The 2022 edition of Art Basel Hong Kong closed on Sunday, May 29, 2022, amid reports of consistently strong sales across all sectors and market segments, both to collectors present in the halls and those connecting with galleries digitally. This year’s show also offered an energetic public program that highlighted local artists and created meaningful connections in the city and across the globe. Hong Kong-based moving image pioneer Ellen Pau’s new site-specific work ‘The Shape of Light,’ co-commissioned by Art Basel and M+ and supported by UBS, was presented as first major co-commission project on the LED façade of M+. Commissioned by Art Basel and co-presented with the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the Artist Tram Project invited local artists Cherie Cheuk Ka-wai, Stephen Wong Chun-hei, and Shum Kwan-yi to project their works on the exteriors of the iconic Hong Kong trams.
The fair’s digital initiative ‘Art Basel Live: Hong Kong’ returned to the fair, offering a diverse range of digital programming from the Online Viewing Rooms and social media broadcasts to livestreamed conversations. The fair's many virtual walkthroughs were attended by private collectors from over 30 countries and territories, notably Mainland China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, the United States, and Switzerland, as well as representatives from leading international museums and institutions, including Kochi Biennale Foundation, Kerala; Museum MACAN, Jakarta; MMCA National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; OCAT Shenzhen, Shenzhen; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; and the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing. Patrons from all major Hong Kong institutions participated in the onsite program, including 1a Space, Asia Art Archive, Asian Cultural Council, Asia Society, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong Museum of Art, M+, and Para Site.
‘This week has been truly meaningful with so many great cultural collaborations, encounters virtual as well as physical reinforcing Art Basel Hong Kong's role as the leading international art platform in Asia,' says Adeline Ooi, Director Asia, Art Basel. 'Despite the difficulties of the last months the city has rallied in support of the fair. We are deeply grateful to our 130 participating galleries for their commitment to our show here in Hong Kong, and the city's institutions and nonprofits, especially M+ with whom we presented Ellen Pau’s brand new site-specific moving image work, the first major public co-commission project to light up the museum’s LED façade.’
‘The 2022 edition of Art Basel Hong Kong stands as a true testament to both the strength and resilience of the Hong Kong market,’ says Marc Spiegler, Global Director, Art Basel. ‘Despite reduced international attendance, steady sales throughout the duration of the show reflected the city's growing and engaged collector base, including many first-time buyers. In parallel, the fair's digital dimension demonstrates the continued growth of online sales and the importance of new virtual formats connecting with ever-broader audiences.’
Galleries who exhibited in the show spoke highly of their participation:
‘Collectors came and bought! We pretty much sold out in the first few hours. We sold 41 works in the last few days. Collectors that could not travel reached out on WeChat and WhatsApp and viewed and bought the artworks via video calls. If you want to have a presence in the Asia art market, Art Basel is unavoidable.’
Pascal de Sarthe, Founder, de Sarthe (Hong Kong)
‘I am so glad I made the decision to be here in person at Art Basel Hong Kong this year. My booth was nearly sold out in the first few hours of the show. Art Basel is the best platform for our gallery to promote Japanese artists to an international audience. The whole experience at the show made the 7-day quarantine rewarding.’
Atsuko Ninawaga, Owner and Director, Take Ninagawa (Tokyo)
‘With seemingly never ending Covid restrictions and the possibility that Art Basel Hong Kong may have had to cancel this year, the organizers went ahead and although postponed to May, they presented a superb fair. Even with a lack of many overseas collectors, the fair drew a great crowd of Hong Kong collectors and art lovers and even those from overseas who braved the quarantine prior to the fair. With wider aisles and room to actually see the art and discuss works in depth with participating galleries, this resulted in an excellent fair for galleries and visitors alike. The first three days attracted a group of important collectors and they bought. Sales were very strong and even with all the Covid restrictions, Hong Kong is still the center for Fine Art in Asia and it will continue to be so together with Art Basel Hong Kong.’
Fred Scholle, Founder and Director, Galerie du Monde (Hong Kong)
‘We feel the incredible energy this year in the city, especially because this is the first Art Basel Hong Kong since M+ officially opened. We are delighted to meet everyone in person again and are thrilled to have placed works with important private museums, foundations and collections in the region. Meanwhile global audiences stayed connected with us through our rich OVR, WeChat content and livestream guided tour, proving the enthusiasm toward quality content and artwork remains high. We look forward to bringing more of our artists’ work to the region soon.’
