2014.05.12 Mon, by Translated by: 燃点
Art Basel Hong Kong 2014 preview

Invisible to the visitor to Art Basel Hong Kong is the vast volume of preparation that feeds into such an affair—the applications, the travel, the contracts, the labels, the publications, the packing, the selection, the booth-planning (and re-planning), the commissions, the liaison, the framing, the fees, the hotels, the outfits, the installation (and de-installation), the patter and the logistics.

For visitors perusing the results of such efforts, particularly visible will be the large-scale art works in the Encounters sector designed to decorate, dramatize and disarm the setting of the fair. A trend this year seems to be audience participation – with 5 of the 17 projects including some invitation to interact. From Taipei, Eslite Gallery is presenting “Point” by Michael Lin, which is a grand stand with a rotating sign – a place from which to see and be seen. More playful is the gigantic colored cube made by Cecilia de Torres from New York (“Cube 48 Orange”), whose panels people can unfold to change the shape.

Marta Chilindron, “Cube 48 Orange”, 2014. Courtesy of Marta Chilindron and Cecilia de Torres, New York

Xu Qu, “Conquer”, 2013. Courtesy the artist and the gallery

Galerie Urs Meile is bringing an ambitious installation by Tobias Rehberger—a recreation of Bar Oppenheimer, which the artist frequents in Frankfurt—made entirely from bone China. The mind boggles at how Xu Qu’s work, brought by Tang Contemporary and described as a nine-by-8-metre installation “made up of eight screen-printed panels with an aquatic scene bound together by ropes and chains” will look. A predictable inclusion, the animator Sun Xun has created an imaginary country called “Jing Bang” – an installation and performance piece (courtesy of the Singapore Tyler Print Institute and ShanghART ). Visitors are invited to apply for citizenship. Shen Shaomin, whose unnerving silica creatures have been seen before at Art Hong Kong (“I Sleep on Top of Myself”), will this year show “I Touched the Voice of God’” (2012) – fragments from a Chinese space craft.

At the fair itself, over 245 galleries will be participating—a mix of international blue-chip galleries, top Asian and mainland Chinese galleries, as well as local galleries (We will be writing more when the fair opens). For the first time this year, the fair features a film program curated by Li Zhenhua at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Look for the evening performances each night in the Agnes b. cinema. Back at the fair, an Afternoon Salon program covers a somewhat sporadic range of topics. Some highlights could be, on Thursday at 2pm, “Collecting and Archiving — Art vs. Architecture” with M+ curator Aric Chen and other speakers or – for those wishing to know more about the artist Nadim Abbas (also commissioned for the Absolut Art Bar) — “Made in Hong Kong: On Collecting Milk Pudding and Table Cloths” an hour later, with Abbas, fellow Hong Kong artist Lee Kit and William Lim. Carsten Nikolai, whose work “α (alpha) pulse” will be lighting up the façade of Hong Kong’s iconic International Commerce Centre (ICC) on the Kowloon harbor front each night, will be in conversation with curator Nikolaus Hirsch. Not to be missed should be “Hans van Dijk: Dialogues in the Development of Contemporary Art in China” for a valuable look at recent art history in China, via one of its chief actors and influencers. Afterwards, “Art and Language” gives space to talk about writing on art. Besides that, there are talks on nature of biennials, on the Shenzhen Biennale and much, much more.

For early birds, there is the “Post Sense-Sensibility” show at Duddells (curated by Phil Tinari), Zhang Enli show at K11 Project Space, among others. The Art Gallery Night (“Art After Hours”) will take place on Tuesday 13th, with galleries throughout the city staying open late. At Edouard Malingue, there will be a solo exhibition of new work by Sun Xun called “Brave New World”; de Sarthe has a show on modernist Chinese painters. Don’t expect to see native Chinese or Hong Kong art at the big-name international galleries, though. In the Pedder Building (beware the crowd), Simon Lee will show the British artist Toby Ziegler; Lehmann Maupin has the American Hernan Bas, and Ben Brown Fine Arts will present sculpture and paintings by Miquel Barceló. On Connaught Road, White Cube is going to show works by Mark Bradford. Galerie Perrotin will combine contemporary photographs and sculpture, with Ryan McGinley and Jean-Michel Othoniel, respectively. The corresponding event for galleries in the further-away Wong Chuk Hang / Aberdeen is on Thursday evening, now a burgeoning cluster of galleries and art spaces like Spring Workshop, Pékin Fine Arts (Hong Kong), Gallery Exit, Feast Projects, Blindspot, Rossi & Rossi, Mur Nomade, and more. The studios and galleries in Chai Wan will open their doors to guests until 10 pm on Friday night and all day on Saturday. Meanwhile, Osage and the City University will show “Market Forces” curated by Charles Merewether.

The Absolut after-hours haunt is this year being created by Nadim Abbas (“Apocalypse Postponed”). Complete with weevils, sandbags and mute dancers, the bar promises to postpone apocalypse—at least for the week.

Shen Shaomin, “I Touched the Voice of God”, 2012. Courtesy of the artist and Osage Gallery

Sun Xun, “Jing Bang is a Heaven” (鯨邦是人間樂土), 2013. Photos courtesy of Singapore Tyler Print Institute and the Artist