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Issue 59 - The Life Outside Issue

Issue 59

The Life Outside Issue

Introducing the Life Outside issue of Habitus magazine. With life increasingly being absorbed into a digital space, there is never a more important moment to hold something tangible. In this context, the power of nature to have a physiological impact on our sense of wellbeing has never been more important. So how can we cultivate the benefits of the our natural environment in the most intimate of places – our homes? This was the question that helped to bring this issue of Habitus to life.

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Hong Kong Art Week reinforces the city’s status as a global art centre
CultureSarah Hetherington

Hong Kong Art Week reinforces the city’s status as a global art centre

Each year in March, galleries, collectors, artists and the art world cognoscenti descend on Hong Kong to attend Art Basel. We report from the ground to bring you the highlights.


With a plethora of museum exhibitions, auction houses, commercial galleries, non-profit spaces and educational programming, there is so much to see and do at Art Basel Hong Kong. Despite recent pandemic challenges and the introduction of Article 23 with a reduction in democratic freedoms, Hong Kong is vibrant, resilient and very much open for business.

With its tax-free port status, logistical efficiency and overall economic buoyancy, the city is bursting with great art, architecture, luxury fashion, high-end restaurants and newly opened hotels. A strong feeling of optimism shone throughout the week with the city’s bursting art scene putting its very best foot forward for an enthusiastic return.

Dan Boyd, Doan, Installation View, Pacific Place, Encounters, Swire Properties and Art Basel Hong Kong.

Art Basel Hong Kong – Galleries

Art Basel Hong Kong (28-30th March 2024) launched to VIPs on Tuesday, 26th March and featured 242 galleries across two floors of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). Collectors from around the region – in particular mainland China, South Korea, Europe and Hong Kong – were out in force, with gallerists reporting a mix of both brisk sales and slower decision making.

Galleries from Asia, America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East provided a vibrant and vast overview of modern and contemporary art from around the world, as well as a snapshot of the art market. More than half the galleries presenting were from the Asia-Pacific region, with some of the most impressive and dynamic booths including Silverlens (Manila), Various Small Fires (Seoul), Shibunkaku (Kyoto), SCAI The Bathouse (Tokyo), A Thousand Plateaus Art Space (Chengdu) and Johyun Gallery (Seoul) with a Kabinett sector solo presentation of paintings by the late leading Korean artist Park Seo Bo.

Pace Gallery’s one-day only exhibition of Alicja Kwade’s new sculptures and time works was not to be missed, and the always-impressive neugerriemschneider (Berlin) curated a solo exhibition of Tomas Saraceno’s paintings and sculptures. Highlights from the Discoveries sector included Nawin Nawthong at Bangkok CityCity Gallery and Fine Arts, Sydney’s presentation of Yona Lee’s In Transit – a unique composition that is both a social space and sculptural form made from welded stainless tubes and everyday objects.

Art Basel Hong Kong, Shireen Taweel and Dan Boyd, STATION Australia, photograph by Kitmin Lee.

The Insights sector provided an important platform for STATION Gallery (Sydney, Melbourne) to present the work of Shireen Taweel and Dan Boyd – an elegant and cohesive pairing of Taweel’s engraved and pierced copper sculptures alongside Boyd’s poignant series of paintings. In the Galleries sector, Sullivan+Strumpf exhibited striking new works by Alex Seton, Dawn Ng, Lindy Lee and Gregory Hodge.

Amidst the Fair bustle, Ames Yavuz (Singapore, Sydney) provided a moment of the sublime in the Kabinett presentation of Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak whose practice explores the human body and form as a vessel of experience in space – a reflection on gender, religion and sacred or profane forms as well as Thai culture and tradition. Fox Jensen Gallery (Sydney, Auckland) with its predominantly internationally-focused program of artists impressed with new works by Mark Francis, Jan Albers, Tomislav Nikolic, Shila Khatami and Koen Delaere.

Fox Jensen Gallery, Installation View.

Art Basel Hong Kong – Encounters Sector

Transcending the traditional booth presentation, Encounters provides an opportunity for participating galleries to exhibit large-scale, ambitious installations by leading artists from around the world, located throughout the Fair. Curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor, Executive Director of Artspace Sydney, the 2024 edition featured 16 works, 11 of which were new commissions – a rarity allowing for fresh, never-seen-before art experiences.

Glass-Kantor elaborates on the theme, I am a part of all that I have met, taken from Tennyson’s Ulysses, evoking ideas of a journey, connection and separation: “I found myself reflecting on how each of our personal and subjective experiences are connected to the local and, by extension, to the global to form an often fragmented universal perspective… [Encounters is an] invitation to share stories, and perceptions, as these 16 artists draw us towards a more complex understanding of our shared humanity and who it is that we are, and what it is we might become.”