Lihsin Tsai, Senior Director, Hauser & Wirth (Hong Kong, Gstaad, Sankt Moritz, Zurich, London, Somerset, Los Angeles, New York)
‘Being part of Art Basel Hong Kong is an absolute thrill for a young gallery participating for the first time. I can feel the ground under me moving as we engage with a new network of collectors and curators who are loyal to the fair. While it's not the same as being in Hong Kong physically, we have been enjoying meeting everyone over zoom. We have a permanent screen in the booth and are meeting most visitors who are interested in speaking with both the gallery and the artist.’
Catinca Tabacaru, Director, Catinca Tabacaru Gallery (Bucharest)
‘As restrictions continue to ease, and Hong Kong and the rest of the region emerge from the most challenging periods of the pandemic, we are pleased to stage a diverse presentation at this year's Art Basel Hong Kong featuring some 40 works from White Cube's roster of artists. As anticipated, results have been very optimistic, with the majority of sales to collectors based locally. On opening day, we sold seven pieces, reaching over £1,000,000 (US$1,300,000).’
Wendy Xu, General Manager, Asia, White Cube (Hong Kong, London)
‘It's been a delightful experience for the gallery, and most of our artists sold, including our Indonesian artists. The OVR is also very successful, and we managed to get lots of interest in our Indonesian artists. We hope that this would contribute to the belief that Indonesian art is globally accepted and valued on the international scene.’
Liza Markus, Manager, Gajah Gallery (Yogyakarta, Singapore)
‘I think our clients in Asia have really appreciated our efforts in a moment that is still challenging for everyone. They have supported us during our lockdown in Europe and they showed their support for this first post Covid edition of Art Basel Hong Kong. I’m not physically at the fair, but I am glad our friends in Hong Kong can see the works of our artists. Overall, I am happy with this edition of the fair and can't wait to go back to Hong Kong!’
Daniele Balice, Co-Founder, Balice Hertling (Paris)
'Our international collectors are getting increasingly accustomed to navigating online fairs and have been highly engaged with the works and videos that we presented.’
Pearl Lam, Founder, Pearl Lam Galleries (Hong Kong, Shanghai)
‘Art Basel plays a pivotal role not only as an art fair for galleries to meet collectors and industry colleagues, but also a platform for us to promote artists on an unprecedented level through the fair’s strong network across all channels. We are glad to have placed our artist's work into important private and institutional collections in Asia.'
Mariko Kawashima, Gallery Director, Axel Vervoordt Gallery (Antwerp, Hong Kong)
‘This year’s presentation has been as fruitful as pre-pandemic times. Sales have been robust since the opening hours of the fair and exceeded expectations—especially with the travel restrictions in place.’
Shasha Tittmann, Director, Lehmann Maupin (Hong Kong, Seoul, London, New York)
‘Of course, we'd rather be there in person, but our presentation was especially fitting as a satellite booth this year. Our entire booth sold, and we were able to place works with excellent private collections in both China and Japan.’
Anat Ebgi, Owner, Anat Ebgi (Los Angeles)
‘Our first day at Art Basel Hong Kong has been very satisfying. We sold works ranging from $50'000 to 300'000 and are having a great experience back with our fellow gallerists at the fair. The response to our booth is positive, and we are very happy to present stunning works.’
Claudia Albertini, Senior Director, Massimo De Carlo (Hong Kong, Paris, Milan, London)
‘We were thrilled to welcome the return of Art Basel Hong Kong and it is truly moving to embrace the art community at our inaugural booth after LGDR’s global launch. We received incredible interest for our presentation, including individual collectors and institutions. It was impressive to see the considerable number of enthusiastic and thoughtful young collectors at the fair.’
Rebecca Wei, Co-Founder and Chairman, LGDR (Paris, Hong Kong, London, New York)
‘We were very pleased with our experience at Art Basel Hong Kong. We placed nearly 20 works by a range of our artists. The appetite for great works amongst collectors across Asia remains incredibly strong.’
