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Art Basel Hong Kong 2015 | Part I

It’s taken a while for this Art Basel post with my busy month of school work but it’s finally here! This was my second time attending the fair and I really enjoyed myself again. Art Basel Hong Kong offers a broad range of artworks that runs the gamut from impressive to amusing to introspective, and this year’s edition was no different.

As with last year, I’ve given in to the fact that I would miss some works that I would have really really wanted to see but the halls are just too big not to miss some here and there. The art fair is split into two exhibition halls, Hall 1 and 3, at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre and this post is dedicated to Hall 1!


Qin Jun, void G-1, 2015, acrylic on canvas, White Space Beijing



Zhou Jie, Wonderful Plan, 2015, steel wire, Bejing Art Now Gallery

Zhou creates a room setting with a multi-colored wall and floor with steel panels sticking out and up, along with armchairs and a small table, a pair of slippers and a rabbit “soft” toy! I found the rabbit an adorable touch. :)


Keisuke Tanaka, Black Box, 2015, camphor tree, Yamamoto Gendai

I have a compulsion to stick a picture in the frame when I see this, but the details are all in the frame itself!


Motohiko Odani, Aero Former – The Thinking Ground, 2014, cast aluminium, Yamamoto Gendai


Thilo Heinzmann, O. T., 2014, oil, pigment on canvas behind plexiglass cover, Carl Freedman Gallery


Julian Opie, Sport man, 2014; Woman texting with man looking on, 2013; Checkered umbrella, 2014 (left to right), silkscreen on painted wooden board, Gerhardsen Gerner

There were plenty of works by Opie at the fair and I’m a new fan! I love cities, so Opie’s works based on contemporary city life are right up my alley.


Georg Herold, Untitled, 2014, aluminium, lacquer, Gerhardsen Gerner


Joseph Kosuth, P.G. #9, 1991, warm white neon directly mounted to the wall, Lia Rumma


Ettore Spalletti, Parole di colore, rosso porpora, 2011, mixture of color on panel, Lia Rumma

I have to say I’m not a fan of color field painting, which started in the 1950s and is part of the art period Abstract Expressionism. So this contemporary take is not a particular favorite, but I do like the color! I wonder how many selfies were taken with this…


Erik Schmidt, White Night Dream, 2015, oil on canvas, carlier gebauer


Hrair Sarkissian, istory (No. 5); istory (No. 8) (left to right), 2011, archival inkjet print, Kalfayan Galleries


Nina Papaconstantinou, Giorgos Cheimonas, Peisistratus, 2011; Karagatsis, 2010; Nikos Kavvadias, 2011; Miltos Sachtouris, Colorwounds (clockwise from top left), 2011, carbon copy on paper, Kalfayan Galleries


Hrair Sarkissian, Stand Still, 2009, archival inkjet print, Kalfayan Galleries

I really like this one! I found the stillness striking, and that was before I read its apt title.



Brendan Huntley, all Untitled, Tolarno Galleries

I found this row of small sculptures both quirky and weird, but I found it interesting how they were distinct from each other when viewed from both the front and back. Three out of this row of seven had already been sold on the day I went to the fair, as you can see from the stickers on their didactic panels. Which would you have chosen? ;)


Tim Maguire, Trees and Snow ITrees and Snow IITrees and Snow IIITrees and Snow IV, Trees and Snow V, 2014, latex ink on paper, framed, Tolarno Galleries


Seungyul Oh, DottoriDottori, 2014, fiberglass; PeripheryPeriphery, 2015, acrylic on canvas, One and J. Gallery

Oh’s works are so cute and lively! The two Periphery with their color blocking borders and the two Dottori that look like acorns to me seem so random when placed together but it works, don’t you think?


