Hong Kong art fair ART HK 12: Top contemporary art walk tips for new collectors


Art Radar takes a stroll through ART HK 12 with the TimeOut Hong Kong and Para/Site, the organisers of two fair tours that each tackled the event from a different angle. We share with you some of the tips on buying and appreciating art that we gleaned.

Jaume Plensa, 'Marianna's World II', 'Ines's World I' and 'Chloe's World II', 2011, marble, 177 x 61 x 66 cm. Image courtesy Richard Gray Gallery.

For new collectors seeking Asian art

The first tour Art Radar tagged along on was the TimeOut Hong Kongorganised New to Buying Art Tour, which was conducted by the magazine’s managing director Desiree Au who, as an art lover and art collector, shared her passion for art and buying it.

Au guided an audience of twenty, mostly Hong Kong-based, visitors through the tight alleys of Hall 3, a space in which most of the new galleries presenting more affordable emerging artists to first-time buyers were located. In this section, particular emphasis was placed on “an interesting collection of works for under USD7,000 from galleries participating in the ART FUTURES and ASIA ONE sections of ART HK 12.”

Stops included local Hong Kong galleries like Amelia Johnson, Sin Sin Fine Art and Edouard Malingue, art spaces that Au knows and visits on a regular basis, or those that focus on Asian art like TIVAC (Taiwan International Visual Arts Centre) and the Sovereign Art Foundation.

Her tour focused on buying art and giving advice to soon-to-be collectors. She stressed the importance of

  • conducting research on artists and galleries.
  • visiting galleries on a regular basis.
  • getting onto gallery mailing lists so as to receive their latest news.

The tour also provided tips on how to negotiate when buying art. According to Au, requesting a ten percent discount on the price of a purchase is common practice at ART HK, and the most daring of buyers may even try to shave off twenty percent.

One tour participant, who has been attending ART HK for the past four years, was seriously considering buying art at the fair. The potential collector enjoyed Au’s selection because she was seeking an “Asian element” in either artist, work or gallery.

Yi Hwan-Kwon, 'A wandering man (ed.1/3)', 2012, FRP mixed material, 29.5 x 36 x 279,3 cm. Image courtesy Ganart Gallery.

How to look at art fair artwork

Para/Site, one of Hong Kong’s longest running non-profit art spaces, have been conducting fair tours at ART HK for the past four years. In 2012, the art walks, aimed at providing an insight into how to look at the art works on display, took place in Hall 1 where the most established galleries were exhibiting work by blue-chip Asian and international artists.

Hoping to attract a wide audience and make the art on show accessible to as many fair visitors as possible, Para/Site conducted their tours in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. As stated by artist and volunteer tour guide JC Jessie,

Seventy percent of the participants to the tour are from Hong Kong, twenty percent from China and ten percent from other Asian countries. Most of them do not know where to start. The art walks provide them with an introduction to the fair. Some collectors attend the art walk as well and get introduced to the galleries thanks to Para/Site…, but we do not take any commissions. The young generation of Chinese have a growing interest in collecting art and are eager to learn about art.

Jung Hai-Yun, 'Relation', 2012, Oriental water colour on silk mulberry paper, 144 x 182 cm. Image courtesy Ganart Gallery.

Para/Site provided each docent with a list of galleries to visit and art works to focus on; the tour covered Asian and international artists such as Yi Hwan-Kwon at Gana Art GalleryTakashi Murakami at Emmanuel Perrotin and Jaume Plensa at Richard Gray Gallery. Over the hour, ten stops were made and at each, participants were invited to describe an art piece and give their interpretation, after which the tour leader would talk about the artist and the artwork.

Some of the participants revealed to Art Radar that they were taking the tour because they were considering buying art and were eager to gain more knowledge before entering the collectors’ world.


 Do you want to talk to some of the world’s most influential galleries at international contemporary art events? Click here to express your interest in our online art journalism certificate programme. Summer intake application deadline: 4 June 2012.

Click here to read our rolling media round-up of ART HK 12 articles

Click here to read our coverage of ART HK 12

Related Topics: art fairsart in Hong Kong, art education

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