Each March, art aficionados and collectors flock to Hong Kong to attend the crème-de-la-crème of the art scene. Countless rows of exhibitions boast everything from classic to contemporary in the fine art world, with ticket prices to match. But if you’re looking to experience art beyond Basel, there’s a whole host of other events going on throughout the city, and we’ve rounded up a list to keep the culture vulture in you at bay.
Art week kicks off on March 20th with Art Gallery Night. Hosted by the city’s Art Gallery Association, this is the perfect networking event for those with a passion for art looking to learn more about the city’s artists, and learn the remainder of the year’s cultural calendar. Participating galleries are throughout the city, making it easy to pick your district and head over to the art open night, to start the week in style.
The top-biller during Art Month is the global art fair which brings with it more than 240 exhibitors to Hong Kong this year. Our best Basel advice, particularly if it’s your first visit? Think ahead. While you can buy a weekend pass at the door, the first-come-first-serve basis may leave you walking away empty-handed. The fair is open from March 23rd to 25th, with the Vernissage held on the Wednesday evening.
With a focus on contemporary art from around the region, the tented-enclosure on the Central Harbourfront now hosts 100 galleries, with a food fair on-site to keep bellies filled and browsers satiated. The five-day fair (held from March 21st-25th) boasts a wide array of programmes including talks, performances, and film screenings, so be sure to check the program list ahead of your visit.
Stepping away from interiors and exhibition centres, HKwalls takes the fair out to the streets; painting the town during art week each year with a street art festival. This year, the third installation of the festival is held in Wong Chuk Hang, their first-ever industrial location, from the 18th to the 26th. Featuring a whole host of local talent, artist’s talks, projections live screen printing, film screenings and more, this is not a festival to miss.
Other Art events this month
Art week in Hong Kong spawns countless events, exhibition openings, and fairs and creates an entangled web that can be hard to enter, should you be new to the festivities. We’ve rounded up the key galleries to visit to give you a flavour of the art happenings in the city outside of the month’s big hitters.
The gallery’s newly opened, 10,000 square foot space in Southside unveils its maiden exhibition on March 23rd. The group show features pieces by emerging Chinese artists Liang Ban, Mak Yin Tung, Tong Kunniao, Wang Xin and Xin Yunpeng, centred around the premise of ‘carnivalesque’ and the ideal of a parallel world free from the restrictions of social constructions and constraints.
Art Experience welcomes Chinese artist Xiao Yu for her first show in the gallery. A selection of prints will be on display until April 6th, which reflect themes that have occurred throughout the artist’s life in a very personal, inward-looking exhibition. The artist combines innovation and intimacy with traditional printmaking methods, presented within the walls of a gallery on the outskirts of the city, overlooking the Tsing Ma Bridge.
The Central-based gallery opens a dual-exhibition by Roland Flexner and Ai Weiwei, drawing out questions of control, and what can influence the outcome of artistic creation. Until May 14th, a selection of ink paintings from Flexner are displayed alongside a newly commissioned Lego piece by Ai, as well as a painting series that has never before been displayed to the public, dating back to the artist’s time in New York.
For those who aren’t ingrained in the art-scene year-round, the white walls of a gallery may be intimidating at first. But not all art in the city is to be found in galleries. Queue Bit.fall; a show by conceptual artist Julius Popp on display until April 6th. The installation piece uses an algorithm to display the most searched word on the Internet, using hundreds of water droplets, questioning the impermanence of information. The piece had previously been displayed in New York’s Museum of Metropolitan Art and during the 2012 London Olympics.
The last exhibition to be held in ArtisTree before the gallery moves to another location is a retrospective show on the late architect, Zaha Hadid. Until April 6th, the space features a video installation featuring highlights of Hadid’s architectural designs over the last 25 years, a series of calligraphic drawings, which inspired her creations, and private sketchbooks, which are rarely displayed.
By Amanda Sheppard