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2017.02.06 Mon, by
Encounters to present 17 ambitious large-scale projects – including 12 new works – by leading artists from across Asia and beyond

[Press Release]
Art Basel in Hong Kong’s widely acclaimed Encounters sector – a unique platform dedicated to presenting large-scale sculptural installations that transcend the traditional art fair booth – returns this year with 17 projects by internationally renowned artists. Curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor, Executive Director of Artspace in Sydney, the 2017 edition will feature work by Pio Abad, Rasheed Araeen, Katharina Grosse, Gonkar Gyatso, Joyce Ho, Hu Qingyan, Bingyi, Waqas Khan, Kimsooja, Alicja Kwade, Dinh Q. Lê, Li Jinghu, Sanné Mestrom, Michael Parekowhai, Shen Shaomin, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Wang Wei. The show, whose Lead Partner is UBS, takes place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from March 23 to March 25, 2017.

In this year’s edition of Encounters, curator Alexie Glass-Kantor explores the role time plays in an ‘encounter’, investigating the representation of time in art and how we use history, politics and culture to carve our own space in time. ‘For my third year curating the sector,’ Glass-Kantor explains, ‘I was interested in exploring the relationship between time and experience, specifically, how time is related to ‘encounters.’ Glass-Kantor continues, ‘I have curated a selection of installations that encourage visitors to interact with each piece, in order to find their own interpretations.’

The Encounters sector will include four site-specific works and 12 new works by Rasheed Araeen, Katharina Grosse, Gonkar Gyatso, Joyce Ho, Hu Qingyan, Waqas Khan, Alicja Kwade, Dinh Q. Lê, Li Jinghu, Sanné Mestrom, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Wang Wei.

Information on individual presentations:

Gagosian will present a series of six new sculptures by German artist Katharina Grosse (b. 1961). The individual sculptures, cast in aluminium and intricately spray-painted in vivid hues, emerge out of Grosse’s approach to the possibilities painting as object and environment. Similar sculptures were incorporated into her environment for the 2015 Venice Biennale.

Kukje Gallery / Tina Kim Gallery will show ‘Deductive Object’ (2016) by Korean artist Kimsooja (b. 1957). Reconceptualised for Encounters, the work will be composed of a spherical structure sitting above a stainless steel, polished base that creates a mirroring effect. The artist’s first use of the mirror as a medium was in 1999 at the Venice Biennale and is further explored here as a mode to fold and unfold space and time.

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery and Michael Lett will present ‘Putto’ (2015-2016) by New Zealand artist Michael Parekowhai (b. 1968). The interactive sculpture will allow visitors to sit on an elongated bench, sharing the space with a large sculptural cherub, or putto, who appears to be sleeping, drunk or dead. While putti are generally depicted as nude and plump winged baby boys, this figure has been stripped of his wings and placed beside a recognizably earthly object, relegated to the banality of urbanity. With a hard, shiny cast, each chubby bulge appears tumorous and grotesque, rather than squiggly and fleshy like a child, calling into question the way we perceive cultural icons.

Edouard Malingue Gallery will debut ‘Slipping Mural 2′ (2017) by Chinese artist Wang Wei (b. 1972). The floor-based installation uses images from a Beijing zoo and an idyllic beach framed by a palm tree, birds and clouds, exploring the return to nature in its most basic form and reflecting upon the nature of reality.

10 Chancery Lane Gallery and P.P.O.W will explore today’s global refugee crisis with an installation titled ‘The Deep Blue Sea’ (2017) by Vietnamese artist Dinh Q. Lê (b. 1968). To create the cascading scroll installation, Lê has appropriated four images from the ongoing boat refugee crises in the Mediterranean Sea. By stretching a single image across 150′ expanse of photo paper, Lê’s photographic installation uses arresting scale to scrutinize the significance of still frames in our collective culture. Lê asks the viewers to experience the image as an abstract canvas, denying the viewers an obvious narrative. Instead they are encouraged to imagine narratives and what their memories recall.

Osage Gallery will present ‘Summit’ (2009-2010) by Chinese artist Shen Shaomin (b. 1956), which features sculptures of five deceased Communist leaders: Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il Sung, Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong. Castro is depicted on his deathbed while the others are each presented in a crystal coffin. This hypothetical coming together of Communist leaders explores the relevance and place of these politicians’ ideals and ideas in today’s society.

Silverlens will show ‘Not a Shield, but a Weapon’ (2016) by Filipino artist Pio Abad (b. 1983). The installation consists of 180 counterfeit reproductions of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s iconic handbag – produced in Marikina in the Philippines – and continues Abad’s interest in exploring ideas surrounding value, cultural artefacts and the political histories of the United Kingdom and the Philippines.

