The fair’s third edition brought over 100 international galleries to Hong Kong, showcasing a mixture of emerging and established contemporary artists.
Art Radar rounds up Art Central 2017, which boasts a roster of 75 percent of its participating galleries hailing from the Asia-Pacific region.
The third edition of Art Central’s show in Hong Kong closed on Saturday, 25 March 2017. Timed to coincide with Swiss mega fair Art Basel Hong Kong, the younger art fair Art Central took place from the 21 to 25 March 2017 on the Central Harbourfront during Hong Kong Art Week. The fair was staged in a custom-designed 10,000-square-metre tent structure by the sea, featuring immersive performances, talks, site-specific installations, moving image, virtual reality and digital works. In its previous edition, over 32,000 visitors flocked to the venue, indicating that the newly established fair has managed to cement its role as an innovative art fair with an Asian focus.
Institutional partnerships and programmes
On the institutional level, Art Central Hong Kong presented a series of performances with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney. These performances include the politically-charged piece The Red Chador: Ban Me! by artist Anida Yoeu Ali, who was veiled in red and patrolling the aisles of the fair booths while raising protest signs. Uji Handoko Eko Saputro aka Hahan from Indonesia also created an interactive performance questioning the notion of “high art” and low art” named Speculative Entertainment Hong Kong Edition. The audience participated in the live “auction” to buy pieces of his work at the booth, starting at HKD500.
Commenting on the exhibition, Mikala Tai, Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian art remarked:
Art Central continues to re-invent itself and challenge the conventional art fair format by including unprecedented elements, such as performance art, in its core programme. The groundbreaking collaboration with Art Central is sure to pave the way for artistic innovation in the region while diversifying the market
Cross cultural engagements
Discussions on cross-cultural and interdisciplinary practices of contemporary art were presented in collaboration with Asia Society. These talks include “Art and the City: A Conversation between Contemporary Artists from Hong Kong” featuring panelists Andio Lai, Adrian Wong and Magdalene Wong moderated by Dominique Chan. Another highlight was a talk named “Stillness and Light: In Conversation with Hiroshi Sugimoto” featuring Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto moderated by Elaine W. Ng.
This year, the fair formed partnerships with United Overseas Bank (UOB), Swarovski and Mumm Champagne to present a number of art programmes during the fair. UOB hosted a series of art workshops for underprivileged children, whereas Swarovski presented an interactive sound installation by London-based Japanese sound artist Yuri Suzuki near the entrance of the fair. The installation was a mechanical crystallophone consisting of 16 brass and crystal structures with sensors, which the public could interact with using their bodies to produce sound. Meanwhile, MEDIA X MUMM showcased media art and moving images curated by Linda Lai, Founder of Floating Projects, as well as Associate Professor of Intermedia Arts at the School of Creative Media (SCM) at the City University of Hong Kong. Other corporate partners this year included Initial Fashion, Ovolo Group and NikeLab.
International fair with a local flair
In the PROJECTS sector, Hong Kong curator Jims Lam Chi Hang, who is on Forbes’ 2016 30 under 30 Asia list, selected a series of site-specific large scale installations. These artists include Simon Pericich, Tang Jie, Hannah Quinlivan, Santi Wangchuan, Glen Hayward and Yu Youhan. The curator emphasised the importance of contextualising the fair with local perspectives, as he expressed that
Inviting Hong Kong curators to the Fair is a meaningful opportunity to incorporate local critical perspective on contemporary art developments in the city. The collaborations serve to contextualize the Fair, making it socially and creatively relevant to the community
Gaining acceptance and popularity of street art in Hong Kong
Newly opened Hong Kong-based gallery Over the Influence Gallery brought to Art Central a group presentation of street artists such as Invadar, Jerkface and Portuguese artist Vhils aka Alexandre Farto. Vhil’s studio in the burgeoning art district of Wong Chuk Hang in the Southern part of Hong Kong also opened its doors to the public during Hong Kong Art Week, allowing visitors to understand what happened behind-the-scenes in a street artist’s studio. A mural festival organised by HK Walls in the Southside of Hong Kong in collaboration with Vans coincided with Art Central and Art Basel.
Back at Art Central, The Skateroom presented a series of limited edition art on skateboards, including that of Jean-Michael Basquiat and Andy Warhol. Street art has been quickly rising from its underground roots to the spotlight in the global art market, and remains visible in galleries and major auction houses like Sotheby’s. The genre is also becoming more widely accepted and understood within society in Hong Kong, as testified by its increasing appearance in exhibitions, art fairs, and all over the city itself.
- Art Basel Hong Kong 2017: Strong sales and growing collector base in Asia – round-up – March 2017 – Art Radar rounds up the key takeaways from Art Basel Hong Kong 2017
- Preview: 10 highlights from Art Central Hong Kong 2017 – March 2017 – attracting over 240 galleries from 34 countries, Art Basel Hong Kong brings together key galleries from the Asia-Pacific region
- The Global Gallery: Thaddaeus Ropac at Talking Galleries 2017 – video summary – March 2017 – influential gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac opened the 2017 Talking Galleries Barcelona Symposium with a call for a return to the gallery space
- India Art Fair 2017: a gathering place for South Asian art – round-up – February 2017 – Art Radar takes a look at some of the highlights of this year’s Fair
- Regional collecting and learning from antiquities: Hong Kong collector Hallam Chow – interview – January 2017 – Hong Kong collector Hallam Chow talks to Art Radar about regional collecting scene and what a contemporary art collector can learn from antiques