Celebrating its fifth edition in Hong Kong, Art Basel will present an ambitious program of 59 film and video works. Multi-media artist and film producer Li Zhenhua, who has been curating the sector since its inception, has brought together a premier selection of film and video works inspired by the current socio-political climate, presented by galleries participating in the fair. As part of the Film program, Art Basel is also collaborating with Videotage, a non-profit organization from Hong Kong specializing in video and new media, to present video works by Nam June Paik as well as by artists from Hong Kong and Mainland China influenced by Paik's work. Art Basel, whose Lead Partner is UBS, takes place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) from Thursday, March 29 to Saturday, March 31, 2018.
Alongside a selection of short films, this year's sector includes seven special screenings, completing a program of 59 works by 67 artists, represented by 38 galleries. ‘Days Gone By – Yu Hong’ (2009) by Wang Xiaoshuai (b. 1966) will open the special screenings program on Wednesday, March 28, depicting the life and work of Yu Hong, a female contemporary Chinese artist. The film not only portrays the life of an individual artist, but also encapsulates the rise of the Chinese art scene during a drastically changing era. Fusing traditional woodcut techniques with a 3D visual experience, ‘Time Spy’ (2016) by Sun Xun (b. 1980) will be screened on Thursday, March 29. On Friday, March 30, ‘Deep Gold’ (2013-14) by Julian Rosefeldt (b. 1965) and ‘Mrs. Fang’ (2017) by Wang Bing (b. 1967) will be screened. Awarded the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival in 2017, ‘Mrs. Fang’ is a documentary that depicts the last stages of a farm worker's life who has been suffering from Alzheimer's for several years.
Additionally, Art Basel is collaborating with Videotage on a special program highlighting the Hong Kong-based not-for-profit's ongoing endeavors and contributions to new-media art from Asia. ‘The Future Is in the Past’ revisits the video art collections initiated by Videotage and the Nam June Paik Art Center in two parts. ‘Imagined Future’ will showcase works by Nam June Paik (b. 1932 – d. 2006) alongside early Hong Kong video works inspired by Paik. The screening will be followed by ‘Imaginaries Beyond the Past’, presenting a new generation of young Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong artists working with video and the moving image. All seven special screenings will be presented at Theatre 2 at the HKCEC.
Exploring seven diverse themes, the short film program will be screened at the Hong Kong Arts Centre Cinema from Wednesday, March 28 to Saturday, March 31. Wednesday to Friday's short film program will rerun at the HKCEC at 6:30pm on the respective day. Highlights include: ‘The War That Never Was’, a selection of short films by Edgardo Aragón (b. 1985), Bae Yoon Hwan (b. 1983), Chien-Chi Chang (b. 1961), and Sutthirat Supaparinya (b. 1973); ‘Looking For Mushrooms’, presenting Bruce Conner's (b. 1933 – d. 2008) 1967 classic by the same name as well as work by Chen Xi (b. 1985), Fang Lu (b. 1981), Omer Fast (b. 1972), Lei Lei (b. 1985), Thomas Sauvin (b. 1983), and Philipp Timischl (b. 1989); ‘A Sense of Warmth’ incorporating 10 films exploring social relationships by Nevin Aladağ (b. 1972), Sven Johne (b. 1976), Laure Prouvost (b. 1978) and Charwei Tsai (b. 1980) among others; and ‘How Happy a Thing Can Be’, featuring video works that investigate how physical objects and situations can determine an emotion and instill beliefs. Taking its title from Cécile B. Evans' (b. 1983) video work, the screening also includes works by Anna Maria Maiolino (b. 1942) and Yuan Keru (b. 1990) among others.
Art Basel's Film program is free and open to the public. Due to limited capacity, seats are available on a first-come-first-served basis.
At 4pm on Saturday, March 30, Film curator Li Zhenhua will be in conversation with Isaac Leung, Chairman, Videotage; Jan Cho, Managing Director, TBWA\ Hong Kong; and Sang Ae Park, Archivist, Nam June Paik Art Centre to discuss 'Social Content in the Age of Digital Distribution'. The talk is free to the public and will take place in the Art Basel Auditorium at the HKCEC.