Hi there!

In a few days, Art Basel Hong Kong opens its doors, and we are very excited to announce that we have added Hong Kong to our roster of cities. So for all of you who are in Hong Kong (and for the rest who couldn't make it but still want to informed about what's happening there), either download Exhibitionary or just go to For the few of you who might have missed it: Exhibitionary is now also available in your browser, no more iPhone necessary.

The fair itself has with 249 participating galleries plenty to offer. We give you a little guidance about what should not be missed. On top of our favorite on-site stands, we’re rounding it up with some excellent shows in galleries and institutions around the city. Here’s hoping this will give you some space to breathe while you fight your way through the city crowds.

Courtesy Art Basel

Well, Hong Kong is the third descendant of Art Basel in its seventh – hopefully not itchy – year in 2019. A fair in this size and of this impact needs a specific structure which is not only attained by a well-thought floorplan layout but also through grouping galleries in different sectors. Since not all three Art Basel fairs have the same sectors, we introduce the Hong Kong ones briefly. Insights offers a closer look with carefully curated presentations from the Asia-Pacific region, allowing a peek into the work and worlds of artists originating and working in the area. Discoveries is not just a hand-picked selection of excellent upcoming artists at the start of their careers. It’s also a place to discover works specially created for the fair. The setting of Kabinett is very intimate, offering a revealing look into the work of some of today’s rising stars. Finally, Encounter is Art Basel Hong Kong’s take on immersive exposure. Featuring larger than life installations transcending the gallery booth.

Carol Bove: Melty Legs, 2018. Courtesy David Zwirner

Let's start with David Zwirner who presents four of Carol Bove’s amazing trademark steel sculptures, which we already loved at last year's Unlimited at Basel Basel. They will be shown alongside works by leading legends such as Wolfgang Tillmans, Luc Tuymans, Franz West, and Sigmar Polke, among others. Pace Gallery is another one who has made it onto our list, not only because they have some Rauschenbergs on view, but also thanks to the remarkable works of Chinese grande dame Yin Xiuzhen. An excellent chance to get acquainted with her practice as she will also participate in the Venice Biennale this year. At Tang Gallery’s booth, one can see some of Qin Qi’s paintings. Inspired by familiar settings the artist shifts the concepts represented to a surreal dimension. The work of political activist, and Ai Weiwei’s protégé, Zhao Zhao will be on view as well. Whether it is on canvases or through sculpture, Zhao Zhao retraces China’s multifaceted society and the socio-political consequences of individual human action. Château Shatto’s booth at Discoveries is a solo presentation of American critic, curator, and artist Aria Dean. Her video and sculptural work delve into the meaning(s) carried by the material she uses to define an “ontology of blackness.” Dean will surely catch the attention of the audience because her work is discursive and playful at the same time.

Ye Linghan: LUCY-E-001, 2019. Courtesy Boers-Li Gallery

Boers-Li Gallery presents an extensive show, with an almost exclusively Asian selection. From video works by Zhang Peili to the avant-garde work of Tsuyoshi Maekawa. One can also get acquainted with the work of young and emerging artists, such as Ye Linghan who will be showing a series of 2019 paintings, inspired by anime culture and executed in eye-catching neon colors. Ye Linghan is one of our favorites and for sure worth to watch!

“Bullshit Blind Bull” is a solo booth by artist Jiu Society at Vanguard Gallery. No bullshit here though, since the title is based on real-life events, embodying the economic renewal after the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in China. Between the title, Jiu Society’s disturbing and yet humorous sculpture and the Chinese standpoint, there are many underlying critical aspects of contemporary China and a reminder that society might never be immune of becoming entirely profit driven and egoistic.

After her well-received solo show at Société 2017 in Berlin, Lu Yang strikes again for a solo at the gallery’s booth, in what promises to be an ode to the anime world, the morbid and maybe the ubiquitous neon signs defining Hong Kong’s facades. The robotic sci-fi figures on aluminum frames also draw on the spiritual with references to the Hindu deity Shiva. Yang aims to make us realize that we are here only for a short time, whereas the virtual and the online will be there forever.

Elmgreen & Dragset: Overheated, 2019. Courtesy Massimo De Carlo

The fair comes with a program of conversations, talks, and panels, for those who want to get some more insight into the world behind the sellable products. Here are our favorites; first off we’re looking forward to artist Danh Vo in conversation with Doryun Chong about the work of the legendary Japanese artist and designer Isamu Noguchi (Sat, 3:30 pm). His works are currently on view together with Vo’s at the M+ Pavillion, which serves as the primary site for M+ exhibitions until the fantastic new building by Herzog & De Meuron will be finished. Another talk that should not be missed is “A Common Place? – Artists in Art Fairs,” (Fri, 2 pm) which discusses the possibility of seeing art fairs as a historical moment that fosters intellectual discourses. Moderated by Özge Ersoy from Asia Art Archive, the panel features, amongst other guests, the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset whom you can also catch at Massimo De Carlo’s gallery in town where their exhibition, tellingly titled “Overheated” is on view. Another interesting panel is “21st Century Collectors – Next Generation Approaches” (Thu, 2 pm), which will focus on an evaluation of what collecting means in the 21st century.

