Record breaking attendance at Art Basel Hong Kong - Art Collector

Art Basel Hong Kong 2016 general impression. Image courtesy: Art Basel

Art Basel's fourth edition in Hong Kong reported an additional 10,000 visitors through the doors than that of last year's fair, a new record for for the Asian edition. This year's fair attracted 70,000 visitors in total.

In 2016 the fair presented 239 galleries with exhibition spaces in 35 countries and territories. 28 galleries exhibited at Art Basel in Hong Kong this year for the first time, including 18 leading Western galleries, alongside nine key Asian galleries and Selma Feriani Gallery from Tunisia.

At the close on Saturday 26 March 2016, galleries across all sectors reported strong sales throughout the week.

John McCormack, co-director of Starkwhite in Auckland said of the fair: "Art Basel’s reputation as the world’s greatest art fair and Hong Kong’s fast growing reputation as the cultural hub of the Asia-Pacific region gives Art Basel in Hong Kong the power and multi-faceted edge we look for on the circuit. It performs perfectly as an art fair, but also opens up a space between the art museum and the art market where galleries can present exhibitions and projects that are aimed at curators and exhibition-makers as well as collectors. Under the new directorship of Adeline Ooi, Art Basel's Hong Kong show has lifted its game."

Some galleries reported sales within the first few hours, including David Zwirner, New York and London. Gallery director David Zwirner says: "This was certainly our most successful Hong Kong fair ever, with a super positive response from collectors all over the region, including Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, and Taipei. We were fortunate to have Belgian artist Michaël Borremans join us in Hong Kong for the week, where he entrusted us with five new paintings for the fair, which were all sold within the first few hours."

The Insights sector featured 28 solo shows, historical material and strong thematic group exhibitions. Highlights included the arresting Mother series from Australian artist Michael Cook at This Is No Fantasy + dianne tanzer gallery, Melbourne.

The Discoveries sector presented its strongest showcase of emerging artists to date, with solo- and two-person exhibitions presented by 24 galleries. Jess Johnson's vivid installation at Darren Knight, Sydney - where a floor-to-ceiling graphic wallpaper and geometrically tiled carpet created a dynamic backdrop to Johnson's fantastically detailed compositions - was a true standout.

Alexie Glass-Kantor, executive director of Artspace in Sydney, returned for a second time to curate Encounters. This year’s edition comprised 16 large-scale installations, including six of the art works that premiered at the fair, while four were site-specific for Art Basel’s show in Hong Kong.

The next Art Basel show will open in Basel on 16 June 2016, running until 19 June 2016.

Jessa Melicor

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