Hong Kong in 2010: Art
Hong Kong’s art markets continued to make big strides in 2009, and 2010 is looking even brighter – at least, that’s what our three experts said when Mary Agnew asked them what they thought the year’s big trends would be...
Magnus Renfrew, director of Hong Kong International Art Fair
Magnus Renfrew is looking forward to the biggest Hong Kong art fair (ARTHK10) since its inception in 2008 – not just because the fair itself has become one of the most significant events on the art calendar in Asia, but also because this year the fair coincides with the city’s major art auctions in April and late May. “It is a major incentive for art collectors to come to [the city] at that time,” he says. “All eyes will be on Hong Kong.”
These kinds of large-scale events, coupled with an emerging wellspring of fresh talent, are exactly why Renfrew believes international businesses will increasingly direct their attention to Hong Kong in the coming months and years, especially with the art markets in London and New York less buoyant than in previous years. “There is an emerging consensus that Hong Kong is the perfect location in which to expand into the Asian art markets. I think a great deal can be achieved here if we have the courage to do so.”
ARTHK10, May 27-30, HKCEC
Eugene Tan, director of Osage Gallery Hong Kong
The director of Time Out Hong Kong’s Best Gallery 2009 reckons Hong Kong’s artists will enjoy greater notice as attention shifts away from China to other parts of Asia – a niche into which Osage has been delving deeper in the last 12 months.
This year is to be no different. “Osage’s exhibitions in 2010 will continue to focus on examining contemporary art practice in Asia,” says Eugene Tan. “In addition to solo exhibitions of Hong Kong artists, we are also planning exhibitions that examine the state of painting in Asia today.”
From his box-seat position, Tan foresees a strong year for Hong Kong art and hails “a new energy in the art scene”. That energy, he says, can be felt across the board, from the commercial galleries, to non-profit organisations and in the building momentum of the West Kowloon Cultural District, which could ultimately result in a renaissance for museums.
Johnson Chang Tsong-zung, director of Hanart TZ Gallery
Johnson Chang is even more adamant than his expert peers that Hong Kong artists will achieve real success in their own right this year as an innovative and cheaper alternative to their Mainland Chinese contemporaries. “I think local artists are starting to get a fairer share of exhibitions,” he says. “They are in tune with an urban culture that is more critical of ideological histories and sweeping narratives.”
Chang also points to a deviation from conventional mediums as a plus for Hong Kong artists in 2010. “I find a lot more interesting work coming through in video and installations, which tackle more intellectual and conceptual subjects. I think in the next year the people who have been experimenting in these areas will come to the fore.”
Johnson Chang predicts a market trend for 2010: Wu Shan Zhuan
The 2010 market may be plumping for Chinese artist Wu Shan Zhuan, whose highly intellectual and philosophical work is based on an appraisal of the history of modernity. Wu’s most famous work Red Humour (1986; pictured left) took the form of a chaotic room with walls completely covered with Cultural Revolution slogans, commercial advertising and titles of classic works of Western art history. On the back of this triumph and a big show in Shanghai in 2009, the China Academy of Art will this year publish a large catalogue of his work that will feature, in part, his long awaited book, Today No Water.
18-23 The Sovereign Asian Art Prize Exhibition
TBC Fotanian Open studios
5-6 Sotheby’s Art Auctions
27-30 ARTHK 10 (Hong Kong International Art Fair)
TBC Christie’s Art Auctions
29-31 Hong Kong International Arts & Antiques Fair
23 to 27 World Expo 2010 Shanghai
TBC Shanghai Biennale
TBC Art Mart: Para/Site Art Auctions