This year marks the fifth edition of Art Basel Hong Kong, and there are plenty of things to keep people talking. From the number of galleries—242, with approximately half hailing from the Asia Pacific region—to the all-new Kabinett section, there's no shortage of things to look forward to. We chat to a couple of art insiders ahead of the event to suss out what not to miss.
Founder, McNamara Art Projects
I can’t miss… my new collaborative space with Ivan Pun in Wong Chuk Hang. We’re opening a space in March just before Basel, where we’ll be showing a mixture of my collection and Ivan’s design furniture.
I want to see… the Encounters and Kabinett sectors at Art Basel, as they bring the most interesting and diverse art to Hong Kong.
Surviving Art Week… try and go home before 2am…
When it’s time to relax… I’ll hit the Landmark Mandarin spa!
See also: The Tatler 10: Greg McNamara
Jennifer Caroline Ellis
Head of Projects and Development, Edouard Malingue Gallery
Co-founder, Young Collectors Collective
I can’t miss… Su-Mei Tse’s solo show Elegy at Edouard Malingue Gallery. Tse gained rapid international recognition having represented Luxembourg at the Venice Biennale in 2003 (and won the Lion d’Or!) but this is somehow her first solo show in Hong Kong.
As a Chinese/British artist with a background in music, I think she’ll create a very interesting, subtle and lyrical show that prompts us to think about geographical boundaries and movement across mediums. Otherwise, I always enjoy the Encounters section at Art Basel Hong Kong, curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor.
I want to see… the artists who are in town; you work with them so closely all year round but as everyone is around the world, it can often be at a distance. I really look forward to seeing curator, collector and critic friends who are in town; it’s great to welcome them to “your” city and show them around, not to mention concoct plans for the year ahead.
Surviving Art Week… embrace it, yet pace yourself. This week only descends once a year on Hong Kong so take it all in. That said, partying every night into the wee hours will probably not help your stamina!
When it’s time to relax… I’m not the best at relaxing in the traditional sense of the term. Last year when the fair was over I jumped straight onto a midnight flight to Ethiopia that saw me travelling around the country for a week. This year my plan is to go back to the UK in time for the reopening of the Tate St Ives. Sounds relaxing to me!
Head of Development, Asia Art Archive
I can’t miss… I tend to try to be in bed by 9pm, though during Art Week that gets extended to 10pm. So sadly, I will probably miss a lot of things. Thank goodness for Instagram.
One of the events I’m most excited about is a talk and mini-exhibition by Ho Tzu Nyen at the Asia Art Archive. After many years of labour, he is finally ready to reveal his multimedia project, The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia, Vol. 1: G for Ghost(writers). It is something that speaks to me as someone who has roots in Southeast Asia.
I want to see… my brother, who comes to Hong Kong for the art fairs. He gives me a summary of all the talks that I miss, and he also is a licensed physician so he is very handy for medication purposes! He is also bringing my favourite pair of glasses it seems my naughty three-year-old niece stashed between cushions of my mother’s sofa that we gave up for lost, but were recently excavated.
Surviving Art Week… hydrate and always have snacks on you. Remember to enjoy the art.
When it’s time to relax… the work to support art never stops, so the Monday after is back to the office.