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The insider’s guide to Hong Kong’s Arts Month

Veronica Chow speaks to artists, gallerists and Christie’s specialists about what they’ll be seeing and why

What are you most excited about seeing during Arts Month in Hong Kong?

Adrian Wong, artist: ‘I’m always excited to see what Art Basel Hong Kong brings, as it’s a time when local galleries and non-profits put their best foot forward. In particular I’m looking forward to seeing Mami Kataoka’s curatorial project at Duddell’s and the Kadist Foundation’s collaboration with Para Site art space.’

Christoph Noe, director of The Ministry of Art and co-founder of Larry's List: ‘I’m looking forward to Art Basel, but I am also curious about Art Central. The fair has developed nicely over the last editions, and this year there should be some stimulating collaborations with brands.

‘Outside Hong Kong, I enjoyed the Gallery Weekend Beijing (GWB). The timing is perfect, and means international guests have been able to travel on from Beijing to Hong Kong. The organiser, Thomas Eller, is an old friend of mine, and I was excited to see how the proven Berlin Gallery Weekend concept translated to Beijing.’

Kim Tschang-Yeul (b. 1929), Waterdrops, 1975. Oil on canvas. 76.3 x 102.3 in (195 x 260 cm). Courtesy Pearl Lam Galleries

Kim Tschang-Yeul (b. 1929), Waterdrops, 1975. Oil on canvas. 76.3 x 102.3 in (195 x 260 cm). Courtesy Pearl Lam Galleries

Joyce Chan, Christie’s senior specialist in Asian 20th-century and contemporary art: ‘I am really looking forward to Drops, Kim Tschang-Yeul’s solo exhibition at Pearl Lam Gallery (Pedder Building, 21 March to 10 May — see above), which features pieces from the Korean artist’s signature series from the 1970s through to the present. It’s quite rare to have a large-scale exhibition on Japanese and Korean artists in Hong Kong.’

Aric Chen, lead curator of design and architecture at M+: ‘There’s a lot to look forward to at Art Basel Hong Kong, with all the projects and events surrounding it. My colleagues Tina Pang and Chloe Chow have an exhibition, Ambiguously Yours, at the new M+ Pavilion, that looks at the golden era of the 1980s and 1990s in Hong Kong popular culture through the lens of gender. A must-see!’

Pascal de Sarthe, founder of de Sarthe Gallery: ‘I am very excited about Art Basel, which will bring a concentration of international artworks and collectors to Hong Kong for a short period of time. It always creates a great synergy for the Asian art world.’

Michael Lau, artist: ‘Everything surrounding art during March in Hong Kong is exciting to me, because everything is brought together. The only problem is the lack of time. There is just so much happening —  maybe too much sometimes — that it’s almost like an art overdose!’

Are you working on any special projects this month?

Joyce Chan: ‘Christie’s 20th Century and Contemporary Art department presents the FIRST OPEN | Hong Kong auction on 23 March, which introduces a new element in the shape of this work by Matteo Negri. The Italian artist uses Lego as a metaphor for the inherent desire of children to build and create their own personalities. His large-scale sculpture is also very interesting.’

Matteo Negri (Italy, b. 1982), L’Ego Mondrian — Orange Bridge, 2014. Signed Negri (on the reverse). Chromed and laquered iron. 75 x 75 x 20 cm (29½ x 29½ x 7⅞ in). Estimate HK$40,000-80,000. This work is offered in FIRST OPEN  Hong Kong on 23 March at Christie’s in Hong Kong

Matteo Negri (Italy, b. 1982), L’Ego Mondrian — Orange Bridge, 2014. Signed 'Negri' (on the reverse). Chromed and laquered iron. 75 x 75 x 20 cm (29½ x 29½ x 7⅞ in). Estimate: HK$40,000-80,000. This work is offered in FIRST OPEN | Hong Kong on 23 March at Christie’s in Hong Kong

Adrian Wong: ‘I’m very excited to be mounting a large-scale solo exhibition, The Tiger Returns to the Mountain, with K11 Art Foundation, curated by David Chan. It will be a really immersive experience, featuring light and animation. The show has allowed me to experiment with new ways of presentation, and reflects on my personal experiences of the city, so I’m looking forward to seeing it come to fruition. I will also be participating in a group exhibition, Breathing Space  at the Asia Society, where a new work will be unveiled that will be on permanent display from March 2017.’

Pascale de Sarthe: ‘I will be participating at Art Basel Hong Kong for the fourth consecutive year, focusing on Chinese post-war and contemporary art. We will show masterpieces by Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh-Chun, Chen Wen Hsi, Tanaka Atsuko and T’ang Haywen, and contemporary works by Liang Ban, Lin Jingjing, Lu Xinjian, Ma Sibo, Wang Xin and Zhou Wendou, who are all represented by our gallery.


Wang Xin, Artists Can Tell, 2016. Table, chairs, signboard, LED lights, custom bottles, Kool Aid, vodka. 200 x 140 x 160 cm. Courtesy de Sarthe Gallery

Wang Xin, Artists Can Tell, 2016. Table, chairs, signboard, LED lights, custom bottles, Kool Aid, vodka. 200 x 140 x 160 cm. Courtesy de Sarthe Gallery

‘We will also present Reversal Ritual, the inaugural exhibition in our new space in Wong Chuk Hang. This group exhibition is organised by our gallery directors Willem Molesworth and Vincent de Sarthe, and includes work by Liang Ban, Mak Ying Tung, Tong Kunniao, Wang Xin and Xin Yunpeng, highlighting how young Chinese artists have begun to express themselves in reaction to the newly established order of Chinese society. The show features multiple site-specific installations as well as participatory artwork.’

Michael Lau: ‘I will be working on a small exhibition with street-wear brand Carhartt at I.T Hysan in Causeway Bay (23 March to 12 April) around the concept of the relationship between work and play. When you are passionate about something that you enjoy doing as a pastime, play becomes almost like work — or eventually it will really turn into work because you just become so professional about it. When you enjoy what you do, however, work becomes like play. It’s an interesting relationship to explore and express in artwork.’

What exhibitions, events and trends should we be looking out for this year?

Pascale de Sarthe: ‘I’m looking forward to the exhibition .com/.cn, curated by Klaus Biesenbach and Peter Eleey, and co-presented by the K11 Art Foundation and MoMA PS1 at the K11 Art Foundation Pop-up Space at Cosco Tower, at 33 Wing Lok Street. Wang Xin, who is represented by our gallery, will be included in the exhibition. We are also honoured to be taking part in South Island Art Day on Thursday 23 March, which is part of the Art Basel HK VIP program. More than 20 South Island Cultural District (SICD) galleries, art spaces and artist studios will open their doors, serve food and drinks, and host exhibitions, openings and performances.’

Aric Chen: ‘I’m not going to miss Zaha Hadid: There Should Be No End To Experimentation, a show of her early paintings and drawings at ArtisTree, organised by the Serpentine Galleries and Zaha Hadid Design. Anyone who wants to understand Hadid’s work, and the enormous impact it’s had, has to look at these 2D experiments she began in the 1970s — they’re revelatory.’

Adrian Wong: ‘One exciting trend that I’ve noticed this year is a new focus on research-based curatorial and artistic practices. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this, especially at a time when so much is happening socially and politically around the globe. I believe that artists’ voices will be of particular importance at this time in history.’

Christoph Noe: ‘I‘ll share a new trend with you: entertainment. People will collect less as we are transforming to a sharing economy. So we will see new monetisation models for the art market.’