Art Basel Hong Kong is just weeks away. Following three years of pandemic-related restrained activities, the highly anticipated annual art fair aims to be back with a bang in all its full-scale glory in 2023. With 177 participating local and international galleries, this year’s edition is set to be the largest since 2019 with the return of the fair’s four special programmes—Encounters, Conversations, Film, and Kabinett.
Remarkably, the Encounters programme is slated to come back to the city’s Art Basel stage with 13 large installations themed “This Present, Moment.”
Curator Alexie Glass-Kantor explains, “Every project in this year’s sector considers in some way how we can hold space—how we might be present—individually and collectively in the singularity and precarity of this moment.”
One of the highlights is Jaffa Lam’s site-specific work Trolley Party, inspired by her childhood memory of female workers. The art installation features 14 metres of patchwork made from recycled fabrics stretching from six chairs made of industrial trollies.
Conversations, as the name implies, is curated for global art market insiders to share their insights on art production, collection, and exhibition. Over 85 international artists, gallerists, curators, critics, and collectors will gather and dive into topics such as synergies between public and private patronage, multipolarity, the influence of Cantopop over art works, humour and critique in the meme culture, and the future of crypto economies. Free of charge, the talks will be held from 22–25 March.
The Film section will offer free admission to eight screenings and 29 video works. The event will begin with the fantasy drama film Memoria by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, winner of the Palme D’or in 2010. Two non-profit organisations dedicated to video art in the region—Videotage and Ghost 2565—will each curate screenings, too.
As for Kabinett, the sector for thematic solo presentations, 15 galleries will take part and showcase exhibitions of works showing a strong Asian focus in their respective booths. In the spotlight are splash ink and monumental landscape paintings by late local artist and ink painter Wesley Tongson, as well as marble works by Chinese artist Hu Qingyan that explore the concept of “emptiness.”
This year will also see a site-specific moving image work, Hand Me Your Trust by Pipilotti Rist, displayed on the M+ Façade. In her work, Rist plays with the concept of the hand in various scales, with hands travelling between objects at different speeds, reflecting Hong Kong’s architectural heritage at the same time. The moving image will be shown in the evening from mid-March to mid-June.
Save the dates and get your tickets here.
23–25 March 2023
1 Expo Drive, HKCEC, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Images courtesy of Art Basel.