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At one of the many entrances to Art Basel in Hong Kong, a giant, striped egg-like form sits in the center of a mirrored square platform. The artwork is Korean artist Kimsooja’s 2016 work Deductive Object, which was inspired by Indian Brahmanda stones, which are polished into an ovoid shape, covered by traditional Korean colors usually referred to as obangsaek. The massive installation is part of the Encounters sector at the fair, which showcases a selection of large-scale works curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor.
The fifth annual Art Basel in Hong Kong, which runs until March 25, opened to the public yesterday after two days of previews. The 2017 edition of the fair features 242 galleries from 34 countries and across two levels of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Twenty-nine galleries are new to the fair, including The Third Line from Dubai, kurimanzutto from Mexico City, and Luxembourg & Dayan in New York. About 50 percent of the galleries are from the region, like Tokyo’s Yumiko Chiba Associates, Manila’s Silverlens, and Hong Kong’s Galerie du Monde. Art-world luminaries like Christo, who has an installation in Galerie Gmurzynska, Luc Tuymans, who has a painting up at David Zwirner, Jeffrey Deitch, Klaus Biesenbach, and Sarah Arison were among the visitors to the fair during its preview days.
A strong selection of works related to Asia were shown at the fair, like at New York’s Sean Kelly Gallery, where striped works were made from plastic sacks by American artist Hugo McCloud salvaged from garbage dumps during a residency at Bellas Artes Projects in the Philippines. At kurimanzutto, a piece by Rirkrit Tiravanija consisting of five kilograms of rice cast in silver sat in a square shape on the floor of the stand. Gagosian showed a large-scale work by Takashi Murakami. Filipino artist Gregory Halili responded to the tumultuous events in the Philippines and and abroad by carving the eyes of the Lady of Sorrow into mother of pearl, using the shell’s deformities to represent tears at Silverlens. At Almine Rech Gallery, a colorful 2014 impasto oil on canvas by Zhu Jinshi hung on the wall. Nonagenarian Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian showed what she considers her “final masterpiece”—a glorious mosaic globe—at Dubai gallery The Third Line. “Basel continues to showcase the best galleries and art from around the region,” said Art Basel in Hong Kong director Adeline Ooi.
Blue-chip artists dominated the fair. Fairgoers continuously stopped by Skarstedt to view paintings by George Condo, while Lucio Fontana was up at both Mazzoleni and Luxembourg & Dayan. Lévy Gorvy showed works by Pablo Picasso, René Magritte, and Frank Stella, whose dynamic rainbow-hued 1974 painting Lettre sur les sourds et muets I, kept on attracting attention on Instagram. At Sean Kelly, a Joseph Beuys suit hung on the wall.
The energy at the fair showed that the momentum around Art Basel in Hong Kong will only continue to grow in coming years.