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Art Basel Hong Kong makes full return to cement its presence in Asia’s art market

More than 10 Korean galleries will join the fair, presenting artists from home and abroad.

By Park Yuna

Published : March 15, 2023 - 13:35

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"Monument of Hanbok" by Jung Jang-ja (Art Basel Hong Kong)

Art Basel Hong Kong, Asia’s largest art fair, will fully return to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre next week after a three-year pandemic hiatus with a stronger line-up of galleries from Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, including 12 homegrown galleries from South Korea.

The five-day art fair will kick off on Tuesday and run through Saturday, opening to the public from Thursday through Saturday. It will bring together 177 galleries from 32 countries, including 22 first-time exhibitors across the world, according to Art Basel Hong Kong.

“Art Basel reinforces its commitment to showcasing exceptional art from Asia and the Asia-Pacific, with over two-thirds of participating galleries having exhibition space in the region,” Art Basel Hong Kong noted in the press release.

The show will consist of 134 galleries presenting artworks at their booths. Eight Korean galleries – Arario Gallery, Gallery Baton, Hakgojae Gallery, Johyun Gallery, Kukje Gallery, Leeahn Gallery, One and J.Gallery and PKM Gallery – will be on-site, presenting works by artists from home and abroad.

"Another World" by Joung Young-Ju, (Art Basel Hong Kong)

“We are excited for ABHK returning with full events this year. We will present paintings, installations and media art by six Korean artists at Art Basel Hong Kong, such as video art pioneer Nam June Paik. Painter Joung Young-ju will be shown separately in the Kabinett sector within the booth,” Woo Chung-woo, director of Hakgojae Gallery told The Korea Herald. As a prominent gallery in Seoul, the gallery has participated in the art fair every year since it was launched in 2014.

The full return of the art fair will include the fair’s Encounters sector, which is dedicated to large-scale works; the Insights sector, which introduces prominent artists from Asia and the Asia-Pacific region; the Kabinett sector, which shows modern and contemporary artists displayed by galleries in a separate section of their booths; and the Discoveries sector, where galleries will display new work created specifically for the show by emerging artists.

Gallery 2, a first-time Korean exhibitor at the fair, will join the Discoveries sector presenting Korean artist Jeon Hyun-sun. Other Korean galleries to join the sector are Whistle, which will introduce Korean artist Ram Ham, and Jason Haam, which will show works by Moka Lee.

“The Discoveries sector of ABHK is an excellent chance to spotlight the artist through a solo presentation. Since 2017, Whistle has focused on emerging artists based in Seoul by acting as a cooperative extension of the artists' practices. Han’s work is both sophisticated and cutting-edge, and demonstrates an experimental mindset that does not shy away from challenges or medium limitations, taking the form of light panels, 3D printed sculpture and VR animation,” said Lee Kyung-min, director of Whistle in Seoul.

Gimhongsok's Gimhongsok's "Solitude of Silences" (Kukje Gallery)

Wooson Gallery will present works by Korean painter Ahn Chang-hong as part of the Insights sector. Kukje Gallery, one of the country’s leading galleries, will present “Solitude of Silences” by Korean sculptor Gimhongsok among 13 large-scale sculptural or installation-based works to be shown in the Encounters sector.

“The people in the work, ‘Solitude of Silences,’ depict our everyday neighbors whom we may encounter in modern society -- an actor, a refugee, a taekwondo instructor, a student, a truck driver and a modern dancer -- some of whom hold unstable employment and are therefore paid irregular wages. ‘Solitude of Silences’ points out the ambiguity of the term, ‘worker,’ and the difficulties of categorizing labor with the demise of its modern definition following globalization,” Kukje Gallery said about the work.