May 13, 2014

Hong Kong Art Basel 2014

Hong Kong becomes an exhilarating citywide art carnival this week with the arrival of Art Basel – the premier international art fair. Galleries, curators, artists and art lovers will all be gathering at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) from May 15-18 to see and to celebrate the world’s preeminent 20th and 21th century art.

Cecilia de Torres , Marta Chilindron, Encounters 2014

Cecilia de Torres , Marta Chilindron, Encounters 2014

Not only will the fair itself be in full swing with its multi media exhibitions and presentations, but artists will also be taking advantage of Hong Kong’s urban landscape with site-specific installations.

The main focus of the fair is the Galleries “sector,” which will feature 245 galleries, 122 of which galleries are from the Asia-Pacific region. New to Art Basel this year is a Film sector. Curated by multi media artist Li Zhenhua, the films featured are by and about artists. Returning from last year is the Insights sector — a curatorial project focused on a solo exhibition where the gallery representing the artist must be based in Asia – while the Discoveries sector will target emerging artists.

The Encounters sector presents large-scale sculptures and installations that are displayed throughout the venue. Curated by Yuko Hasegawa of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, this sector engages and excites the viewer by both its creativity and its large size.

iPreciation, Lee Wen, Encounters 2014

iPreciation, Lee Wen, Encounters 2014

Art will be on display beyond the walls of the HKCEC and the view of Kowloon from Hong Kong Island will be very vibrant for several days. Two artists will take over part of Kowloon – one at the Peninsula Hotel and one at the International Commerce Centre (ICC). British artist Tracey Emin’s installation piece, “My Heart Is With You Always” will occupy the facade of the iconic Peninsula. Inspired by the works of her own handwriting in neon, the titled words are displayed with laser lights for 10 days from 7PM to midnight.

Tracey Emin, Peninsula hotel installation

Tracey Emin, Peninsula hotel installation

Additionally, Magnus Renfrew, the director of Art Basel Hong Kong, has commissioned German artist Carsten Nicolai to create an installation using the towering ICC building as his canvas. Nicolai has reprogrammed the ICC’s existing light system to display his “alpha pulse” light show for 2 hours each night on May 15, 16 and 17, synchronized to a sound piece that can be downloaded to a smart phone.

Carsten Nicolati, ICC installation

Carsten Nicolati, ICC installation

Art Basel Hong Kong, now in its second year, is a welcome validation for the oft-maligned Hong Kong art scene, and it puts Hong Kong squarely on the map as cultural capital not just for Asia, but for the world.

Art Basel in Hong Kong takes place May 15 through 18 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. For additional information, visit

About the Author

Molly Lukins Burke
Molly brings her love of art to Hong Kong from New York City, where she was born and raised. Professionally, Molly has a master’s in art history and has worked at auction houses (Sotheby’s and Christie’s) and art galleries in New York. Before moving to Hong Kong in 2012, Molly was working on the team drafting the Catalogue Raisonné for Jasper Johns’, one of America's most celebrated artists. Personally, Molly is thrilled to be living in Asia's cultural capital with her husband and two children, and is excited to explore what Hong Kong has to offer in local and international art. 


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