26th January 2024 – (Hong Kong) Art Basel, the renowned art fair, is set to make a grand return to Hong Kong from 28th to 30th March, 2024. The highly anticipated event will showcase a total of 243 leading galleries from 40 countries and territories, bringing the fair back to its pre-pandemic scale. Compared to the previous edition, this year’s event will feature an impressive increase of 66 exhibitors, indicating a strong rebound for the art industry.
The Hong Kong edition of Art Basel has always been a platform to celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of global art scenes, with a significant focus on the Asian region. More than half of the participating galleries operate spaces within Asia, reflecting the growing prominence of the continent in the art world.
Among the highlights of this year’s fair is the Encounters section, dedicated to large-scale projects. The theme for this year is “I am a part of all that I have met,” and it showcases 16 artworks, 11 of which have been specially created for Art Basel. This marks the highest number of projects since the inception of Encounters in 2013. Visitors can look forward to captivating exhibits such as South Korean artist Haegue Yang’s anthropomorphic rattan sculptures, Indian artist Jitish Kallat’s intricate drawings combining fire, wind, smoke, and ink, Singaporean sculptor Ming Wong’s table tennis archival footage projected onto semi-spheres, and Naminapu Maymuru-White’s installation inspired by the funerary rites and traditions of the Yolŋu Aboriginal people in northern Australia.
The fair will primarily take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), but the art will extend beyond the venue. For example, Sydney-based Aboriginal artist Daniel Boyd will showcase his work with dots in Pacific Place, while a black-and-white film by Yang Fudong capturing Hong Kong architecture will be screened on the façade of M+. These additional artistic surprises throughout the city promise to enhance the overall experience for visitors.
Participating galleries will present thematic and curated solo presentations by contemporary artists in the Kabinett sector. This year, a record-breaking 33 galleries will take part in this section, with a strong focus on solo projects from the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, in line with the art month events in Hong Kong. Noteworthy displays include Johyun Gallery’s series of paintings by the late South Korean master Park Seo-bo, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space’s installation by Bi Rongrong exploring patterns from different cities and cultures, and Yavuz Gallery’s exploration of organic structures by leading Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak. Other prominent galleries will showcase works by artists such as Loie Hollowell, Kasimir Malevich, and Russian artist Kasimir Malevich from the 1910s and 20s.
Local artists from Hong Kong will also be prominently featured at Art Basel. Mak2 has created a large installation named “Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy,” which explores the themes of duplication and simulation in the age of generative AI. London-based artist Cary Kwok, originally from Hong Kong, will exhibit acrylic and ink paintings addressing themes of queer interaction, domesticity, and art history. These are just a few examples of the exceptional talent from Hong Kong that visitors can discover at the fair.
Art Basel goes beyond visual art, offering a film program that includes 10 screenings in collaboration with Nowness Asia and Videotage. Among the featured films are “A New Old Play,” which reflects on the life of a prominent clown amidst the tumultuous 20th-century China, and “Sorry for the Late Reply,” a single-channel animation by local artist Wong Ping that explores the aspirations and anxieties of Hongkongers. The film program will be open to the public free of charge, providing an opportunity for everyone to engage with the artistry of moving images.
Moreover, Art Basel will host a series of 11 panels and dialogues featuring key figures from the global arts and culture community. Esteemed speakers include Japanese artistic legends Shinro Ohtake and Takashi Murakami, Pi Li (head of art at Tai Kwun), Suhanya Raffel (director of the M+ museum), Eugene Tan (director of the National Gallery Singapore), artist and meme creator Cem A, and many others. These discussions will delve into topics such as building era-defining art collections, decolonizing cultural institutions, and the debate surrounding the importance of artists versus artworks.