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Your guide to Art Basel Hong Kong 2023

By Celia Lee 9 March 2023

Header image courtesy of Art Basel Hong Kong

Art Basel is returning to Hong Kong for its largest show since 2019. Brought to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre is the finest selection of modern and contemporary art the region has to offer. The 2023 edition sees the return of all special sectors previously showcased in the fair: Galleries, Encounters, Film, Kabinett, and Conversations.

With over 170 galleries participating as exhibitors, the art fair is going to be an extensive combination of genres infused with international and cultural influences. We have curated this guide for you to easily navigate Art Basel Hong Kong 2023.

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Photo: Art Basel

Overview

Art Basel will run from 23 to 25 March at the Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, with the Film programme running at the same time at Hong Kong Arts Centre. Out of the 177 participants, 33 are from Hong Kong. A complete list of exhibitors can be found here.

Day tickets starts at $280, with two- and three-day passes available if you want to revisit some of the artworks. Concession prices are also available for these entries. The Vernissage offers admission to the Vernissage on Wednesday, whilst the Premier Pass offers a richer Art Basel experience perfect for any art  connoisseurs.

Only one small bag per visitor is allowed. Backpacks, crossbody bags, suitcases, and trolleys of any size are not allowed inside Art Basel. Coat checks are available at Level 1 Concourse near Entrance 1E and Level 3 Concourse near Entrance 3C for you to store bulky items before entering the halls. For more information, head over to the website.

Galleries

As the main sector for the event, you can expect to find the exhibition hall populated with showcases by a wide variety of galleries. A full list of participating galleries can be found here.

Photo: Jakkai Siributr, “Yellow Fever”, 2021. Courtesy of Flowers Gallery.

Insights

19 galleries have been chosen to partake in the Insights sub-sector, which is focused on curating projects from 1900 to the present dedicated to works by artists from Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. Highlights for 2023 include a retrospective of seminal avant-garde and post-war abstract artist Yoshishige Saitō and a showcase of the region’s leading contemporary artist, Jakkai Siributr. A complete list of participants is listed here.

Photo: Victor Ehikhamenor. “A Brand New Chief”, 2021. Rosary beads and thread on lace textile, 81 x 58 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Discoveries

24 galleries will be exhibiting in the Discoveries sector, intended for solo displays of new works created for Art Basel by emerging artists. Of note are Victor Ehikhamenor’s mixed-media engagement with African cultural heritage, the diaspora, and postcolonial politics of his native Nigeria, and Kenneth Tam’s multi-media exploration of Chinese labour history in the American West. Other talents presenting at Discoveries can be found here.

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Photo: @futuregenerationartprize (via Instagram)

Encounters

Dedicated to large-scale projects, Encounters will showcase 13 expansive works. Curated to the theme “This Present, Moment,” all works look at how space is held and how we are represented as an individual and as a collective in a sea of differences.

Particularly Trevor Yeung’s Mr Cuddles Under the Eave (2021) provides a metaphorically insightful look at the artist’s experience of the pandemic in Hong Kong which reflects that of society at large, whilst Carlos Aires’s Like Tears in the Rain (2023), a new work in his series crafted from decommissioned banknotes, serves as a poignant examination of money and its strange world. See other participants in this sector here.

Photo: courtesy of Art Basel

Film

The Film programme will be held at Hong Kong Arts Centre, also in Wan Chai. 29 video works and eight screenings take place across four days, launched by a special showing of Memoria by Palme d’Or-winning director Apichatpong Weerasethakul on 22 March.

Must-watch short films include Inci Eviner’s Runaway Girls (2015), a prominent comment on young women’s survival in a patriarchal society, and Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s 45th Parallel (2022), which considers the meaning of a border beyond its surface function as a line that separates. Other special screenings include curations by Videotage and Ghost 2565, both important NGOs that focus on video art. Admission is free and open to the public.

Photo: @galeriedumonde (via Instagram)

Kabinett

Kabinett presents thematic solo works by modern and contemporary artists. You can find these presentations in a separate space in the booth of galleries at Art Basel. Highlights include Agus Suwage’s Siraman Duniawi, an investigation of the notion of identity from ancient Hindu-Buddist culture, and the late Hong Kong artist Wesley Tongson’s spiritual and artistic journey as documented in his liberating splash ink landscapes. For a full list of galleries participating in Kabinett, click here.

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Photo: Art Basel (via Facebook)

Conversations

Also running in Art Basel 2023 is Conversations, a programme that invites dialogue on the evolving global art scene from international perspectives. More than 85 speakers, all prominent figures in their positions in the art world, will converse on a wide range of topics relevant to the producing, collecting, and exhibiting of art today.

Highlights include a discussion about the future of the biennale led by Hoor Al Qasimi, advocate for the arts in the UAE region and director of Sharjah Art Foundation, and topics with a local focus, such as an exploration of Cantopop’s influence in the works of Sin Wai-kin, Ming Wong, and Rainbow Chan. Pre-event sessions are also available for those interested in learning more about the evolving art world that Hong Kong is a part of. Visit the website for more information and how to register.

The Conversations programme is free and open to public.

Photo: courtesy of M+

Other events happening in town

Commissioned by Art Basel together with M+ and UBS, the Swiss spatial video artist Pipilotti Rist has created a brand-new moving picture work to be displayed at the M+ Façade. Incorporating the artist’s signature vivid colour palettes into a work that speaks to the dynamics of Hong Kong as a city, “Hand Me Your Trust” takes the hands as a focus, draw and chart paths on screen that mimic motorways whilst representing the hands that built this city. Rist’s video work is displayed on the M+ Façade daily from 18 March to 21 May, and every Saturday and Sunday from 22 May to 17 June.

Many cultural institutions in town are jumping on the art wagon this March with their own exhibitions and showcase. You can find a list of recommended sites from Art Basel here.

Getting there

Any taxi in town will likely know its way to HKCEC. If you’re planning on getting to Art Basel by taxi or private vehicle, remember to factor in traffic time.

The easiest way to get to the HKCEC is by MTR. From Exhibition Centre Station on the East Rail line, take Exit B3 and walk for four minutes. From Wan Chai Station on the Island line, take Exit A2 and walk for about 12 minutes.

For the Hong Kong Arts Centre, make your way there from Wan Chai Station by taking Exit A1—the walk is about 6 minutes. From Exhibition Centre Station, take Exit B3 and walk for 10 minutes. You can also get to the Arts Centre from HKCEC, a five-minute walk away.

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Celia Lee

Staff writer

Born and raised in Hong Kong and educated in the UK, Celia is passionate about culture, food, and different happenings in the city. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her scouting for new and trendy restaurants, getting lost in a bookstore, or baking up a storm at home.

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