Hong Kong delights art lovers with a ra of emerging galleries.
Hong Kong seems to go from strength to strength and has amazing powers of reinvention. Now it’s added the mantle of art hub – right in step with its cool persona.
Constantly developing, always changing and ultra cosmopolitan, Hong Kong is a dynamic and beautiful city – and an emerging art hub, with Art Basel Hong Kong taking place for the fourth time this year. A fascinating metropolis, Hong Kong has more than seven million inhabitants crowded into a dense urban area. Since the handover of sovereignty from Great Britain to the People’s Republic of China in 1997, the “one country, two systems” status applies, covering a period of 50 years – a condition that strengthens Hong Kong’s role both as an important player in the business and nancial sector and as a glittering shopping destination.
Each year Hong Kong becomes the focus of the art world: since 2013 the offshoot of Art Basel has taken place here with great success. Not only have the most important international galleries for modern and contemporary art, such as WHITE CUBE and GAGOSIAN GALLERY, established branches here, but Art Basel Hong Kong has also proved to be a catalyst for the local art scene, with exciting emerging galleries such as PEARL LAM and HANART TZ promoting local talent. At this year’s event, 239 of the world’s leading modern and contemporary art galleries displayed paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, prints, photographs, lm, video, and digital art by more than 4000 artists.
Apart from the main venue in the Hong Kong Convention Center, the top galleries and art and design hubs such as PMQ POLICE MARRIED QUARTERS, and arty restaurants like BIBO, DUDDELL’S (designed by Ilse Crawford) and MOTT 32 in and around Central, CHAI WAN, a former industrial area around a cargo handling basin in the east of Hong Kong Island is the place to go. Galleries such as AO VERTICAL, PLATFORM CHINA and 10 CHANCERY LANE present works in semi-derelict production buildings and empty warehouses.
Parallel to Art Basel Hong Kong, the local arts festival Chai Wan Mei offers an opportunity to explore artists’ and designers’ studios. “This two-day event opens the doors of Chai Wan’s industrial creative spaces,” says Ignacio Garcia, one half of design duo TANGRAM, headquartered in the area. Spanish architect Ignacio and his wife, Columbian textile designer Paola Sinisterra, moved to Hong Kong in 2010. “We were thrilled by the dynamic of the city, and we appreciate being close to the textile production in China as well as the surrounding nature.”
Indeed, Hong Kong is much greener than you would think – with hiking trails and dense forests just behind the urban jungle, which can be discovered in all its beauty from Victoria Peak. Take the Peak Tram from Central up to the top and enjoy the breathtaking view, and the rush of high-rise style. From here you can look across Victoria Harbour which has diminished in size over the past few years as land has been reclaimed for, among other developments, the new West Kowloon cultural district where the M+ museum for visual culture, focusing on 20th- and 21st-century art, design and architecture is taking shape, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and scheduled for opening in 2019.
Non-pro t art space SPRING WORKSHOP’s founder and director MIMI BROWN says she came to Hong Kong for adventure, with her husband who is from Istanbul, and baby. “Spring Workshop opened in 2012 in the Wong Chuk Hang area, where there are still traditional markets, temples and a shing community, and now a new metro, hotels and shopping malls. The gallery is committed to an international cross-disciplinary program of artists and curatorial residencies, exhibitions, music, lm and talks, adding to Hong Kong’s rich cultural landscape.”
ELISABETH LAU, with her store THE REFINERY at design hub PMQ, is another creative who is helping to make Hong Kong tick. She arrived from London in 2013, and says “Hong Kong is always changing, there are always new and thrilling things to discover. For me it is an exciting destination celebrating design and creativity.”
FRÉDÉRIC GOORIS (designer of Alessi Eyes, Alessi Watches) studied design in Milan where he met his Hong Kong-born wife. The couple and their two daughters moved here in 2010. “Hong Kong is a great place for a Western designer like me. For my European clients like Alessi it is important to have someone here to oversee the manufacturing process in the factories in China, from the rst prototype to the nal product.”
Curator of M+ museum, ARIC CHEN, was born in Chicago to Chinese parents. “This is the world’s biggest art venue currently under construction on 40 hectares of reclaimed land. It’s very exciting to be a part of this.”
No one has documented the (ephemeral) beauty of Hong Kong as well as photographer MICHAEL WOLF, who works in a lofty studio in Chai Wan. His fascination with Hong Kong – where he has been based since 1994 – has produced many photographic artworks that document his discoveries of culture and life in the small back streets. “My favourite is the PING PONG 129 GINTONERIA – an industrial space in Sai Ying Pun (the ‘Prenzlauer Berg’ of Hong Kong), infused with Spanish soul,” he says. Juan Martínez Gregorio opened this bar in the basement of a former ping pong club in 2014, serving 70 gins from around the world plus artisanal beers. “Hong Kong is a place where you can make things happen,” says Juan.
Clockwise from top le A view of Hong Kong Island from East hotel. Ed1tus o ers mid-century designs. Curator of the M+ museum, Aric Chen. Perennial favourite Yardbird restaurant. Chilling out at Ammo restaurant. Gallery Hanart TZ. Ignacio Garcia and Paola Sinisterra of Tangram designers. Slivers of skyscrapers.
Quirky decoration at Hong Kong restaurant Ho Lee Fook.
Clockwise from centre Photographer Michael Wolf. His photographic artworks on display. Ping Pong 129 Gintoneria serves gins from around the world. Konzepp store oers quirky goods. Fashion designer Elizabeth Lau at her shop The Renery. The bustling Central district. PMQ Police Married Quarters is home to design stores and restaurants.
Clockwise from top le AO Vertical art space in Chai Wan. 10 Chancery Lane Gallery represents local artists. Mimi Brown (centre) and her Spring Workshop exhibition space. Chai Wan arts district is in a former industrial area. Pearl Lam Galleries promotes contemporary art and design. Central’s Mott 32 restaurant serves modern Chinese food.
Clockwise from top le Green space – Admiralty in Central. Frédéric Gooris designs watches and more for Alessi. Bibo restaurant – art on the walls and on the plate. Carbone is a New York-style Italian restaurant. Friedrich Kunath’s exhibition at White Cube. Platform China Contemporary Art Institute is an outpost of the Beijing gallery.
OUT & ABOUT GALLERIES
AO VERTICAL aovertical.com
GAGOSIAN GALLERY gagosian.com HANART TZ hanart.com
PEARL LAM GALLERIES pearllam.com PLATFORM CHINA platformchina.org/en/ Home/About
SPRING WORKSHOP springworkshop.org WHITE CUBE whitecube.com
10 CHANCERY LANE GALLERY 10chancerylanegallery.com
R E S TAU R A N T S/ B A R S AMMO ammo.com.hk BIBO bibo.hk CARBONE carbone.com.hk DUDDELL´s duddells.co MOTT 32 mott32.com HO LEE FOOK holeefook.com.hk PING PONG 129 GINTONERIA pingpong129.com
YARDBIRD yardbirdrestaurant.com SHOPS ED1TUS ed1tus.com KONZEPP shop.konzepp.com PMQ pmq.org.hk THE REFINERY therenery.com.hk HOT EL S EAST HONG KONG east-hongkong.com THE UPPER HOUSE upperhouse.com