Seven Pieces That Stole the Show at Art Basel Hong Kong

This year's Hong Kong edition of Art Basel was bigger, more glorious and more engaging than ever.

People are a busy art fair
Art Basel Hong Kong 2024. Courtesy Art Basel Hong Kong

I can conclusively say that Art Basel Hong Kong, with its incredible focus on Asia-Pacific’s diversity of art, is back to its former pre-Covid glory. Is it the heart and soul of the art market in the region? That I can’t say, but Art Basel Hong Kong 2024, which closed on March 30, definitely felt busy and buzzy—even with the new security law that went into effect in Hong Kong a mere few days before the fair opened.

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A copious crop of 242 exhibitors from 40 countries and territories descended upon the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center this year, up from 171 in 2023. Notably, there was a 37 percent increase in first-time galleries. And of course, tens of thousands of collectors, art fans, gallerists, seekers of inspiration and sundry VIPs were in attendance, strolling the corridors with opinions and eyes ready for afflatus.

“Anecdotally, I’ve never seen more expensively well-dressed women in the most sublime and understated couture accessorized by only a handbag and great shoes anywhere else on the contemporary art circuit,” Judith Tatar, Founder and Creative Director at Tatar Art Projects, told Observer.

Perhaps apt descriptors for the fair itself? Energetic, excited and understated—this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong was less pretentious and more collaborative with plenty of optimism. The future, it dazzles.

SEE ALSO: A Guide to All the 2024 April Art Fairs

“There was incredible anticipation heading into this week and it was wonderful to see Art Basel Hong Kong back at full strength,” Nick Simunovic, Senior Director at Gagosian, said, adding that the gallery saw steady sales driven by collectors from Asia—many of whom made the trip to Hong Kong. “The enthusiasm across the city was palpable, with countless events and openings taking place over the past several days.”

Nothing like some art and creativity to make the world a happier place! And in that spirit, here are some of the most uplifting works of art this Observer correspondent saw at the fair.

Jim Hodges, Unfolding in the wonder of your galaxy (2023)

An artwork of gold filigree on canvas
Jim Hodges, ‘Unfolding in the wonder of your galaxy’ (2023). Alessandro Zambianchi

If you’re ever looking for something shiny to brighten up your day, you could do worse than Jim Hodges’ delicate composition of 24K gold on a massive primed linen panel sold by dealer Massimo De Carlo.

Iván Navarro, Shard (2021)

An artwork of many colors in a wooden frame
Iván Navarro, ‘Shard’ (2021). Courtesy Galerie Templon

The Chilean artist Iván Navarro, represented by Galerie Templon, gave fairgoers a little magic to get lost in with his colorful and absorbing work crafted with LED lights, paint, mirrors and electric energy.

Waqas Khan, Till we meet again (2024)

A blue on blue painting
Waqas Khan, ‘Till we meet again’ (2024). Courtesy Sabrina Amrani

Sometimes bigger is better, and this year, the Encounters sector, which is dedicated to large-scale works, was all about how time and experience are related. Included in the pieces showcased was Pakistani artist Waqas Khan’s strikingly blue minimalist ink-on-canvas creation, with its mesmerizing and mysterious shapes, that was sold by Sabrina Amrani.

Kingsley Ng, Esmeralda (2024)

Colorful strips of fabric hang in front of a large building
Kingsley Ng, ‘Esmeralda’ (2024). Courtesy the Peninsula Hotel

An afternoon tea stop plus some art? Delightful. The grand dame of Hong Kong, the Peninsula Hotel, launched its Art in Resonance commission-based program in 2019 in collaboration with Art Basel to support emerging and mid-career artists with funding and curatorial guidance. One of this year’s artists is Hong Kong’s Kingsley Ng, who created the site-specific kinetic installation for the iconic facade of the hotel.

Louise Bourgeois, Untitled (The Wedges) (1950)

A metal sculpture
Louise Bourgeois, ‘Untitled (The Wedges)’ (1950). Courtesy Hauser & Wirth

As always, Hauser & Wirth showed exceptional works by masters like Louise Bourgeois. Her geometric Untitled (The Wedges), a tower of red and white bronze and stainless steel from her landmark Personages series, attracted a lot of positive attention.

Kwan Lok Chan, Beyond Sea (2024)

A pen and ink drawing
Kwan Lok Chan, ‘Beyond Sea’ (2024). Courtesy Grotto Fine Art

Old is always new again at the major art fairs, and Hong Kong has a long history of ink artistry. Now there is a new generation of ink artists nodding to the past while shaping the medium’s future by combining elements of contemporary painting with the ancient art of calligraphy, Chinese landscape painting and figurative sketching. Kwan Lok Chan’s Beyond Sea is a beautiful proof of concept.

Alex Israel, REMEMBR (2023)

Alex Israel, ‘REMEMBR’ (2023). Courtesy Gagosian and BMW

Gagosian always delivers, and the gallery’s interactive video installation by Alex Israel did not disappoint. REMEMBR is on view for the first time in Asia, and here the artist worked closely with BMW to develop A.I. technology that collects, filters and composes content from a smartphone’s camera roll. Want to see it in person? The work will make its European debut in June at Gagosian, London.

 

Seven Pieces That Stole the Show at Art Basel Hong Kong