Sunday, May 30, 2010

Art (fair) in Hong Kong

Kawaii-neh?! Takashi Murakami's smiley flowers
(on display at the Gagosian Gallery booth)
put a smile on my face

Also colorfully catching the eye was this work
by Finnish artist HC Berg (on display
over at Galerie Forsblom's booth)

A smidgen of the crowd at the art fair
in the vicinity of
Douglas Young's sculptural pieces
that were
inspired by Hong Kong tenements

As quite a few of my friends (including some visitors to this blog) know, my Sundays in Hong Kong are often reserved for going hiking or, at the very least, out and about to some place greener and less central and filled with crowds than those areas which can be found on Hong Kong tourist maps. However, rain was forecast for this Sunday -- and the forecast actually has turned out to be correct -- and then there's the not insignificant fact that this is the weekend of Art HK 10, the third edition of an international art fair that this year has over 150 exhibitors from 29 countries.

Art HK 10 opened to the public on Thursday (and today is its final day) but, as gweipo has reported, its vernissage was held on the Wednesday evening before that. Like her, I had my first taste of this year's edition of the international art fair that Wednesday evening -- but, put off by a crowd filled with people who looked and acted as though they wanted to get more attention than the art on display, I decided to leave after just an hour at the event that evening.

Fortunately, I also had a ticket that gave me unlimited entry for the rest of the time that the art fair was open to the public. So I returned yesterday for a few hours and again today for another couple of hours to enjoy viewing the art on display -- which, even if not uniformly great (or even, if truth be told, good), also was by no means all bad.

On a cultural (as opposed to Cultural) note: I found it interesting to see how international the art world really is. For one thing, it wasn't just that the majority of the participating galleries are located outside of Hong Kong but, also, that establishments from places like Scandinavia and Turkey were among that number rather than elsewhere in East Asia or London and New York. For another, rather than only offer up works by artists from their home territories, galleries such as, say, Istanbul's Galerist also showed works by Korean artists and Welshman Julian Opie, whose works also featured at last year's Art HK 09.

Something else that I found really cool was the number of children attending the international art fair -- as well as how large the crowds were for the event as a whole. And yes, I realize that an art fair is a commercial art event -- and that one indisputable measure of its success is how much of the work on display manages to find buyers. Still, it doesn't mean that those who don't (have the money and/or inclination to) buy can't enjoy viewing what was on display while they were on public display too, right? :)


ewaffle said...

Big art shows can be great. There is always the chance of encountering an unexpected masterpiece--or at least a work that one really likes--and the people watching can be choice although you seem to enjoy that aspect of it less than some. Like me. I have always enjoyed checking out the ebb and flow of a crowd at events like this, particularly in the company of a catty friend or two, watching the clusters of who's who, who was who and who the hell is that.

The sculpture by Donald Young seems deliciously unironic although seeing it in its surroundings would tell a better tale. However a very large highly detailed work based on Hong Kong's tenements that would be far beyond the means, including space available, of those living in the tenements seems a bit odd.

YTSL said...

Hi ewaffle --

I do like big art shows in that, as you wrote, it furnishes one with opportunities to encounter works that really speak to one. But yeah, I definitely could do without the certain types of people that they seem to inevitably attract.

Re the Douglas Young sculpture: yeah, I don't detect irony in its creation or placement. I guess to me, it serves as a reminder that Hong Kong is as much the home of people who are less well off as well as it is those whose only knowledge of tenement buildings is via viewing artistic works of them.