With a number of Asian art galleries showing for the first time at ART HK 12, Art Radar was curious to find out what their expectations for the fair were, and who they will be showing and why. Are they showing established or emerging artists? Seeking high sales or going for exposure?

All of the galleries we talked to stressed their excitement and pride in exhibiting at ART HK. Many noted that, with the lack of museums and customary exhibition platforms, art fairs, especially ART HK, play a crucial role in the Asian art market. While some of the interviewed gallerists are bringing big-name works, many others are using the fair to promote regionally emerging artists to an international audience.

Zao Wou Ki, 'Vent de Poussiere', 1955, oil on canvas. Image courtesy de Sarthe Gallery.

If you want to have a real presence in Asia, participating in ART HK is a must. It is widely considered to be one of the world’s top art fairs and attracts the most important collectors to Hong Kong.

…[ART HK] also has the highest attendance of art fairs in the region and appeals to all people interested in art as well as new collectors.

We will show a major painting by Zao Wou Ki from 1955, a large, important Chu Teh Chun painting from 1969 and a large, significant painting by Sam Francis from 1955. We will also show two paintings by Pablo Picasso and sculptures by Jaume Plensa and Bernar Venet, whose paintings we are showing at our gallery in Central and, in conjunction with The French May, seven of his large monumental sculptures at the HK Cultural Centre & Museum of Art Piazzas in Kowloon.

– Pascal de Sarthe, Director, de Sarthe Gallery

Xu Qu, 'Xisha – Factory of the World', installation view, 2011, mixed media. Image courtesy Hemuse Gallery.

ART HK is becoming one of the most important art fairs in the world.

We are bringing Xu Qu‘s ‘Xisha – Factory of The World’.

We have been cooperating with Xu for a while. Xu Qu had a solo show in Hemuse Gallery in December 2011. The Xisha-South China Sea Project was born of the artist’s fantasy of utopia and his attempts to apply this unstable geographical concept to explore different aesthetic boundaries.

– Apple Keng, Director, Hemuse Gallery

Jose Santos III, assemblage from the installation 'Skewed', 2012, oil on canvas, collage on canvas, metal, wood, plastic and resin. Image courtesy Art Informal.

I initially applied for the Galleries Section of ART HK because it would be a good way to introduce our home artists all at the same time and show a variety of very good works. Over a month later, I got word that I was to apply for Asia One. I was unprepared to ask any one of our artists to produce a solo show knowing that it would be difficult for an artist to prepare in just four months. Nevertheless, I asked Jose Santos III and after thinking about it for a week, he agreed. He came up with a concept for the show and prepared rough studies. With this, I was able to make the proposal and submit it on schedule. A month later, I got an email announcing our acceptance and I was ecstatic! This will be a milestone in the growth of the gallery and our artist.

I have been attending ART HK for the past two years and have seen how well put together and organised it is. I also saw the magnitude of the fair. I realised that the exposure it would bring my gallery and our artists would be great. …

I chose Santos III because he is one of the finest artists in the Philippines and this kind of exposure is the next best step for him after having such a steady local following and a growing regional interest in his works. He has consistently produced very strong exhibitions and has had some works auctioned at Christie’s. … Since then, our plan was to organise exhibitions for him abroad. Joining ART HK is one of the best ways to start this ball rolling.

– Tina Fernandez, Owner, Art Informal

ART HK is the leading art fair in Asia. I feel very proud to have been accepted only two-and-a-half years after opening my gallery.

It is a great opportunity to meet clients from all around Asia and also to have a good insight on what is happening in the art scene across the region.

I will be showing a selection of works [on paper] from a private collector.

I chose to showcase this collection because it features historical works and I believe there is a demand for them. Also, it is great to see a gallery entrusted by a collector [to sell works in their collection]. The auction houses do not have a monopoly on selling collections.

– Hadrien de Montferrand, Founder, Hadrien de Montferrand Gallery

Richard Lin, 'Blue', 1958, oil on canvas. Image courtesy Jia Art Gallery.

