Culture / Art Republik

Art Central 2018: A Preview

Art Central 2018 maintains a strong regional identity

Mar 18, 2018 | By Toby Wu

Lv Shanchuan, ‘Sea No.4 
Dimensions’, 2017, oil on canvas, 140 x 180cm. Image courtesy Contemporary by Angela Li.

Art Central, presented with lead partner United Overseas Bank (UOB), will stage its fourth edition with 103 international galleries at Hong Kong’s Central Harbourfront from 27 March to 1 April 2018.

The fair has consistently shown a holistic overview of modern and contemporary Asian art masters, with a reputation for fostering emerging talent in the region. Charles Ross, the fair’s managing director, says, “In just four years, Art Central has emerged as one of the region’s leading events for international collectors, art enthusiasts, and the general public.” He also cites new fair director Yang Shuyin’s “strong ties to collectors, galleries, institutions and the art world at large” as a cornerstone to the fair’s extensive outlook and reach.

This year’s fair is organised into three distinct segments: established artists, emerging artists and solo presentations. In the first segment, from East Asia, Gallery Hyundai presents Dansaekhwa artists Chung Sang-Hwa and Kim Tschang-Yeul as well as renowned painter Minjung Kim and photographer Myoung Ho Lee, while Whitestone Gallery presents Gutai artists Shozo Shimamoto, Atsuko Tanaka, and Sadamasa Motonaga. And one of several Hong Kong-based galleries taking part in the fair is Contemporary by Angela Li, who will present Chinese artists Lv Shanchuan and Li Hong bo, who tackle contemporary social issues in their work.

Damien Hirst, Installation from ‘Schizophrenogenesis’, 2014.
 Image courtesy Paul Stolper, London.

Whilst there is a renewed emphasis on unitedly promoting Asia-Pacific artists, Art Central 2018 also puts forward international artists such as Damien Hirst, represented by Paul Stolper London. Pharmaceutical sculptures from his 2014 ‘Schizophrenogenesis’ series will be on display. Stockholm’s Galerie Forblom will bring both acclaimed multimedia and installation artist Tony Oursler and multidisciplinary artist Not Vital. Both artists have been recognised for shifting the audience experience of art in the 21st century. Yang explained that international artists are equally valued at the fair. She notes, “Art Central also aims to deliver diversity to our collectors and fair goers; hopefully this broad range will assist them in building progressive and exciting collections”.

Laurent Martin “Lo’”, ‘ Flying Junk Year’, 2016. Image courtesy Puerta Roja.

That said, Art Central 2018 dedicates its emerging talent section to artists purely from the Asian-Pacific region, providing a platform for innovative and experimental art using diverse mixed media. An artist of note is Laurent Martin “Lo”, who creates bamboo mobile sculptures to immerse the viewer in the physical and sensorial virtues of the organic material. “The rich discourse that is generated through these juxtapositions and the stories behind the artists’ mental and physical process, spark curiosity and dialogue”, says Puerta Roja founder Adriana Alverez-Nichol, who is bringing the artist to the fair. “It is also always exhilarating to explore lesser known Latin and Asian cultural narratives, and to tease the public’s traditional perceptions of art.”

In the third segment, Art Central 2018’s focused solo presentations will feature contemporary artists who have received institutional support, with works in permanent collections of leading international museums or those who have taken part in biennales across the globe. One of the artists on show is filmmaker and photographer Wing Shya, presented by Blue Lotus Gallery, who will exhibit his “Sweet Sorrow” series. A photographic ode to the desolate human condition, the works read as a technicolor love letter to Hong Kong, the city that raised him.

Wing Shya, ‘Sweet Sorrow’ Series, 2013.
 Image courtesy Blue Lotus Gallery.

The exhibit also delves into the realm of cinematic arts, showcasing Wing’s work as filmmaker Wong Kar-wai’s on-set stills photographer. Sarah Greene, the gallery’s director, notes that Art Central is “the right opportunity to bring this exciting body of work to an international audience as it offers the right amount of variety without being too overwhelming”.

Alongside main events at the fair, in an ongoing collaboration with Asian Society Hong Kong Centre, Art Central continues to encourage cultural inclusion of the wider community through outreach partnerships with local schools. UOB and Sovereign Art Foundation have similarly organised complementary events. This year, UOB has planned a weeklong series of ink workshops, in partnership with young Hong Kong ink artists, that seeks to engage with students and the general public.

UOB’s partnership with Art Central will also see an exciting new interactive performance programme this year through ‘Performance X 4A’ in collaboration with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. The live performances, which address contemporary concerns of excess and dispossession, further reflects the diversity of the art fair, showcasing contemporary artists from across the Asia-Pacific region, such as Australian Caroline Garcia, Indonesian FJ Kunting, Singaporean Sam Lo as well as Hong Kong artist duo Sampson Wong & Lam Chi Fai.

ART REPUBLIK is proud to be a media partner of Art Central.

This article was written by Toby Wu for Art Republik 18.

More information at

Back to top