Museum of Art, presenting a range of works by the up-and-coming artist Margaret Lee. Pictured: Hanging Banana and Two Limes, by Margaret Lee, 2013. Courtesy the artist and Jack Hanley

(Image credit: TBC)

Margaret Lee W.D.U.T.U.R art

In her latest works, Margaret Lee continued her trademark of playful conceptual interferences into functionality. Pictured: W.D.U.T.U.R #5 and W.D.U.T.U.R #2, by Margaret Lee, 2016. Courtesy of the artist, Jack Hanley Gallery and Misako and Rosen

(Image credit: TBC)

Painting’s Back, by Peter Adsett

We were also particularly taken with New Zealand gallery PAULNACHE’s offering. Pictured: Painting’s Back, by Peter Adsett, 2016

(Image credit: Tom Teutenberg)

Installation view of Victoria Miro gallery’s offering

Installation view of Victoria Miro gallery’s offering

(Image credit: TBC)

Art Basel plans to expand its focus from art fairs to help a selection of cities develop their cultural landscapes

Next, Art Basel plans to expand its focus from art fairs to help a selection of cities develop their cultural landscapes. Pictured: Sentence, by Elmgreen & Dragset, 2016. Courtesy Victoria Miro

(Image credit: TBC)

INFORMATION

Art Basel Hong Kong 2016 is on view until 26 March. For more information, visit the Art Basel website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
1 Harbour Road
Wan Chai
Hong Kong

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