We feel very very proud [of attending the fair] because there are very few galleries accepted from Taiwan, less than ten, and the requirements are quite strict for acceptance. So once we found out that we were accepted and are on the main floor, we felt happy and honoured for the work we will represent at ART HK. …

[We are bringing] Modern and post-war British art/British Chinese minimalist master, Richard Lin.

Jia Art Gallery has earned goodwill and recognition in the art industry due to Mr Wang’s [Raymond Wang, Founder of Jia Art Gallery] efforts in promoting young Taiwanese artists, as well as his good eye for discovering and promoting highly accomplished Chinese masters. … Lin first exhibited his minimalist experiments in London galleries five years before the term minimalism was even coined, and Spanish surrealist Joan Miró was an admirer of Lin’s studies in white. Lin is arguably one of the Taiwan’s most accomplished living artists. He was the first Taiwanese artist to be included in documenta in Kassel, an exhibition of Modern and contemporary art, in 1964, and was the first living artist whose contemporary art works are part of the Taiwan National Palace Museum’s permanent collection. Lin’s works show the beauty of Chinese aesthetics and Western ideology, as well as bringing about a sense of calmness, eastern philosophy and Taoism. … We also feel that Lin’s works represent the East and the West, and so does Art Hong Kong [ART HK].

– Brenda Wang, Director, Jia Art Gallery

Vertical Submarine, 'Qua Si Mi Lan (What the Fuck Are You Looking At!)', 2012, Mixed Media. © Vertical Submarine, Image courtesy Richard Koh Fine Art.

[ART HK] is an important art fair in Asia, and it is important for us to be here to meet our clients and to also develop new ones for our artists.

We are bringing a Singaporean contemporary arts collective, Vertical Submarine.

This is the second installment from their acclaimed “Incendiary Text II (Selected Anatomical Studies of Thirty- Six Eastern Vulgarities and One Incendiary Oath… in Roman Letters)” series. The first edition, which was featured in Singapore earlier this year, garnered lots of press coverage with its tongue-in-cheek pieces. The works are inherently Singaporean and are an excellent example of Singaporean artists of their generation.

– Richard Koh, Founder and Director, Richard Koh Fine Art

Parul Thacker, 'A Snowflake Dissolving in Pure Air', 2011, nylon monofilament fibre, acrylic tubes, crystal, fishing net and transparent and white pigments. Image courtesy Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke.

We are very enthusiastic about the future of contemporary art in the region, and ART HK provides an extraordinary platform. It’s the perfect venue to put forth original and compelling positions from the gallery’s programme because all eyes are on this art fair.

[We are bringing] Bhupen Khakhar and C.K. Rajan, both artists who have shown at previous documentas. Their work sets the tone and opens up a space for new contemporary positions which are the primary focus of the gallery. At ART HK these will be represented through the work of Manish Nai, Tanya Goel, Varunika Saraf, and Parul Thacker amongst others.

They are unique; global in their thinking, local in their choice of materials/modes/histories, be it the use of raw cloth or patterning, miniature or mythology, or the beauty they find in their ironic environments of construction and growth coupled with corruption and decay.

– Ranjana Steinruecke, Director Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke

Ranbir Kaleka, video still from 'Chimeric Enrapture', 2011, oil and acrylic on canvas with video projection and sound. Image courtesy Volte Gallery.

It is the first time we applied [to ART HK], and we were glad we were accepted straight into the main gallery section.

ART HK has become the most important fair in Asia and a very important event for galleries in this region. Asia is extremely important to us as a market, and hence we are here: you cannot be a serious player in Asia and not do ART HK.

We are showing Ranbir Kaleka and Sheba Chhachhi, two of India’s most celebrated artists, but two who have never shown in Hong Kong. Since the audience would be seeing their works for the first time, we felt it best to focus only on two artists. Ranbir recently did a major show for the Guangzhou Triennale at the Guangdong Museum, and Sheba won the Jury Award at the Signature Art Prize, Asia’s largest art prize.

