Still searching for the fair’s best and its surroundingsAnother exciting day here in Hong Kong. The fair is on the eve of its public opening and gallery owners pamper the collectors, eager to close sales before booths get invaded. In the crowd, curious pass by staring at each other and keeping en eye on their purse. Many stands’ walls have now been re-filled to replace the works sold.
Some booths are showing the very best of contemporary art and walking through them we can clearly perceive the importance (and value) of the exhibited artists. Then, you can take a ride on the first floor where the most important artists in circulation are displayed – in the quadrilateral between the Gagosian Gallery, White Cube, Hauser & Wirth and Marian Goodman: it’s real eye candy. Here the prices of the artworks are dizzying, but taking a look doesn’t cost anything.For Dr. Nope Jr of Urs Fischer from Gagosian, the request is around 4.5 million dollars, while for the installation of Louise Bourgeois by Hauser & Wirth, a couple more must be added. For the famous drugs cabinet of Damien Hirst (Twist of the Gloom and the Gleam, 2006), exhibited by White Cube, however, the demand is under two million. Hard to sell? Perhaps. The fair started off rather slowly – they say around – but the feeling is that there are collectors willing to spend lot of money. Many of them, however, are looking for some young artists destined to increase their value tenfold. For sure, it’s not an easy game: it takes a long eye to discover one! Alternatively, you can always rely on a talented art advisor or trust an art gallery. Tomorrow we will tour the Discoveries section to see the emerging artists exposed by the 25 invited galleries, and give you some good advice. In the meantime, if you are at the show, take a look at the large installations that occupy the central spaces of the two floors: they’re part of the Encounters project, curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor, executive director of Artspace in Sydney. These huge works are specific projects and interactive performances created for the fair and catch the eye while entertaining the audience. Outside the Convention Center, beyond the incessant traffic of the city, the presence of art is perceived only at times. But if you walk along the promenade that runs along the ocean, reminiscent of the other one under the Tate of London, you cannot miss the Outdoor Sculpture Park. It’s located in front of the entrance of Art Central, distant relative of Art Basel – hosting 100 galleries from all over the world.
In the park you will find works by Rashed Araeen, Michael Craig-Martin, Matthew Tsan Man Fu and the ever-present and omnipresent Yayoi Kusama. Nothing really exceptional – allow us to say –, but an outdoor walk in the countryside round here is a precious thing in itself! See you tomorrow for new updates from Hong Kong, stay tuned!