Fine Art Asia 2011: Antique dealer dominance barrier or boon for contemporary art sellers?

ASIAN CONTEMPORARY ART FAIRS HONG KONG ART MARKET

One hundred international dealers brought 5000 works of art with a total value of over HKD2 billion to the 2011 edition of Fine Art Asia. Art Radar was in attendance, gathering the reactions from galleries that brought Modern and contemporary art to the event.

Booth of US/Hong Kong gallery, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, at Fine Art Asia 2011. Image by Art Radar.

Booth of US/Hong Kong gallery, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, at Fine Art Asia 2011. Image by Art Radar.

Contemporary art section marginalised?

In the past, the emphasis of the fair has always been placed on antiques and vintage jewellery. It may come as no surprise then that there were divergent views regarding the inclusion of the contemporary and modern art section in the fair, with some galleries saying that the dominant presence of antique dealers brought serious collectors to the event, and thus to their booths, while others complained that the section was marginalised.

Fair timing means attendance low

Gallerists from booths within this section noted that foot traffic was generally poor, attributed by some to:

  • significant drops in the major stock indices around the world that occurred at the same time as the fair and which diminished investment or purchase sentiment;
  • the fact that the fair did not straddle a weekend, although it did coincide with the National Day holiday; and
  • a closing time of 7pm which meant that people heading to the fair straight after they finished work did not have sufficient time to browse the artwork on offer nor make serious enquiries about pieces they were interested in.
Booth of Hong Kong gallery, Galerie du Monde, at Fine Art Asia 2011. Image by Art Radar.

Booth of Hong Kong gallery, Galerie du Monde, at Fine Art Asia 2011. Image by Art Radar.

Local collectors, but new art areas

Of the galleries that had made sales, buyers were said to be from Hong Kong or China, with a number of those collectors coming from new art locations such as Aberdeen. Local galleries, those from Hong Kong, tended to be long term supporters of the fair and knew the fair founder and director, Andy Hei, well. They claimed to have made both sales and useful contacts. This was in stark contrast to the results reported by international galleries who, apart from the seasoned spaces who had managed to successfully gauge local tastes, were generally disappointed, with most saying they would not be participating in the 2012 edition of the event.

Click here to visit the website for Fine Art Asia 2011 and here to view a list of participating galleries.

Booth of Hong Kong gallery, Grotto Fine Art, at Fine Art Asia 2011.

Booth of Hong Kong gallery, Grotto Fine Art, at Fine Art Asia 2011. Image by Art Radar.

About Fine Art Asia 2011

The seventh edition of Fine Art Asia took place in Hong Kong from 3 to 7 October 2011 and was organised by Art and Antique International Fair Limited (AAIF). The fair hosted an “array of museum-quality exhibits rang[ing] from ancient Chinese bronzes and stone wares, Himalayan bronzes, Chinese ceramics and works of art, furniture, textiles and jades, to fine art jewellery, antique silver and exceptional Old Masters, Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary paintings and sculpture from both Asia and the West.” Highlights of the event included “Project Discovery”, a special contemporary art exhibition, which featured “solo exhibitions by a group of selected emerging Asian artists”, and “VISION”, a booth which was donated to the Hong Kong Cancer Fund and showcased “the work of a new generation of twenty contemporary Hong Kong artists.”

DCh/KN/HH

Related Topics: art fairs in Asia, Hong Kong art happenings

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more on art fairs in Hong Kong, China and beyond


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.