Nick Simunovic, Senior Director, Gagosian Asia, Gagosian (Hong Kong, Paris, Athens, Rome, Basel, Geneva, Gstaad, London, Beverly Hills, New York)
‘The art market has been quite strong here in person, even in this difficult global situation. It was great to meet with many new young local collectors this time. I think the opening of M+ is helping to involve many new audiences, which is a good influence on Hong Kong’s art scene.’
Shinji Nanzuka, Founder, Nanzuka (Tokyo, Hong Kong)
‘This year’s Art Basel Hong Kong has been very encouraging, and business is vibrant. The Hong Kong show has always been a straightforward type of art fair, and the collectors here are making prompt decisions on their collections. It’s been amazing to see everyone, and I am so excited to be able to feel the momentum in the market resuming.’
Henrietta Tsui-Leung, Founder, Ora-Ora (Hong Kong)
‘During the week, we have had the opportunity to not only reconnect with existing friends and clients, but also meet new collectors from diverse backgrounds who have shown strong interest and engagement with the gallery’s program and artists. The fair remains a valuable platform for bringing together the local market, which has shown itself to be deeper than many can imagine.’
Leo Xu, Senior Director, David Zwirner (New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong)
The main sector of the show featured 96 of the world’s leading galleries staging a unique overview of the diverse art scenes across Asia and beyond, creating new and unexpected encounters between pioneering 20th-century practices and cutting-edge positions.Highlights included Rossi & Rossi’s surveypresentation of Kathmandu-born, Oakland-based artistTsherin Sherpa; new works by seminal contemporary artists Zheng Guogu and Pak Sheung Chuen presented by Vitamin Creative Space; and works by Eduardo Terrazas, Gabriel de la Mora, and Edgar Orlaineta presented by Proyectos Monclova, whereby three Mexican artists of different generations offer insight into the evolution of contemporary practices in the country. New to the Hong Kong show, Jahn und Jahn presented ‘Order and Signs,’ showcasing visual works by Henri Michaux from the 1970s and 1980s. For the full gallery list for Galleries, please visit artbasel.com/hongkong/galleries.
Bringing together 16 galleries this year, Insights presented curated presentations of works by important artists from Asia and the Asia-Pacific. Highlights included A Thousand Plateaus Art Space’s presentation by Wang Chuan, charting the artist’s creative evolution over the last 30 years, including a series of new paintings created during the pandemic in New York; James T. Hong’s dual-channel landscape film presented by Empty Gallery, juxtaposing imagery of sites from the historical Opium Wars with contemporary footage of the South China sea and Hong Kong’s skyline; and Axel Vervoordt Gallery’s presentation by Norio Imai, focusing on the artist’s multidisciplinary practice from the 1960s and 1970s up to his most recent works. For the full gallery list for Insights, please visit artbasel.com/hongkong/insights.
Focused on solo shows by emerging artists, Discoveries this year featured 18 galleries, including first-time participants Maia Contemporary – which presented a new series of paintings and sculptures by Cisco Jiménez incorporating such obsolete devices as boomboxes, record players, magnetic tapes, and radio recorders to excavate the cultural debris of a seemingly lost generation – and Catinca Tabacaru, which showcased works by Surinamese artist Xavier Robles de Medina, known for his rigorous monochrome paintings. Other highlights included Alec Egan’s lush paintings expanding the tradition of abstraction and still life painting, presented by Anat Ebgi; Fan Xi’s ‘The Temptation’ series, an immersive work inspired by the rainforest at night, presented by CLC Gallery Venture; and Bangkok CityCity Gallery’s presentation of Dusadee Huntrakul’s ‘A Lens to See the World Through,’ a new body of work comprising unique bronze sculptures and hyperrealist drawings. For the full gallery list for Discoveries, please visit artbasel.com/hongkong/discoveries.
Curated by multimedia artist and producer Li Zhenhua, who is based in Beijing and Zurich, the film sector featured 15 films by and about artists that were presented across three screenings at Louis Koo Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre. ‘Bird with no legs’ featured eight films exploring artists’ interpretations of physical and mental mobility from the late 1970s to today, and was curated by Videotage, with co-curators Myra Chan, John Chow, Kyle Chung, Chung Wing Shan, Aaron Lam, and Angel Leung.