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Your guide to Art Central Hong Kong 2023

By Celia Lee 9 March 2023

Header image courtesy of Art Central

March is a busy time for arts and cultural enthusiasts in town. Dubbed Hong Kong Arts Month, March begins with the annual International Literary Festival and ends with the grand finale of Art Week. Kicking off this well-anticipated period is Art Central, a fair that celebrates artists and galleries far and wide, complete with fine opportunities for collaboration and dialogue. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or an art fair veteran, our guide to Art Central Hong Kong will help you navigate the extensive programme spanning over four days.

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Photo: Art Central (via Facebook)

Overview

Art Central takes place from 22 to 25 March at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. The fair will display a wide range of artworks curated from over 70 local and international galleries and artists.

Entry tickets are sorted into three groups: child, adult, and concession (senior citizen and full-time students). Advance tickets are available for purchase now until 20 March at a discounted price. The full list of ticket prices can be found here.

As always, you will find three sectors at Art Central in 2023: Central Galleries, Curated Booths, and Solo Presentations. This trio of showcases exhibits the finest curation of artwork in town as well as a diversity of talent that will surely leave you feeling awed and overwhelmed. Paired with the large-scale installations and an educational programme, this is the perfect place for art lovers and interested amateurs alike.

Central Galleries

Art Central is presenting 70 international and local galleries, with participants listed on the website. Out of this strong line-up of talent, highlights include the New York-based gallery Marc Straus, which brings to Hong Kong the Malaysian Pua Kumbu weavings of Anne Samat and the hyper-realistic rug paintings of Antonio Santín. 021gallery from Daegu, South Korea, gathers a plethora of leading talents from the country’s art scene, including Seon-Ghi Bahk’s levitating charcoal sculptures. Johannesburg-based Guns & Rain presents explorations of Africa’s collective and personal histories: Tuli Mekondjo’s multimedia works and Beb Butkow’s installation. Art of the World brings masters of Latin American art, including Julio Larraz’s impressionistic creations and Wilfredo Lam’s Afro-Cuban aesthetics.

Photo: Ms. Dyu, Take Off Your Pink Glasses, 2023, oil on canvas, 120 x 130 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Suomei M50 Gallery.

Curated Booths

Art Central has always been an international event that encourages dialogue between artists, and the Gwo Wai Curated Booths offers a platform for up to three artists to collaborate on a project for the fair. Three collaborative projects have been announced for 2023.

Dedy Sufriadi and Taufik Ermas from Artemis Art, Kuala Lumpur, explore the impact of technological development on the delivery and consumption of information and the role of history in the future through a series of artworks titled “Future Myth.”

Dickson Yewn, Chen and Zhang, and Ho Siu Chong from Literati Artspace, Hong Kong, find connection between conceptual photography and traditional crafts. Ms. Dyu, Olga de Dios, and Wing Wei of Suomei M50 Gallery, Shanghai, intertwine strong social and political undertones to create a work that reflects significant cultural change.

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Solo Presentations

A relatively new section in Art Central, the Duk Dak Solo Presentations showcases unique emerging artists alongside established talents. All 11 chosen artists offer something unique in their art. Of note is Hong Kong artist Damon Tong, who creates with “place-of-origin” stickers in series of oxymoronic works that investigates the complex issues faced by the people of Hong Kong; African artist Tuli Mekondjo, who explores colonial and apartheid contexts in South Africa by altering foreign archival materials with crafts and materials native to Namibia, her hometown; and Nksin, Japanese-Fillipino artist whose multifaceted style reflects not only his identity but also the increasingly multicultural world.

Photo: Bev Butkow, reflective connections (iteration 1), 2023, site-specific installation, University of Johannesburg, South Africa, images courtesy Bev Butkow, Guns & Rain.

Large-scale installations

If you are a frequenter of Art Central’s fairs, you would have noticed the many large-scale and site-specific artworks scattered around the hall. These are all part of the fair’s Yi Tai Sculpture and Installation Projects, a platform for ambitious creatives to bring their ideas to life. This year, chosen projects interrogates the “art spectacle,” where the fluid and elusive nature of art points to a reality where structures of history, materiality, and emotions have collapsed—a process some might argue have already began in our mass media-driven world, bringing these projects and their messages closer to home. Highlights include Bahk Seon-ghi's maze-like An Aggregation-Space (2023) and Bev Butkow’s Reflective Connections, a project intricately relevant to Hong Kong society.

Photo: Masahiro Nakamura, Agnes Chan – Hong Kong, Hong Kong (1982 vs. 2020) (video still), 2022, 03'20. Courtesy of the artist.

Educational programme

Available alongside other exhibitions and showcases at Art Central is a four-part educational programme, titled Gok Dou Live, hosted by Asia Society Hong Kong Centre. A series of talks featuring artists, curators, collectors, and masters in the art literacy scene will take place during Art Central, offering creatives a platform for direct exchange that will be broadcasted around the world. This year’s talks and panel discussions will cover topics such as the practice of art collecting and its evolution in the contemporary world, the trajectory of contemporary artists, and Hong Kong’s status as an international art hub. A selection of video art projects is also on display as part of the educational programme. Titled Citrus Worlds, local artists navigate a digital world of fantasy and fun built around memories.

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Getting there

There are many ways to visit Art Central at HKCEC. Unless you have direct transportation arranged, taking the MTR is your best bet. Make your way to Exhibition Centre Station on the East Rail line and leave the station via Exit B3. Alternatively, you can also get off at Wan Chai Station and reach HKCEC via Exit A2, with a bit more walking involved.

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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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