Henning Strassburger, Think Radically, 2015, Sies + Höke


Li Qiang, 2014 visual diary, 2014, oil on canvas, Mizuma Art Gallery


Meng Huang, Space 4, Space 1, Space 2, Space 3, 2009, oil on canvas, Galerie Urs Meile


Xu Longsen, Beholding the Mountain with Awe No. 1, 2008-09, ink on paper, Hanart TZ Gallery; Wang Keping, Les Spectateurs (Man and Woman), 1999, wood, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery; Shooshie Sulaiman, SEA Brothers Rubber Estate of 16 March, 2005, rubber sheets, wood structures and zinc roofing, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Encounters (back to front)

One of the highlights of Art Basel is its Encounters sector that specially feature sculptures and installations that are both attention-grabbing and eye-catching. It’s really something when you reach these designated spaces in the exhibition halls and see the massive artworks! And they make great markers for navigating the endless maze of white gallery booths, HAHAHA.


Anish Kapoor, Untitled, Gladstone Gallery

I think it’s going to become a tradition of mine to take a selfie with a mirrored artwork at every Hong Kong edition of Art Basel. Unconventionally, Kapoor’s piece offers an upside down selfie. Pictured here is my sister Kylene ( and I!


Kukje Gallery / Tina Kim Gallery

I can’t find the details of this piece but it’s a video/moving image piece showing people walking. Its placement beside Opie’s artwork pictured below is just perfect!


Julian Opie, Walking in Sinsa-dong. 1., 2014, silkscreen on painted wooden board, Kukje Gallery / Tina Kim Gallery

Sinsa-dong is a neighborhood (‘dong’ meaning neighborhood in Korean) in the district of Gangnam, Seoul. I’ve never been to Seoul but Kylene told me that Opie’s depiction of the people’s clothes here is accurate, with the women’s love for wedges and the guys with their baseball caps. I love these small details!


Anselm Kiefer, Untitled (under glass), 2007, mixed media on canvas, Kukje Gallery / Tina Kim Gallery


Siobhán Hapaska, Intifada, 2014, olive trees, aluminium, electric motors, electric cable, Kerlin Gallery

Hapaska’s installation was part of the Encounters sector and it features vibrating olive trees attached to electric motors. I found the noise generated from the electric motors annoying but you could say that was the desired effect. The Arabian word Intifada literally means ‘shaking off,’ but also has popular associations with rebellion or resistance. This installation however intends to convey an idea of “‘shaking off,’ which limits a better future.” (Information taken from the Encounters brochure.)


Tracey Emin, I Fell in Love here, 2014, neon, Lehmann Maupin

Emin has a large range of works but my favorite is definitely her neon word series with short sentences that cut straight to the point and are just striking.

UPDATE: Do check out Artsy’s comprehensive page on Tracey Emin here to know more about Emin and view more of her works! Artsy’s Tracey Emin page contains a short bio, a selection of art pieces including neon ones like I Fell in Love here, information about her recent exhibitions, and other articles by the Artsy team. Of course, Artsy also has many other artist pages and useful information that I’m always looking up myself! :)


Tim Rollins and K.O.S., A Midsummer Night’s Dream (after Shakespeare and Mendelssohn), 2014, watercolor, ink, fruit juices, Thai mulberry paper, collage, mustard seed, music score pages on canvas, Lehmann Maupin


Mary Corse, Untitled (White Inner Band, Beveled), 2012, glass microspheres in acrylic on canvas, Lehmann Maupin


Teresita Fernández, Golden (Constellation 1), 2015, gold chroming and india ink on wood panel, Lehmann Maupin

Love this! Love love love love love.


Adel Abdessemed, Queen Mary II (le fils), 2007, metal, David Zwirner


Jeff Koons, Buster Keaton, 1988, polychromed wood, David Zwirner

Buster Keaton (1895-1966) was a famous American actor and iconic figure who probably doesn’t need any introduction but who I honestly have not heard of before. The name ‘Franz Wieser’ is imprinted at the bottom of this sculpture but I can’t find any information on what it might possibly mean.


