Art Basel Hong Kong announces first Film sector

Art Basel Hong Kong has released details of its 2014 edition, which will include a new sector dedicated to film.

Scheduled to be held from 15 May to 18 May 2014 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Art Basel Hong Kong’s second edition will feature 245 premier galleries from 39 countries. For the first time, the fair will also include a Film sector.

General view of Art Basel Hong Kong 2013, MCH Messe Schweiz (Basel) AG. Image courtesy Art Basel.

General view of Art Basel Hong Kong 2013, MCH Messe Schweiz (Basel) AG. Image courtesy Art Basel.

Film enters the cast

Art Basel Hong Kong 2014, like its first edition in 2013, will be divided into sectors: Galleries, Insights, Discoveries, Encounters, and an inaugural sector dedicated to film.

The three-day film programme, curated by multimedia artist and curator Li Zhenhua, will be hosted in collaboration with the Hong Kong Arts Centre, with free screenings taking place at its Agnès b. CINEMA.

Art Basel Hong Kong’s website describes the film sector as “a dynamic programme of film and video by and about artists”. Galleries that have already been admitted to the fair are eligible to apply for the Film sector by 11 February 2014.

Curator Li Zhenhua

Li Zhenhua lives and works in Beijing and Zurich and is the founder and director of Beijing Art Lab, a platform for art and research. He has been a nominator for Switzerland’s The Prix Pictet since 2010 and is an advisor for the “Digital Revolution” exhibition to be held at London’s Barbican in 2014.

Li Zhenhua, Film curator at Art Basel Hong Kong 2014. Image courtesy Art Basel.

Li Zhenhua, Film curator at Art Basel Hong Kong 2014. Image courtesy Art Basel.

The returning sectors

Apart from the new Film sector, Art Basel Hong Kong 2014 resembles last year’s fair from an organisational point of view. The sectors included in the 2013 edition are all set to return.

The main part of the fair is the Galleries sector, which will feature 171 Modern and contemporary art galleries. Among the 19 new exhibitors joining this edition are Michael Hoppen Gallery, Mazzoleni Galleria d’Arte and Tokyo Gallery.

The Insights sector will be dedicated to curatorial projects by 47 galleries exposing viewers to art from their regions through solo shows, historical exhibits and thematic exhibitions. Jeddah’s Athr Gallery will present Saudi artist Ahmed Mater, Hong Kong’s Koru Contemporary Art will spotlight vintage photography by Brian Brake and Singapore’s iPreciation will showcase the work of Lee Wen. The total number of galleries admitted to Art Basel Hong Kong 2014 is 245, over half of which have exhibition spaces in Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, and 24 in Hong Kong.

The Discoveries sector is dedicated to emerging artists and will this year include 27 galleries such as Shanghai’s 55, whose booth will be used as a working studio by artist Qingtai Hu, and Taro Izumi’s sculptural video installations presented by Take Ninagawa of Tokyo. The artists will compete for the USD25,000 Discoveries prize.

An installation by Edouard Malingue Gallery as a part of the Encounters sector at Art Basel Hong Kong 2013. Image courtesy Art Basel.

An installation by Edouard Malingue Gallery as a part of the Encounters sector at Art Basel Hong Kong 2013. Image courtesy Art Basel.

Large-scale sculptures and installations positioned throughout the exhibition space will be a part of the Encounters sector, curated by Yuko Hasegawa who is the Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo.

Art Basel Hong Kong 2014 will also include the Conversations programme, featuring talks and panel discussions by renowned cultural practitioners, and the Salon series for presentations, artist talks and book launches.

The fair’s first installment

Art Basel’s Hong Kong debut was in 2013. Previously known as ART HK, the fair has been around since 2008 and became the largest event of its kind in Asia according to the South China Morning Post. It was renamed when Art Basel’s organisers acquired a 60 percent stake in ART HK’s parent company Asian Art Fairs. Despite the change, there was no drop in local participation, with the 2013 edition including 245 galleries from 35 countries and exhibiting 3,000 artists. Over five days, the fair was visited by more than 60,000 people.

The new management of the fair was well-received, with gallerists lauding the better allocation of space, the methodical organisation and satisfactory sales.

However, the 2013 edition faced criticism for playing things slightly safe as galleries tried to get a feel of the market and audience, with many galleries not showcasing their best collections. There was also talk of the fair becoming too international rather than presenting a regional flavour. Nigel Hurst of Saatchi Gallery told ARTINFO:

There is still an Asian flavor, but they have to be careful that it doesn’t disappear. There is still 50 percent of Asian galleries, but a lot of them are not showing Asian art, they’re showing international artists. Hopefully they will get the balance right. I think that it’s less Asian-orientated than it was, and I think it’s important for Hong Kong, Basel, and Miami to have their own focuses.

It remains to be seen whether Art Basel Hong Kong 2014 will effectively address these concerns and emerge a strong contender amongst Asia’s art fairs.

Kriti Bajaj

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Related Topics: art fairs, film, Asia expands, events in Hong Kong

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