Heimo Zobernig: Untitled, 2018. Courtesy Simon Lee Gallery

Beyond what the fair has to offer, there is Hong Kong itself; a cultural hub, a port city, and a historical bridge between the East and the West, especially also for the art market. Let's have a closer look at what is on view in the galleries. First off on our radar is Simon Lee. The gallery is opening a solo exhibition of Austrian hero Heimo Zobernig, by the way, his first ever in Hong Kong. Zobernig’s commitment to painting transpires throughout the show with a series of rhythmical and compulsive 200 x 200 cm (most of the time he works with standard formats) canvases. Working on limitations and forms the artist pushes to a state of almost total abstraction. Hauser & Wirth surprises us with a Louise Bourgeois exhibition, which is curated by none other than Jerry Gorovoy, who has worked closely with Bourgeois as her assistant since the 80s. The results will be presented on two floors, showing Bourgeois’ topiary works, intertwining the natural world and human expressions as well as rarely shown holograms dating back from the late 90s, among other works that represent the diversity in the artist’s oeuvre.

Another pillar of the Hong Kong gallery scene (and undeniably of the larger art world as well) opens an extensive exhibition featuring works by Cézanne, Morandi, and Sanyu. If you have not guessed it yet, we are indeed speaking of Gagosian. A rather unusual but nevertheless interesting combination of artists, as Sanyu was of French and Chinese origin, an embodiment of the link between the Orient and the Occident.

Wassily Kandinsky. Noir bigarré, 1935. Courtesy Lévy Gorvy, photo: Kitmin Lee. © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Guess what, David Zwirner has an outpost here as well, and they will present a solo exhibition of Leipzig‘s painting giant Neo Rauch. The show, titled “Propaganda” puts a discursive light on Rauch’s own path in figuration over what was then dominant in Eastern Germany, the Socialist Realism movement. Lévy Gorvy inaugurate their new space in Hong Kong with “Return to Nature.” This is a group show blending Eastern and Western artists working on the theme of nature as an immutable source of inspiration, combining monochromes of Pierre Soulages with installations of Chinese mid-career artist Song Dong and the textured canvases of Chung Sang-Hwa as well as a beautiful Kandinsky painting, which really looks so contemporary.

An interesting position on the younger end of the Hong Kong gallery landscape is Empty Gallery. Besides a solo show of American-Chinese artist Tishian Hsu, of whom the gallery presents sculptures and paintings from the 80s and 90s at the Insight sector of the fair, Empty opens a show by Cici Wu. The artist’s works can be described as sculptural cinematic sets, so you can basically expect video works set in immersive installations with artifacts that relate to the narration on the screen. This is an excellent occasion to get acquainted with this somewhat secretive artist.

Cici Wu: Unfinished Return of Yu Man Hon, 2019 (video still). Courtesy Empty Gallery

Hong Kong is a city that is also well versed in terms of institutions. Recently the crowd has been chatting about CHAT (geddit?) which stands for Centre for Heritage Arts and Textile. The institution is due to open right on cue for Art Basel Hong Kong and the concept is well known: transforming unused industrial relics into a cultural hub. One phrase in the press release caught our attention: “innovative legacy.” The duality between innovation and legacy is definitely of interest to us, and so we hope, to you too!

“Hactivate Yourself” is an exhibition as well as a public program taking place at 1a Space, an independent contemporary art organization located in a repurposed slaughterhouse. The show draws on how we can hack back some of the freedoms we have lost to the Internet, featuring performances and site-specific installations. We are especially looking forward to Döner Blackout, the lecture performance by the Berlin-based artist and writer, Göksu Kunak a.k.a. Gucci Chunk. The exhibition will make you want to hack your way back to an offline life – though obviously when you do succumb to the urge, make sure to not go offline 100% and keep us bookmarked!

Hong Kongs leading and long-standing independent art center Para Site opens an extensive group show titled “An Opera for Animals.” Drawing on the idea of opera as a higher ‘Western’ art, the theme has been approached in a critique of its own elitist past. Featuring artists as diverse as Lee Bul, Christoph Schlingensief or Cui Jie among many others, this show promises an outstanding take on the theme.

PRÉCÉDÉ is what the Germans would call a Schaufenster or a display window for you Anglophones. Yet PRÉCÉDÉ goes beyond this shallow comparison as a project space opening a solo show by Kacey Wong. It shows a video documentation of the artist's performance as well as an installation originating from the pro-democratic 2014s Umbrella Movement. And the practical advantage? You can see the whole thing from the street which makes it open 24 hours a day.

Marianna Simnett: The Udder, 2014 (video still). Courtesy the artist

In Tai Kwun Contemporary‘s exhibition “Performing Society: The Violence of Gender,” curated by the wonderful Susanne Pfeffer, director of Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt, she addresses an unfortunately very urgent topic, featuring no one else than Anne Imhof, Oliver Laric and our local hero Wong Ping, among others. All the artists on view are engaging themselves against the structural and societal violence experienced through the widely spread normative construction of gender.

What is an art fair without its satellites? So finally, as if you hadn’t already enough, we’d like to mention Art Central which will be back on Hong Kong’s Central Harbor Front. The fair features 130 galleries from 22 different countries.

All of this is complemented by Hong Kong’s tropical weather and the legendary street food, which – by the way – has its own section in the Michelin Guide. Make sure to subscribe to our Alerts (
push notifications to be received in our app only, but you find them as well on our website) for all the last minute insights and top recommendations for lectures, talks, performances, receptions, and parties!

Wishing you a wonderful week in Hong Kong!

All the best from all of us at

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