Art flies off the walls as over 30,000 art enthusiasts flock to the fifth edition of the fair in Hong Kong.
Art Radar rounds up Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong 2017, which showcases affordable works ranging from HKD1,000 to HKD100,000 by local and international artists.
The fifth edition of Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong closed on 21 May 2017. With works from over 1,000 emerging and mid-career artists from 113 galleries available on sale at the fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the 2017 edition generated HKD34 million in sales. A quarter of buyers, who visited the fair between 18 to 21 May, were first-time buyers. Since artworks sold at the fair could be taken home right away, visitors were seen hand-carrying bubble-wrapped works of art of all shapes and sizes within the first hour of the preview. The frenzy continued as collectors anxiously line up to enter the doors of the jam-packed exhibition hall, while they witnessed happy buyers exiting the venue en masse with artworks tucked safely under their arms.
In an interview with Art Radar published earlier on before the fair, Stephanie Kelly, Fair Director of Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong, spoke about this year’s edition of the Fair and shared her thoughts on the Hong Kong art scene. As this edition of the fair closes, she reflects:
Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong is incredibly proud of its achievements over the past five years. Ultimately the fair aims to develop the art ecosystem in Hong Kong and help support art appreciation amongst our visitors. Having enhanced the scope of the fair this year, we were able to help champion our artists and galleries as well as turn art lovers into art buyers and it was very exciting seeing so much art leaving through our fair doors.
This year’s Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong 2017 included several highlights: Young Talent Hong Kong, Special Projects, Fresh, Creative Hub and TEDxWanChai.
Young Talent Hong Kong “Give me 5” exhibition, co-curated by art consultant Eric Leung and Fair Manager May Wong, consisted of five new Hong Kong artists alongside five previously featured artists. Meanwhile, Special Projects showcased large-scale installations and performances. Fresh presented a selection of artists worldwide debuting at the fair, whereas Creative Hub encouraged visitors to become artists themselves in workshops, such as that of M+ Rover. There was also a salon style TEDxWanchai event held on 20 May, with the title of “Art. Who Cares?”
A number of workshops, tours and participatory events were also held, in collaboration with institutions such as the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association, the Arts with the Disabled Association Hong Kong and the Sovereign Art Foundation.
Fostering art appreciation through education
Children were encouraged to participate and immerse themselves in interactive exhibitions, while adults were offered art-buying tips. Works by emerging artists were shown alongside renowned artists. The fair aims to demystify the art world for its visitors in a fun and accessible way.
Through the art tours, visitors acquire new inspiration from topics covering art techniques, depth of talent of Hong Kong galleries, and curating art and interiors. The tours also included Director’s Pick tour led by Fair Director Stephanie Kelly, as well as a tour of Under HKD10,000 highlights to make art accessible. Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong 2017 continued to develop the art market and the next generation of collectors in Hong Kong, with the aim of turning art lovers into art buyers and collectors.
Excellent turnout but too crowded
Despite the popularity and the excellent turnout of this edition of the fair, some gallerists expressed that the crowded booths and aisles made it slightly difficult to interact with potential clients. A representative from Hong Kong-based gallery Platform D’Art mentioned to Art Radar:
We sold quite a number of works at the fair, but with the amount of visitors, it was quite overwhelming.
Yet, the steady increase of the attendance figures each year no doubt show the growing enthusiasm of visitors in Hong Kong towards art.
Fun interactive experiences of art
Art-buying aside, visitors also got a chance to experience artworks from various artists exhibited in the fair. Outside the fair’s entrance, an interactive installation, entitled Xpect the Unexpected (2014) by local artist Leung Wan In, Ingrid, allowed the audience to step on it. The work is made from everyday objects such as fish tanks, straw and sponges. Trained as a visual artist, graphic and spatial designer, she explores the notion of density and its effect on visitors’ perception of the world.
Another piece at the fair, a sound installation, entitled No Sense of Touch (2016) by Hong Kong interdisciplinary artist Cheuk Wing Nam, challenged visitors to interact with her work. Visitors were seen attempting to shake hands with the skeleton hands in the work.
Speaking to South China Morning Post, Fair Director Stephanie Kelly said:
Although half our visitors come to buy art, the majority of our visitors come to the fair to learn.
Affordable art for the masses
On its website, the Affordable Art Fair proposes a statement by which it stands:
You don’t need to be an experienced art collector, nor an art expert to find an artwork to fall in love with. Our fair will be bursting with affordable art that is great for your home and good for your soul!
- “Duddell’s x Biennale of Sydney. Abstraction of the World” at Duddell’s, Hong Kong – May 2017 – curated by Mami Kataoka, the exhibition explores the structure of cosmic space and the natural phenomena of the world
- “Social Media is Killing Art” debate at Art Basel in Hong Kong 2017 – summary – May 2017 – the “Social Media is Killing Art” debate brought together four art experts to discuss the pros and cons of social media
- Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong Director Stephanie Kelly on the city’s art scene and the 2017 fair edition – interview – May 2017 – Art Radar catches up with Fair Director Stephanie Kelly to hear her thoughts on the Hong Kong art scene and the highlights from this year’s Fair
- Sotheby’s Hong Kong Spring Auctions 2017 signal a return to a stronger art market – round-up – April 2017 – Andy Warhol’s Mao breaks records as Sotheby’s Hong Kong open up to works by western artists
- Art Central Hong Kong 2017: A stage for emerging artists and dynamic performances – round-up – March 2017 – Art Radar rounds up Art Central 2017, which boasts a roster of 75 percent of its participating galleries hailing from the Asia-Pacific region
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