Cover Hope You Are Well (2021) by Afa Annfa (Photo: Art Central and the artist)

Art Central returns this May with more than 50 galleries and an ambitious line-up of interactive installations, experimental films, performances, and art and tech expert discussions. Here’s what you need to know

After its postponement from March 23 to 26 due to the fifth wave of the pandemic, Art Central, one of the biggest art events in Hong Kong, is confirmed to run from May 26 to 29, with a VIP preview on May 25.

This year’s edition occupies a bigger space at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, with more than 50 international and Asian galleries, including 20 which are new to the art fair: Touch Gallery, Double Q Gallery, Square Street Gallery from Hong Kong; Gin Huang Gallery, based in Taichung, Taiwan; and Mwimbi Fine Art from Lusaka, Zambia.

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The fair showcases gallery presentations across three sectors, which are named after colloquial Cantonese terms. Chung Dim (“centre point”) Central Galleries focuses on leading international contemporary artists. It features notable institutions, such as Lee & Bae, the Busan gallery, which presents South Korean artist Jin-Wook Yeom’s acclaimed imaginary mountain paintings, and Novalis Art Design, an Italian art design gallery in Hong Kong, which looks at avantgarde art related to colour theories and optical illusions from the 1960s and 70s.

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The second zone, Gwo Wai Curated Booths, takes inspiration from how performers cross paths onstage in Cantonese operas, and spotlights innovative art trends along a historical timeline. Of note here is Hong Kong street artist Lousy, who is known for drawing on anything—including human bodies.

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Duk Dak (“unique”) Solo Presentations looks at individual emerging and established artists, including Gizella Rákóczy, a central figure in Hungarian art, and Hong Kong artist Wong Sze-wai, who addresses memory loss in her work.

The fair also features six large-scale installations incorporating bamboo, fake plants and an entire 24-hour launderette in the Yi Tai ("variant bodies") Sculpture and Installation Projects sector, curated by curator Qu Chang.

Moreover, works by the finalists of this year's Sovereign Asian Art Prize, organised by the Sovereign Art Foundation, will be presented on-site for sale. "I like this year’s shortlisted artists," Chair Judge David Elliott of the art prize comments, "There are a large number who are new to me from a wide range of different countries and regions. In some of these works I can sense a feeling of urgency – a critique of our times that on occasion approaches emotions of disgust and horror but never despair. In this realisation, art has an important role to play in culture at large."

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Alongside the artworks, a strong representation of Hong Kong-based performers, tech experts and artists participate in a range of events, including talks, video screenings and performance art shows, the latter presented by the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, the official education partner of the fair.

Tickets are now on sale via Hong Kong Ticketing.

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