Art Basel Hong Kong 2024 better than ever, promises director – themes include

“For the younger generation, I can only speak for Asia, they now have the spending power. The younger generation is now taking power, either in family businesses or by setting up their own businesses,” she says.

Visitors admire “A Boy and Someone from Nowhere” by Gongkan at Art Basel Hong Kong in 2022. Photo: Nora Tam

“They are also educating the older generation, their parents, who probably collected san shui [landscape paintings] or ink and antiquities, about how to collect art. This is a phenomenon especially true for Asia, that the younger generation is becoming more dominant, at least when it comes to art collection.”

Noting this trend, Amy Lo, the co-head of wealth management Asia Pacific at UBS, says the bank is adding a second lounge this year at the fair to cater specifically for this demographic.

Art fair director on why ‘you don’t need to be scary’ to be seen as strong

“In terms of content, you will find that there is a lot more injected into the show compared to pre-pandemic levels,” says Siyang-Le.

While the guiding principle of the art fair since the beginning was to have 50 per cent of galleries with homes in Asia, this year’s ratio of the gallery roster will be around 53 per cent.

The Encounter sector of the art fair, which showcases large-scale artworks, is to be the strongest yet. Eleven out of the 16 artworks are newly created for Art Basel Hong Kong.

A visitor looks at “Perceptions” (2017) by Gabriel Barredo at Art Basel Hong Kong in 2017. Photo: Nora Tam
One prominent theme is the dialogue and tension between the East and the West. South Korean artist Haegue Yang’s site-specific installation piece – an original commission for the fair – is one example.

“Haegue Yang’s work talks about how Western culture has been the dominant culture … and how the model is evolving in today’s society,” says Siyang-Le.

“There will be a lot of projects this year on-site talking about our position now, in the Asian contemporary art scene versus the models in the West, and how we are going to proceed in the next decade … the Encounters sector will take a lot of ground space on site.”

“Flying Angels II” by Heri Dono at Art Basel Hong Kong in 2021. Photo: Nora Tam

The art fair, which will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island, is one of many highlights of what is now branded “Art Week”. The satellite Art Central fair, for instance, will return to its harbourfront site for the first time since 2019.

A new, moving image piece will debut on the outside of the M+ museum on March 22. Presented by UBS and co-commissioned by Art Basel and M+, Sparrow on the Sea by Yang Fudong uses cinema techniques from the 1990s and will feature scenes of old Hong Kong. The film will be shown until June 9.

Around 1,000 key figures in the arts and culture industries from around the world will be attending the International Cultural Summit organised by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority on March 25 and 26.

A still from Yang Fudong’s “Sparrow on the Sea”. Photo: M+/Yang Fudong

Non-art-related events will take place in Hong Kong around the same time. Some…

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