The Korea Herald


Art Basel Hong Kong shows steep recovery from pandemic

By Park Ga-young

Published : March 27, 2024 - 18:39

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Visitors view an installation titled Visitors view an installation titled "Contingent Spheres (2020, 2022)" by South Korean artist Yang Hae-gue, at the Art Basel in Hong Kong on Tuesday. (Park Ga-young/The Korea Herald)

HONG KONG -- Art Basel Hong Kong returned in full form last year to the excitement of the art community. This year, the fair is showing a steep recovery curve, with the number of participating galleries reaching 242, up from last year's 177.

The 37 percent increase indicates a return to the show’s pre-pandemic scale, matching the 242 galleries that participated in 2019.

Art Basel’s 2024 Hong Kong edition opened at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on Tuesday with invitation-only VIP days. The fair will be open to the public from Thursday to Saturday.

“If 2023 was the year of Asia's reopening, 2024 is about reconnecting with one another in the wake of transformative change,” Angelle Siyang-Le, director of Art Basel Hong Kong, told reporters on Tuesday.

With more than half of the exhibitors coming from Asia, 10 South Korean galleries are participating, with nine being featured in the fair's main "Galleries" section, including Arario Gallery, Gallery Baton, Hakgojae and Johyun Gallery.

At “Encounters,” a curated section dedicated to large-scale projects, Kukje Gallery is showcasing South Korean artist Yang Hae-gue and Australian artist Daniel Boyd.

“Encounters” introduces 16 artworks, 11 of which were made especially for the fair.

Kukje Gallery is also showcasing wooden sculptures by artist Kim Yun-shin, among other works. Four of Kim’s works were sold on the first day of Art Basel Hong Kong.

Arario Gallery is exhibiting contemporary reinterpretations of traditional Eastern painting techniques by artist Lee Jin-joo and video works by Korean-French artist Kim Soun-gui from the 1980s to the 1990s.

A visitor looks at works by Lee Jin-joo displayed at Arario Gallery's booth at Art Basel Hong Kong on Wednesday. (Park Ga-young/The Korea Herald) A visitor looks at works by Lee Jin-joo displayed at Arario Gallery's booth at Art Basel Hong Kong on Wednesday. (Park Ga-young/The Korea Herald)

PKM Gallery is showcasing works by artist Koo Jeong-a, who will represent South Korea at the 60th Venice Biennale and works by singer, actor and artist Bek Hyun-jin and pioneering Korean abstract painter Yoo Young-kuk.

Whistle Gallery is participating in the "Discoveries’ section," introducing works by photographer Kim Kyoung-tae.

In "Kabinett," the section featuring thematic presentations within participating galleries’ booths, Johyun Gallery is presenting eight color pencil works by the late Park Seo-bo.

Johyun Gallery is also presenting bronze sculptures and large-scale brushstroke works by artist Lee Bae, and Kim Chong-hak’s "White Series" against a white background. Lee’s sculptures and two paintings presented by the gallery were sold out within one hour of opening on the first day.

Additionally, several overseas galleries are showcasing works by Korean artists. Axel Vervoordt Gallery from Belgium is presenting works by Kim Soo-ja in the "Film" section, while Tina Kim Gallery from New York is introducing artist Kang Seok-ho in "Kabinett."

Also in "Kabinett," contemporary reinterpretations of moon jars by ceramic artist Park Young-sook are on display.

Art Basel Hong Kong coincides with the city’s Art Week, during which renowned galleries in Hong Kong start new exhibitions. Sotheby’s and Phillips will conduct auctions during this period, showcasing artworks by contemporary and modern artists such as Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet. Seoul Auction will exhibit some of its auction items in Hong Kong before an auction in Seoul on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Korean Cultural Center in Hong Kong is hosting the “Layers of K-Art” exhibition, connecting works by late monochrome painters and traditional Korean ceramics, in collaboration with the Sungkyunkwan University Museum.