For the first time of my life I made it to visit the Art Basel Hong Kong. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions the fair has been held online only and gave therefore me and many art collectors and lovers the opportunity to browse the offer of the this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong from the own couch. I recorded my screen during my online visit of the fair to give you a personal tour to my favorites and recommendations.
The first gallery we visit is Galerie Urs Meile from Beijing-Lucerne, which is part of the Chinese art scene over years. With their exhibition ‘Recurrence’ this gallery gives us an overlook of their regular program which includes European and Asian artists from all generations.
At Urs Meile I focus a work by Ju Ting. ‘Untitled072519’ can be categorized as an abstract painting, but also exceeds the limits of this technique. With her ‘Untitled’ series the artist experiments with a variety of actions to explore their visual implications.
Priced in a range from 10k-25k this work is one of the ‘affordables’ of this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong.
Further artists presented: Qiu Shihua, Shao Fan, Rebekka Steiger, Not Vital, Wang Xingwei, Julia Steiner, Xie Nanxing, Marion Baruch
Our next station is the One and J. Gallery from Seoul. In their exhibition ‘The Way of Recording Memory’ they give South Korean artists a platform. The protagonists of this show are Jin Han, Kang Seung Lee and the photographer Jung Lee. Her additional studies ‘Mass Communication & Journalism’ (her main study was Photography), Jung Lee touches the Zeitgeist of instagramable art. Combining this dreamy landscapes with meaningful phrases everybody can identify with she ‘closes the circuit of digitization of the art world’ on a meta level.
Prices are admirable: 10k-25k per photo
Aye Gallery from Beijing comes with a flower bouquet of artists and in the middle we find a work by Walter Yu. ‘Rocket’ is from 2018 and a very interesting example of the affordable artwork category. As a paperwork of a medium size of 52.5×37 cm (20.7×14.6 in) this is one of the promising examples of this fair.
Price is 1.5k.
Further artists presented: Chen Wenji, Luo Mingjun, Hoo Mojong, Mu Boyan, Sheng Tianhong, Shi Xinji, Wang Yabin, Zhao Gang, Chi Qun, Yang Qiong, Yang Song
We arrive at Pifo Gallery (Beijing), which brings the artist Kang Haitao to the fair. This solo show titled ‘Beyond the Time’ is focused on works, which stand as records and statements of all the artist’s surroundings and which are proof of the deeper intentions – mostly scenes at night. These landscapes can occur blurry and lonely, but speak for themselves in the most sensual way.
The artists has reached a higher price level, but there are nevertheless works on offer below 10k.
Three-dimensional and not suitable as decoration Park View / Paul Soto (L.A./USA) shows works by Matt Paweski in a solo exhibition. What a smart PR stunt, in the end this gallery did’t have the logistic and shipping issues, which occur, when galleries show objects and not canvas works. And it gives a welcome diversion between all the paintings. Furthermore there is no special exhibition title needed and the artist’s name is in the focus.
With their handles and overdimensioned screws they give the idea of being functional, but in the end their are far away from that. That differ Paweskis work from ‘design objects’. The colour palette in general – with blue and pastel shades – the clear stylistic idioms and the handles evoke of ‘A Bigger Splash’ by David Hockney. Not an Asian artist, I see, but absolutely worth to be mentioned in this article.
Attractively priced in a range from 3k-12k.
Finally made it to OTA Fine Arts, who comes from Singapore. What made me very happy was to see that they bring the names to the fair like Yayoi Kusama, but they don’t forget the emerging artists nonetheless. The artist Guo-Liang Tan studied in London and also at the Städelschule in Frankfurt/Main. In his work, surfaces, painterly or otherwise, become a space for performing gestures of affect and conjuring a haunting that converses with the ghosts of abstraction. ‘Cherry Plumes’ (2019) is priced under 10k.
Further artists on show: Chen Wei, Maria Farrar, Chris Huen, Tomoko Kashiki, Nobuaki Takekawa, Tang Dixin.
Two Palms comes from New York City and presents new works by Mel Bochner, Cecily Brown, Jeff Koons and Nona Faustine. Again not an Asian gallery, but worth to be part in this article. The gallery is specialised on prints and multiples and they collaborate with the who-is-who of the art scene. A good occasion to get a piece of the pie, but for less! Start a collection with a print or multiple is smart way to get a piece of favorite artists without paying the high bill.
Where to get a Jeff Koons for a price of 10k-25k? The edition is rather low and includes just 20 prints.
David Zwirner on the contrary offers an original painting by Jeff Koons from the similar series we have seen at Two Palms and which is the highlight of this year’s fair exhibition. With a price of 3 million Dollar this work is one of the priciest of the fair. Focused on figurative works Zwirner shows works by: Neo Rauch, Lisa Yuskavage, Nate Lowman, Noah Davis, Alice Neel, Michaël Borremans, Kerry James Marshall, Sigmar Polke, Josh Smith.
One of my favorite gallerists is Richard Nagy Ltd. who has ‘Egon Schiele and Modern Expressionists’ on show. Three watercolour works are priced over 1 million Dollar, which also applies for works by Kees van Dongen, Heinrich Campendonk, Christian Schad and George Grosz.
Finally scrolling through the fair online was a pleasure. And there is so much more to explore. I appreciated the courage to cancel the fair and to change it into an online only experience. In some days they will published the final number of visitors. Last year there were 88k people, who visited this fair. I think in 2020 this was exceeded by far.
From a website user perspective there weren’t any issues with the server. A fluent scrolling was provided. I appreciated the layout as well. Very well structured and consistent. With the bench in the rooms there was an atmosphere of a real room, which I liked a lot and what made it easy to get an idea of the size of the work. Small works unfortunately loose a lot with this system, but for monumental works it works well.
I hope the art collectors bought a lot, so that there is no financial loss for the galleries. The long overdue further digitization of the art market made a next step and it was a pleasure to experience that.
Last but not least a further recommendation from the fair:
A video by the Japanese artist Keiichi Tanaami, who takes us into a world of pop, psychedelic and surrealism. The artist is one of the best known artists in Japan and a mentor for artists like Takashi Murakami.