– Tushar Jiwarajka, Director, Volte Gallery

We have high expectations for ART HK.

Hong Kong is one of the most international cities in Asia and is becoming the hub of the Asian art market. [It is exciting] to be able to meet important collectors and curators from around the world at ART HK. …

We are bringing Ozawa Tsuyoshi. … Ozawa deals with issues of modernisation by examining how Japan and Asia confronted modernisation and adopted it. His work suggests that issues in modernisation exist not only in Japan but any other country, and he presents possible solution using art with humour. He has been featured in various biennales, triennales and museums worldwide, but we would like collectors to have an opportunity to purchase and collect his works.

– Aiko Nakamura, Misa Shin Gallery:

Chong Siew Ying, 'Home', 2012, charcoal and acrylic medium on paper mounted canvas. Image courtesy Willie Valentine Fine Art.

We have actually been encouraged to apply to the fair for a few years now. However, at that time we were focusing on our extensive programmes across our galleries in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Yogyakarta, and Manila. … After attending last year’s fair and observing the sophistication of the fair in terms of international clientèle, quality of galleries, artists and associative programming, we felt that it would be extremely beneficial to have a presence in ART HK. Hong Kong is rapidly becoming an important centre for regional and international art, and we always want to bring the best of what we do to new audiences and art lovers. We are of course delighted to be part of the fair, especially as we are bringing a Malaysian artist, Chong Siew Ying, who we we have represented for many years….

As I said above, it is important for us to promote and expose new audiences to the work of artists who we feel are the important voices coming out of the region. … ART HK brings a huge amount of possibility and potential for the artist we have selected in terms of visibility. Siew Ying has been practicing in France and Malaysia for twenty years now, and this type of exposure only strengthens her reputation as one of the most accomplished Malaysian painters of her generation.

The work she has produced is an interesting approach to traditional Chinese ink. Although having the appearance of landscapes found in Chinese ink painting, her works are actually a combination of charcoal drawing layered with clear emulsion giving the appearance of ink. After all, charcoal (or carbon) is indeed one of the main components of ink. So we are aiming to share how she dialogues with the tradition of Chinese ink painting to showcase how contemporary artists are re-imagining it and creating new possibilities for both the medium and subject matter involved in this ancient art.

– Eva McGovern, Curator, Willie Valentine Fine Art

Image courtesy Gajah Gallery.

ART HK is clearly one of the leading art fairs in the world. It is always good to be in an art fair that draws international collectors from around the world. Through ART HK, collectors are given the rare opportunity to view Nyoman Masriadi‘s works as a collective.

Increasingly, art fairs are becoming more relevant in the contemporary world. Good art fairs not only pull together serious collectors from around the world but curators and art historians as well. In response to this, artists themselves tend to put forward their best works where possible. This is especially important in Asia, where good museum shows and art fairs are hard to come by.

Nyoman Masriadi will be debuting at ART HK 2012 with his third solo showcase spanning a three-year period of the artists career. Nyoman Masriadi’s works are rarely seen at art fairs or otherwise. The gallery will be showcasing five works; three of which are from private collections and two of which were made especially for the fair….

[Masriadi] has showcased internationally in New York, Miami, India, China, France and Singapore. He has had well-received solo shows in Singapore (2008) and New York (2011). He has an increasing broad base of intrigued collectors who have yet to have the chance to experience these works in person. We also feel that his work has a lot to contribute to the international art scene with regards to his art making techniques.

– Rekha Roeshini, Gajah Gallery

[Editorial correction | Monday 21 May 2012: The image of work by Ranbir Kaleka in this article was incorrectly captioned, with the work being credited to Sheba Chhachi. We have corrected the caption to ensure the maker of the work, Ranbir Kaleka, is accurately credited.]


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Related Topics: art in Hong Kong, promoting art, art fairs

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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