John Baldessari, Beethoven’s Trumpet (With Ear), Opus 127, 2007, resin, fiberglass, bronze, aluminium, and electronics, Marian Goodman Gallery


Pace Gallery

Funny scenes at Art Basel Hong Kong…


Alexander Calder, Untitled, c, 1952, sheet metal, wire and paint, Pace Gallery

I love mobiles and I first saw one, also by Calder, at last year’s Art Basel Hong Kong. Calder’s mobiles are back again but I really wish to see more of them in the general art scene!


Alexander Calder, Untitled, 1972, sheet metal, wire and paint, Pace Gallery


Pablo Picasso, Buste de Femme Couchee, 1939, pencil on paper, Pace Gallery


Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1968, acrylic on paper mounted on masonite, Pace Gallery

Art Basel Hong Kong always brings in 20th century modern art and it’s really nice to see works from artists I learned about in class in real life! I think Picasso is a genius, but I didn’t like Rothko’s color field paintings so much and seeing his work here didn’t change my mind.



Xu Bing, Book from the Ground: From • to •, 2012, book, Eslite Gallery


Xu Bing, Men, Nursery, Women sign, 2000, screenprint, Eslite Gallery


Xu Bing, Book from the Ground, 2012, print, Eslite Gallery


Xu Bing, An Introduction to Square Word Calligraphy, Printed Textbook, 2000, woodblock hand-printed book and ink rubbings with wood cover; water-based ink on grass paper, Eslite Gallery

Before seeing Xu’s works here, I had the chance to hear Xu speak about his work at Asia Society Hong Kong’s Conversations with Artists event. He intentionally chose not to speak about his square word calligraphy work, and it was his other works that won me over. He mentioned his Phoenix installation which is absolutely stunning!

Anyway, I still find his square word calligraphy and book from the ground series very innovative. Book from the Ground: From • to • is also lovely because – it’s a pretty stack of books! Any book lover will understand, haha!


Dzine (Carlos Rolón), Around the way, 2013, mixed media: metal, 24Kt. gold leaf, glass, mirror, vintage jewelry, quartz crystals, and latex, Leeahn Gallery


Damien Hirst, Singapore, 2014, scalpel blades, skin graft blades, zips, stitching needles, aluminium fillings, pins, stainless steel studs, safety pins and gloss paint on canvas, White Cube

This crowd favorite gave me a vague sense of familiarity when I first saw it and it turned out to be an aerial view of Singapore! Hirst certainly got it well mapped.


Edmund de Waal, breathturn, II, 2013, 416 porcelain vessels in aluminium and plexiglass cabinet, Gagosian Gallery


Zeng Fanzhi, Untitled, 2012, oil on canvas; Untitled, 2014, cast silver, Gagosian Gallery


Piotr Uklański, Untitled (Nightflight to Venus), 2014, agate, coal, bismuth, chrysophase, electroplated gold thread and embroidery floss on velvet; Untitled (Immortal Enlightenment), 2014, electroplated embroidery thread, cotton, polyester embroidery floss, healing crystals, minerals, ceramic beads and glue on velvet, Gagosian Gallery



Nezaket Ekici, Emotion in Motion, London, 2013, performance installation, video performance, Pi Artworks



Nilo Ilarde, Faulty Landscape, 2002-2015, installation made from discarded paint tube caps, Artinformal

This ‘landscape of painting’ is fantastic – paint tube caps fill the entire wall of the booth, empty paint tubes spill out of a box, and the center display shows many tubes of paint in various colors, some in the shape of pressed paint tubes. Ilarde’s words on the wall sound a little sad, but I really like the novelty of his work.


Yoshitomo Nara, The Mini Puff Marshies (yellow), 2006, FRP (fibre-reinforced plastic), Johnen Galerie

It’s yellow, and it’s puffy! Kylene told me it reminded her of baos (Chinese buns) especially from the back (seen in the cover picture), HAHAHA.


Rodney Graham, Cylindro-chromatic Abstraction Construction #20, Cylindro-chromatic Abstraction Construction #19 (left to right), 2014, gouache auf Holz, gerahmt – gouache on wood, framed, Johnen Galerie


Wen Ling, Star Gallery


Mika Tajima, Furniture Art (Marseille), Furniture Art (Peshawar), Furniture Art (Carrefour), Furniture Art (Naoshima), Furniture Art (Venice), Furniture Art (Santiago de los Caballeros), 2015, spray enamel, thermoformed acrylic, Eleven Rivington


Taeyoon Kim, Evermore, 2014-15, customized software, multi-channel display, supported by LG Ultra HD TV, One and J. Gallery

Kim’s video installation in the Encounters sector is actually very cute, with bouncy polka dots floating around in a blue space. While taking a look at the didactic panel though, I also had to commend the general Korean talent for product placement.


Gao Weigang, Consume, 2014, stainless steel, titanium, Shanghai Gallery of Art


Robert Longo, Untitled (Belaggio), 2013, charcoal on mounted paper, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

I still can’t believe this is not a photograph or at least some kind of digital piece. How does this look like charcoal at all!



Farhad Moshiri, Spin, 2013, embroidery on canvas, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

I can’t say I like this artwork much, but I found the use of beads and sequins in forming this large image very impressive.


Myungkeun Koh, Duomo, 2014, digital film 3D-collage, plastic, Gallery Skape


Guan Yong, Untitled, 2014, oil on canvas, Magician Space


Li Jinghu, Counting Stars, 2005, roof tile, Magician Space

I was enamored with this artwork with its star shapes and the roof tile material. The bittersweet story behind it made me love it even more. It represents Li’s fond memories of sitting on the rooftops of now torn-down houses counting the stars, back in his home in Dongguan, Changan. There’s always news about the rapid development in China and its demolishment of old towns and villages, but it’s real stories like these that get to me.


Liu Shiyuan, Andersen’s Contemporary

This rocking chair on balloons was an Instagram favorite! I really wonder how this works, since the balloons never burst.


Spencer Finch, Aldebaran, 2014, powder-coated steel and fluorescent light, James Cohan Gallery


Claudio Parmiggiani, Senza Titolo, 1995, plaster and cadmium yellow pigments, Meessen De Clercq

I think seeing this, people will think of Michelangelo’s David, a Renaissance sculpture made in the years 1501-1504. The 16th century in Western art history saw a revival of the Classical (Greco-Roman) tradition, one of its identifying features being the interest in rendering and idealizing the human body. Later on in the 19th century, marked by the onset of modernity, artists rejected the Classical tradition.

But really, the best way to show your rejection of the Classical tradition would be to behead a human sculpture…


Fabrice Samyn, Untitled, 2014, oil and turpentine on canvas, Meessen De Clercq


Shintaro Miyake, Excursions in Asia – Hong Kong, 2015, ink and acrylic on board, Tomio Koyama Gallery


Shintaro Miyake, Excursions in Asia – Singapore, 2015, ink and acrylic on board, Tomio Koyama Gallery

Miyake was actually on-site painting but I missed seeing him! I like how he incorporates real details of both places in his works, but I prefer his interpretation of Singapore to that of Hong Kong.


Poklong Anading, Counter Acts II, 2012/2014, chromogenic transparency in lightbox, 1335Mabini


Poklong Anading, Anonymity, 2004-12, chromogenic transparency in lightboxes, set of nine images, 1335Mabini


Thomas Demand, Bloom, 2014, C-print / Diasec, Sprüth Magers Berlin London


Andreas Gursky, SH IV, 2014, Sprüth Magers Berlin London

I really like this but it has an aura of enigma to it. At the eye level, you see the glassy building for miles before spotting the two small figures at the bottom. There’s a figure all in black, and he’s facing a person dressed in what looks to be like a Spiderman suit. I actually really like Spiderman. Anyway, there’s no clear logic or reason to this and the title just adds to my confusion but I really like it!

There’s always a fun energy at Art Basel Hong Kong and I’m always happy to see so many great works of art. Part II will be up next, featuring artworks from Hall 3! In the meantime, check out my sister Kylene’s witty post Overheard at Art Basel Hong Kong on! ;D

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