Cover Adrian Cheng at Art Basel 2022 (Photo: Anna Koustas)

After being postponed by two months due to Covid-19 restrictions, the (normally) annual fair was welcomed with open arms on May 25 before the public opening three days later

When? May 25, 2022

Where? Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

Who? Adrian Cheng, Marisa Yiu, Karena Lam and Emily Lam-Ho among other VIPs

Here’s what you missed: The private viewing of Art Basel Hong Kong generated a level of excitement among the art crowd that hadn’t been felt for months. After being postponed by two months due to Covid-19 restrictions, the (normally) annual fair was welcomed with open arms on May 25 before the public opening three days later.

The tenth edition of the fair, held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, was once again divided into three sectors: Galleries, Insights and Discoveries, each exhibiting paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photography and digital art, reflecting Asia’s rich history, modern and contemporary art, and art from emerging artists and galleries from around the world.

A total of 130 leading galleries took part, including 10 Chancery Lane, Alisan Fine Arts, Blindspot Gallery, Hanart TZ Gallery and de Sarthe Gallery representing Hong Kong, alongside major international players like Gagosian, David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth. For galleries unable to attend due to travel restrictions, the show featured satellite booth to ensure as much art as possible could be shown.

Visitor Adrian Cheng was still on a high from news that Prenetics, in partnership with his firm, Artisan Acquisition Corp, was the first Hong Kong unicorn to list on Nasdaq. He arrived at the exhibition hall and headed straight to the Lévy Gorvy booth, to see the new series Onward & Upward by Michael Lau, the Hong Kong artist and sculptor known for his designer toys. When asked how long the giant 2.2m x 2.2m piece took to create, Lau said: “Oh, just an hour. Easy peasy,” to laughter from friends nearby.

Karena Lam, who attended the fair with Federico Tan, posed with fans, including Stephen Wong Chun-hei, the artist known for his landscape paintings of Hong Kong’s great outdoors.

Adeline Ooi, director of Art Basel Asia could be seen bouncing between press interviews and tours and beaming with pride towards the return of the fair. “It’s so good to see so many faces again,” she said. Between US sculptor Tom Friedman’s piece at Lehmann Maupin and Hong Kong artist Movana Chen’s mammoth installation Deconstructing at the centre of the exhibition, the entire experience was a feast for the senses.

This year, digital assets and NFTs also made their mark, with a special booth by blockchain Tezos, which piqued the interest of both the Turkish Consul General Peyami Kalyoncu and Design Trust founding member Joyce Tam. NFTs + The Ever-Evolving World of Art showcased the work of more than 20 digital artists from around the world, and allowed visitors to scan a QR code to launch a live-minting of a “one of one”, or completely unique, artwork NFT from one of the series the participating artists. As well as being displayed in the installation, the artwork was sent to the visitor’s Kukai wallet as a gift.

After a year plagued by Covid-19, the event took on a new significance and served as a much needed reminder that great art will always have a place in Hong Kong.

See also: Discover 'The Reach', The Macallan’s Rare Aged Whisky at Art Basel Hong Kong
 

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