Culture / Art Republik

Art fairs in Hong Kong: Art Central Hong Kong 2017 gathers 75 regional galleries

ART REPUBLIK brings you a preview of the art fair, which opens late March amid the rising popularity of Southeast Asian art

Mar 19, 2017 | By Staff Writer
Anida Yoeu Ali, ‘The Red Chador’, performance.

Anida Yoeu Ali, ‘The Red Chador’, performance.

From March 21 to 25, Art Central Hong Kong 2017, taking place at the Central Harbourfront, will see a gathering of 100 galleries from around the world, three-quarters of which are from the Asia-Pacific region.

The art fair is divided into four sectors: Central, with a focus on galleries from Asia both established and new; Rise, which features galleries and art spaces that are less than 6 years old with solo and duo shows by emerging artists; Projects, for installations, and Media x Mumm, presented by Mumm Champagne, showcasing digital works.

Among the galleries on home ground in the CENTRAL sector is Sin Sin Fine Art, which will present works of Indonesian artist Eddi Prabandono and Cuban artist Carlos Garcia de la Nuez, with a concurrent gallery exhibition ‘Boundless Voyage’. Another is Hong Kong’s La Galerie Paris 1839, which will bring Taiwanese artist Chou Ching Hui’s ‘Animal Farm’ series that looks into a collective concept of melting the boundaries of individuals where we share the universal identity of exploration. Gallery founder Sin Sin Man says, “Shining a spotlight on galleries from the Asia Pacific region, Art Central in Hong Kong features edgier works from emerging artists. Art Central is a premier stage for exhibiting [Southeast Asian] contemporary art practitioners. It’s important for us to bring the artists to the audiences here.”

Southeast Asian artists and galleries are prominently featured. Marc Straus Gallery will show Indonesian artist Entang Wiharso. Ken Tan, a partner at the gallery says, “Art Central Hong Kong is a focused fair — with a diverse pool of collectors attending the fair each year, we have reached a new audience from Southeast Asia.” Yeo Workshop from Singapore will bring works by Singaporean photographers Loke Hong Seng and Sean Lee. Gallerist Ashley Yeo says, “It is important to to connect and to expose our Southeast Asian cultures with Hong Kong’s international market.”

Returning gallery Richard Koh Fine Art will present Malaysian artist Haffendi Anuar’s digital installations. Besides Anuar, works by fellow Malaysian artist Hasanul Isyraf Idris, whose characters deal with personal struggles, will also be shown. Commenting on the region’s representation at the fair, Koh says, “I think Southeast Asia is not represented properly in most Asian fairs. Art Central is a good platform for Southeast Asia as its emphasis and focus is on discovering and highlighting new talents, not just big branded artists.”

Emerging galleries in the Rise sector endeavour to promote new talents, and will include Korean artist Yun-kyung Jeong from Gallery Koo in Seoul, Art Space J’s photographer Beomsik Won, Balinese-British artist Sinta Tantra from Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery in London, and oh!quadro’s artist, Afonso Tostes from Brazil, whose sculptures are created with wood collected from demolition sites across Rio de Janeiro.

The Projects sector aims to cast aside the constraints of a traditional art fair booth, with six large-scale installations by emerging curator Jims Lam Chi Hang of Hong Kong. Featuring six different artists, namely Simon Pericich, Tang Jie, Hannah
Quinlivan, Santi Wangchuan, Glen Hayward and Yu Youhan, each work is a social commentary designed to be thought-provoking and open the door for discourse.

Glen Hayward, ‘Everyday People’, 2017, wood, paint, dimensions variable. Courtesy of PAULNACHE.

Glen Hayward, ‘Everyday People’, 2017, wood, paint, dimensions variable. Courtesy of PAULNACHE.

Among the photographic works exhibited this year, new participating gallery Anastasia Photo will present award-winning photographers Martin Roemers, Tomas van Houtryve, and George Steinmetz. Flowers Gallery from London and New York will feature works by Korean photographer Boomoon that are focused on landscapes devoid of human existence as a means of self-reflection.

New adaptations of existing works will be presented as interactive performance pieces for Performance X 4A, in partnership with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney by leading international artists all working to confront and question the principles of art. These are meant to challenge the audience to reexamine familiar situations and objects. “We are excited to present the work of leading performance artists from the South East and wider Asia region as we return to the contemporary art hub of Hong Kong, Art Central in 2017,” says Mikala Tai, the Centre’s Director.

Performances will include ‘Face-o-Mat’ by Swiss artist Tobias Gutmann, ‘Speculative Entertainment Hong Kong Edition’ by Indonesian artist Uji “Hahan” Handoko Eko Saputro, and ‘The Red Chador’ by Cambodian-American artist Anida Yoeu Ali. Ali’s work has received much press as a representation of universal intolerance and marginalisation.

Uji Handoko Eko Saputro, ‘Speculative Entertainment Hong Kong Edition’, performance.

Uji Handoko Eko Saputro, ‘Speculative Entertainment Hong Kong Edition’, performance.

As awareness of Southeast Asian art grows on the international art scene, so does the public’s appreciation of and demand for it. Charles Ross, Managing Director, Art Central says, “We’re delighted to be welcoming a number of galleries from South East Asia to Art Central this year.” He added, “There is certainly an increasing appetite generally for art from the South East Asian region and Art Central as a platform is actively involved in growing this awareness with our audience, both through our gallery content and broader programme.”

Art Republik looks forward to an engaging Art Central Hong Kong 2017.

This article is written by Tanya Amador and was originally published in Art Republik 14.