Art Central enjoys a successful sophomore year - Art Collector

Art Central 2016 exterior. Courtesy: Art Central Hong Kong

Art Central – staged at the Hong Kong harbourfront to coincide with Art Basel – enjoyed a triumphant second year, recording more than 32,000 visitors through the doors over the running five days. The second edition had a distinctly Asian focus, with 75 per cent of the 100 galleries exhibiting from the Greater Asia area. 2016 also saw the depth of public programming dramatically increase through large-scale installations, panel discussions and performances.

Seven Australian and New Zealand galleries attended the fair this year, including Sydney’s Chalk Horse, Connie Dietzschold Gallery, M Contemporary and Dominik Mersch, Metro Gallery in Melbourne, Hill Smith Gallery in Adelaide and Gisborne’s Paulnache. International names included Michael Goedhuis (London, New York), Schuebbe Inc (Düsseldorf) – who exhibited an group show with 1950s German artist collective SPUR – and Galerie Forsblom (Helsinki), who presented works by celebrated Spanish artist Manolo Valdés.

Art Central co-founder Tim Etchells said that many attending galleries reported strong sales to collectors met for the first time through the fair: “The fair is creating new opportunities, connections and experiences at many levels.” Sydney’s Dominik Mersch Gallery, attending for the first time in 2016, presented work by stable artists Marion Borgelt, Janet Laurence, Dani Marti, Jon Cattapan and Clemens Krauss, among others. “We had solid sales and we made some great new connections to institutions and private collectors in Hong Kong, Mainland China, South Korea, Singapore, France, Germany as well as back home in Australia,” said director Dominik Mersch. Marti, with whom the gallery started working a couple of months ago, had a particularly strong reception with Asian collectors.

Brian Wallace, director and founder of Red Gate Gallery in Beijing, also reported a successful fair: “We have seen very good sales with a receptive crowd interested in Asian contemporary art, who have been asking a lot of questions,” he said. Sydney Townsend from Gazelli Art House in London agrees: “As a London-based gallery, Art Central has helped open up doors for us in Asia. Bringing our artist James Ostrer’s works to Hong Kong has been an opportunity to show his works to a new audience and we have had a really exciting response with a lot of institutional interest and new project opportunities.”

Camilla Wagstaff

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