2024 Art Basel in Hong Kong, a fulcrum for global arts exchange
Published: Mar 28, 2024 10:51 PM
Visitors at the Basel Hong Kong 2024 Photo: Courtesy of Basel Hong Kong

Visitors at the Basel Hong Kong 2024 Photo: Courtesy of Basel Hong Kong

Embracing a total of 242 top-notch galleries from 40 countries and regions, Art Basel Hong Kong, one of Asia's "busiest" exhibition fairs dedicate to international modern and contemporary art, officially opened to the public in Hong Kong on Thursday.

The fair will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) until March 30. Nearly 70 established galleries like Sprüth Magers and the Lisson Gallery have returned after shaking off the fatigue brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although many of these organizations have roots in the West, like in London and Paris, half of the exhibitors have franchises in the Asia-Pacific region, including Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

Their return, along with other galleries from nearby countries like India, makes for a 37 percent increase in exhibitors compared to the fair's 2023 edition.

Angelle Siyang-Le, the director of Art Basel Hong Kong, said that the organization is thrilled to present the 2024 edition, which is back to "full capacity" and ready to welcome exhibitors from all over the world.

The director also said that the fair's aim is to foster global connections among visitors to Hong Kong by providing opportunities for cooperation and creativity sparked by art and artists.

"As the key strategic cultural hub in Asia and the Asia Pacific, the city plays an important role, more than ever, in bridging the evolving art landscape across regions," the director said.

Visitors at the Basel Hong Kong 2024 Photo: Courtesy of Basel Hong Kong

Visitors at the Basel Hong Kong 2024 Photo: Courtesy of Basel Hong Kong

According to ARTnews, galleries like Hauser & Wirth from Switzerland already did well during the fair's VIP day on March 26. The gallery sold 16 artworks that day, 10 of which went to collections in Asia.

"We take this region very seriously and just opened a new space here, so it's a huge investment," Marc Payot, president and senior partner of Hauser & Wirth, told ARTnews.

Li Xin, an art market expert, told the Global Times that the Asian market, especially the Chinese market, has become the "second most promising sector" in global art transactions.

According to the Hurun Report 2023, 70 percent of Chinese entrepreneurs collect art as investments. Chinese art sales in 2023 reached $12.2 billion. Also, various art-related financial products have mushroomed to serve the growing appetite of Chinese art buyers.

Other than international galleries, a total of 35 Chinese mainland galleries are also participating in the event.

The fair this year comprises five exhibiting sections with titles such as "Conversation" and "Film." It is committed to work hand in hand with galleries, artists, world-class institutions and cultural partners to launch a series of colorful artistic activities and events throughout the city during the exhibition.