Magician Space will premiere ‘Archaeology of the Present (Dongguan)’ (2017), an installation by Chinese artist Li Jinghu (b. 1972). Inspired by the artist’s hometown of Dongguan, which has become an industrial centre sometimes referred to as ‘the factory of the world’, the installation will feature lights from factories that Li Jinghu has transformed into abstract clouds. These clouds symbolize a time when Dongguan’s factory workers – many of whom have moved into the city from rural areas – could look up at the sky rather than work beneath bright, artificial lights. Below, Jinghu has arranged an assembly of metal artifacts into a museological display. Acquiring an orange and turquoise patina through time like historical relics from an ancient time, these objects were once the industrial molds used for the mass-production of toys.

Pearl Lam Galleries will present ‘Family Album’ (2016), a new work by Tibetan artist Gonkar Gyatso (b. 1961), which attempts to redefine the narrative of Tibet and examine how a once remote culture has become a part of a globalized world.

Sullivan+Strumpf will premiere an installation by Dutch-Australian artist Sanné Mestrom (b. 1979). ‘The Bathers’ (2016), based on Cézanne’s infamous painting of the same name, extends Mestrom’s investigation into the language of painting as explored through sculptural form. The work will be the artist’s most ambitious work to date, consisting of a series of three large resin figurine abstractions that appear to recline in the ‘tears’ of a fourth abstracted figurine – a large aluminum and bronze ‘water fountain’.

Galerie Krinzinger will show the drawing-sculpture ‘In the Name of God II’ (2017) by Pakistani artist Waqas Khan (b. 1982), which unfolds through space like a geometric parchment, or a huge book of contiguous pages. Drawing onto Wasli Paper, a hand-made paper used since the 10th century in India for painting miniatures in particular, the artist models his filigree works after the Bardhakhat technique, a basic technique of Persian Mughal miniature painting. This involves the artist applying thousands of small dots, lines and dashes to the paper with the greatest of precision.

‘House of Red Bamboo’ (2017) by Pakistani artist Rasheed Araeen (b. 1935) will be premiered by Rossi & Rossi. The scaffolding structure made of bamboo references the artist’s long-standing investigations into geometric and architectural structures as post-Modernist representations of non-compositional forms, and metaphorically their reference to utopian ideologies following the Constructivist and De Stijl movements.

Galerie Urs Meile will present ‘Go in One Ear and out The Other’ (2017) by Chinese artist Hu Qingyan (b. 1982). The complex and space-consuming iron installation deals – on multiple levels – with the theme of space, and consists of industrially manufactured iron pipe segments used for underground water and gas pipelines.

König Galerie, 303 Gallery and kamel mennour will jointly premiere ‘The Beat’ (2017) by Berlin-based artist Alicja Kwade (b. 1979). Continuing her interest in sculptural representations of the world’s time zones, Kwade has created a six-meter long sculpture consisting of 26 steel beam elements placed on top of one another, representing the longitude of time. The sculpture also functions as a bench for visitors to rest on.

neugerriemschneider will present a large-scale installation by Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961). Within a structure built of traditionally tied bamboo scaffolding, visitors will discover five versions of the same 3D-printed bonsai tree positioned on bases inspired by Constantin Brâncuși’s wooden pedestals. The sculptures and bases create a dialogue between geometrically structured matter and the living forms, while the bonsai trees, which normally require persistent, thoughtful, and delicate labor from the grower, now are reproduced mechanically with white polymer, invoking the concept of technological singularity and exploring the transience of nature.

‘Wanwu: Metamorphosis’ (2013) by Chinese artist Bingyi (b. 1975) will be shown by Ink Studio. It will be the first time that Bingyi’s large-scale landscape ink paintings will be exhibited and installed within the context of an international art fair. The immersive installation consists of panels taken from the artist’s monumental series ‘Wanwu’, which was inspired by China’s dramatic landscapes and weather. Bingyi created ‘Wanwu’ at sacred mountains around China, where she let the sun, humidity, wind and terrain affect the xuan paper she was working on, so that the work itself reveals the many forces – both climatological and geological – that shape our world. In these ink paintings, Bingyi also illustrates how order and pattern can emerge from these ungovernable natural forces.

The Encounters sector will once again be presented on the show’s four meridians that divide up the two exhibition halls. However, one Encounter work will be placed in a hidden dedicated space behind the main show floor. Based around our perceptions of everyday situations and experiences of life, ‘On the second day, Saturday, your three minutes,’ (2017) by Taiwanese artist Joyce Ho (b. 1983) serves to magnify the smaller rituals often neglected in our lives and to urge the viewer toward a reflection on the details of everyday life. The installation and performance work will be presented by TKG⁺.