Adeela Suleman, Encounters, Sullivan+Strumpf.

Highlights included extraordinary installations by leading Korean artist Haegue Yang, Singaporean artist Ming Wong, and Japanese artist Atsushi Kaga as well as Beijing-born Li Wei’s hyperrealist sculpture of six world leaders depicted as life-size 7-year-olds set amongst a dystopian Hong Kong school playground.

Sullivan+Strumpf presented two standout installations: a celestial forest of Larrakitj ceremonial poles depicting the Milky Way and passage of time by Yolgnu artist Naminapu Maymuru-White. And, from Pakistani artist Adeela Suleman, When you had enough of Paradise – three vast suspended metal screens made of infinitely interlinked hand-beaten stainless steel motifs of sparrows and machine guns, a deceptively elegant reflection on paradise, war and death.

Additionally, at Pacific Place, a popular shopping mall and gathering spot in the city, leading Indigenous artist Dan Boyd presented Doan – a three-part, site-specific immersive installation comprising a new 11-minute looped moving-image work set atop a mirrored floor and a wraparound window treatment. Reinterpreting Eurocentric perspectives on Australian history and the ethics of colonisation by drawing from historic photographs, art-historical references and his own personal and cultural history, Boyd fragments found images with clear dots he applies across the surface, complicating our understanding of perception. Comprising the artist’s signature perforated imagery, the mall’s windows are transformed into a porous constellation of light, both real and artificial, while the video work adds a transcendental or hypnotic element overall. Co-presented by Australia’s STATION Gallery and Kukje Gallery (Seoul), the work successfully draws in audiences outside of the ticketed art fair venue.

Dan Boyd, Doan, Installation View, Pacific Place, Encounters, Swire Properties and Art Basel Hong Kong.

Museum Exhibitions

Over a decade in the making and designed by Herzog & de Meuron, M+ Museum for Visual Culture, Asia’s first global museum, opened in the West Kowloon Cultural District in late 2021. The vast – and at times cavernous – museum holds and displays the astonishing M+ Sigg Collection of Chinese contemporary art, gifted by Swiss Collector Ulli Sigg, comprising over 1500 artworks. During Art Week, audiences were also able to view Yang Fudong’s video projection Sparrow on the Sea onto the museum façade at night; local artist Movanna Chen’s Knitting Conversations installation; Madame Song: Pioneering Art and Fashion in China – an exquisite presentation of an icon’s legacy in the region and the remarkable thematic exhibition, Shanshui: Echoes and Signals, which explores the connection between landscape and humanity in our post-industrial, virtual world.

Shanshui translates as ‘mountain and water’, a Chinese cultural concept that has inspired Asian ink paintings throughout the centuries. Featuring over 130 artworks, including Relatum – the Mirror Road (2021-2024) by South Korean artist Lee Ufan, pieces by Isamu Noguchi and Sookoong Ang, the exhibition will continue until 2026. M+ also hosted Hong Kong’s first two-day International Cultural Summit and commencing the week with a fabulous opening party with performances by Hong Kong-born, Australian-based artist Rainbow Chan.

Dan Boyd, Doan, Installation View, Pacific Place, Encounters, Swire Properties and Art Basel Hong Kong.

As well as M+, the former Police Station located in Central, Tai Kwun, was redeveloped in 2018 into a cultural precinct by Herzog & de Meuron and comprises both heritage and contemporary offerings. Tai Kwun Contemporary featured a solo exhibition of new works by British-American artist Sarah Morris titled Who is Who and Green Snake: women-centred ecologies which featured over 60 thought-provoking artworks that draw on world views with women at their heart to explore ecological possibilities and imagine other futures.

Additionally, the local non-profit space, Para Site, in Quarry Bay, featured two cutting-edge exhibitions – Soft Breath by Trevor Yeung (Hong Kong’s 2024 Venice Biennale Pavilion artist) and Sounding Lines, a performance and sculptural installation by New York-based Aki Sasamoto.

Art Basel Hong Kong
artbasel.com


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Sarah Hetherington

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Issue 59 - The Life Outside Issue

Issue 59

The Life Outside Issue

Introducing the Life Outside issue of Habitus magazine. With life increasingly being absorbed into a digital space, there is never a more important moment to hold something tangible. In this context, the power of nature to have a physiological impact on our sense of wellbeing has never been more important. So how can we cultivate the benefits of the our natural environment in the most intimate of places – our homes? This was the question that helped to bring this issue of Habitus to life.

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