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Art Basel concludes a resonant 2023 edition in Hong Kong

-Editorial

Art Basel concluded the 2023 edition of its Hong Kong show, which was marked by brisk sales throughout the week and across all levels of the market, and a celebration of its tenth anniversary in the city and its ever-flourishing arts scene.

Staged across two floors of the HKCEC for the first time since 2019, the show brought together 177 galleries from across the world – a significant increase from 130 galleries in 2022 – and saw the return of all special sectors, including Encounters, Film, Kabinett, and Conversations. 42 galleries rejoined the fair following a hiatus during the pandemic, while 22 galleries made their debut at the fair. For the first time, Encounters extended beyond the show floor, showcasing a large-scale inflatable sculpture of King Tut by Awol Erizku in Hong Kong’s Pacific Place. The work was presented by Ben Brown Fine Arts and supported by Swire Properties, the Official Partner of off-site Encounters.

Leading private collectors from 70 countries and territories attended the fair and explored the city’s diverse cultural offerings, as did museum directors, curators, and patrons from over 100 international museums and institutions, including Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; M+, Hong Kong; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; Serpentine Galleries, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York; Tate, London; UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; and The Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

Deepening its commitment to showcasing the breadth of exceptional art from across Asia and the Asia Pacific, the fair featured over two-thirds of participating galleries with exhibition spaces in the region, including 33 galleries having exhibition spaces in Hong Kong. Galleries from mainland China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan continued to have a strong presence at the show, while galleries from India and Southeast Asia also presented compelling booths that attracted fair visitors.

Beyond the HKCEC, Hong Kong residents and international visitors enjoyed Pipilotti Rist’s site-specific moving image work ‘Hand Me Your Trust’ projected on the façade of M+, commissioned by M+ and supported by Art Basel and UBS. The façade was set within the undulating architectures of Hong Kong’s world-famous skyline along Victoria Harbour and incorporated Rist’s typically vivid color palettes and freeform camera work, echoing the dynamic shifts of the scale of Hong Kong’s urban landscape.

Additional public programming included the Film program at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, featuring 29 video works curated by multimedia artist and producer Li Zhenhua, as well as special screenings curated by Videotage and Ghost 2565, two important non-profit video art organizations in Asia. Conversations, curated by author and editor Stephanie Bailey, featured 15 roundtable discussions and more than 85 speakers on topics such as art and mental health, solidarity beyond feminism, art after Sinofuturism, Cantopop, performance, and many more. Both Film and Conversations were free to the public.

‘This was our first show since Hong Kong lifted all pandemic measures, and the excitement and energy in the halls – and across the city – were extraordinary,’ says Angelle Siyang- Le, Director, Art Basel Hong Kong. ‘We are truly grateful for the commitment of our galleries and the art community here in Hong Kong, which has wholeheartedly pulled out all the stops to offer visitors a vibrant cultural program, morning to night and all week long. More than ever before, our show reinforces its pivotal role in the region, uniquely bridging the art scenes across Asia and beyond.’

‘This week marked Hong Kong’s grand reopening after three years of pandemic-related challenges, with our show reaffirming its position as the apex cultural moment in the region,’ says Noah Horowitz, CEO, of Art Basel. ‘Collectors from Hong Kong, mainland China, across Asia, and further afield came out in force, and it is truly exciting to witness the extraordinary growth and vitality of the local art scene, bolstered by a new generation of collectors and the opening of world-class institutions. Once again, Hong Kong demonstrated its uncontested position as the leading art market hub in Asia and its critical importance within global trade.’

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