After 5 years of rapid growth the Hong Kong Art Fair this year was rebranded Hong Kong Art Basel. The space is the same, but the price of the entrance ticket has gone up – that’s what branding does. The art fair, a commercial initiative that showcases artwork from Western and Eastern galleries in equal measure, has expanded its reach with additional talks and city-wide events.
Intelligence Squared sparked off ideas with a debate on the value of art. Matthew Collings did a great job as a speaker, and the moderator was excellent, but the best contribution came from the man in the audience who told panelist Amy Capellazzo that her arguments for the market being the best judge of art had ruined, for him, the magic of the wonderful art in the fair!
Hong Kong’s art fair is popular in every sense of the word. Weaving one’s way between $20-a-glass champagne stalls and children’s buggies, some themes seemed to resurface intermittently amongst the 2 floors of world galleries. Here is an illustrated overview:
That thinking machine of ours is probably making a frequent appearance to remind us not to leave all intellectual activity to the automated machines.
Show Through I
Lithography, gampi papers, nylon thread on teak frame, 2009.
Gisant (the Silk Spun in the Brain) by Jan Fabre
Marble sculpture, 2012.
by Tracey Emin
Patinated bronze and wood, 2007.
In 2008, as all things craft were exploding in popularity, a contemporary tapestry exhibition in England led some of the world’s best known artists back to this technique which had been almost forgotten after the Renaissance. A number of examples of the thread weaving art dotted the Asian art fair.
Detail of a large tapestry by Kiki Smith.
Detail of a tapestry by Kimsooja.
Self Portrait as a Coffee Pot III
by William Kentridge and Marguerite Stephens
Mohair tapestry, 2012.
Glitter, beading, rhinestones and other bling
Was it the rise of new money, the influence of different cultures on the global catwalk or a defiance of austerity? Whatever the reason, bling has been giving a shine to the art market in the last decade.
Detail from The Disambiguation of the Myth of the last Shinobi
by Raqib Shaw
Oil, acrylic, enamel, glitter and rhinestones on birch wood, 2011-12.
Cosmic Dust Gold by Kengo Kito
Oil and glitter on canvas, 2013.
by Farhad Moshiri
Glass bead embroidery on canvas, 2013.
An Old Breeze 13-3-2 by Whang Inkie
Car bonnet with pearly rhinestones.
Along with action painting, collage seems to be one of those inexhaustibly inspiring 20th century inventions.
Pietro Ruffo’s photographic collage of an islamic patterned globe is captivating because of the 3D effect achieved by using pins to hold each shape in place.
Maths by Bharti Kher
Bindis on panel, 2012.
Pictures of Magazine 2: Vase of Flowers after Claude Monet
by Vik Muniz
Even some sculptures are a collage, such as the shopping trolley full of scrap metal, Wagon (miles and miles), by Ida Ekblad, or the porcelain pieces by Francesca DiMattio below:
Juicy Abstract paintings
Polyester resin (that glass-like chemical substance that Vietnamese tourist shops pass off as ‘lacquer’) or thickly dripped enamel make for a candy-gloss surface.
I have hated you too much to be grateful of the day
(part of a dyptich) by Ivan Lam
House paint, resin and model submarine on canvas, 2013
Peter Zimmerman pours thick layers of coloured resin over large canvases.
Vanilla, Strawberry by Kenjiro Okazaki
Acrylic on canvas, 2000.
Katharina Grosse plays with enamel paint.
Tiang #2 by Handiwirman Saputra
C-print and acrylic coating on metallic paper, 2012
But the artwork that made most people smile was not in the exhibition centre, it floated happily in Hong Kong bay: Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck