On the hunt for the Hong Kong Convention Centre I took a pause in the middle of an overpass to watch the city’s morning traffic whiz under my feet. The skyline here is as far as the eye can see, a brilliant maze of glass skyscrapers which stand perched over the shores of Hong Kong Island. As the day breaks I can see HK’s iconic Star Ferry puttering across from Kowloon, millions of locals muttering TGIF as they whisk themselves to work.
As I approach the convention centre my jaw drops. I spot a massive snake-like line, over two blocks long, which meanders up staircases, down alleys and along the sidewalk. Happy hoards have arrived to pick up their tickets for Asia’s most celebrated annual fair, Art Basel.
In 1970, three Basel gallerists put their passion and determination behind an ambitious vision to form an international art fair. Now, Art Basel stages the worlds premier international art shows (annually in Basel, Miami and Hong Kong), providing an incredible platform for galleries and artists from around the world.
The 2017 show in Hong Kong featured 242 premier galleries from 34 countries and territories. Half of the participating galleries have exhibition spaces in Asia and the Asia Pacific, making the show an unparalleled showcase of art from the region. Now in its fifth edition, Art Basel in Hong Kong continues to serve as a catalyst for the local art scene to flourish year-round by nurturing younger galleries and collectors, and creating connections for them with the fair’s international audience.
I tackled the crowds for four hours, snapping photos of works that inspired me most. While the paintings, sculptures and installations certainly dazzled art fans I was equally as impressed by the fashionistas who tip toed and trotted through the space in their creme de la creme. While a large slice of the Art Basel audience visit to take selfies of themselves beside the likes of Murakami or Minhun, it’s the big spenders skipping through the space while sipping flutes of champagne that make Art Basel Hong Kong more than just a place to look pretty for a picture. It’s the place to buy the world’s most buzzed about art and if you have a penchant for Asian inspirations you’ll find a coveted collection flown in from Taipei to Tokyo.
Here are 20 Must-See Artists From Art Basel Hong Kong:
Joey Leung Ka-yin