Fine Art Asia 2020 – Where Classic and Contemporary Converge
staged successfully in Hong Kong despite the pandemic
Hong Kong, 7 December 2020 – Despite the unprecedented outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe, Fine Art Asia 2020, Asia’s leading international fine art fair, together with Hong Kong Spotlight by Art Basel (Hong Kong Spotlight), were staged from 27-30 November at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The fair converged Hong Kong’s renowned art and antique galleries by presenting an outstanding array of antiques and contemporary art, attracted many knowledgeable dealers, collectors and connoisseurs.
The Private Preview on 26 November enjoyed astonishing success attracting more than 2,000 guests, among them leading dealers, collectors, curators and art lovers from Hong Kong. Fine Art Asia 2020 is proud to have hosted the first physical art fair in town. The fair has successfully united the local art community and overcome the difficulties presented by the unpredictable situation of the pandemic, which once again proves the solid infrastructure and pivotal role of Hong Kong as one of the established art hubs in the world.
Fine Art Asia 2020 presented a remarkable display of museum-quality Asian and Western antiques, jewellery, modern and contemporary art, as well as a spectacular array of ink. The fair was originally staged at the peak of October art season, had been rescheduled to November this year due to the pandemic. The 6,500-square-metre exhibition space provided a showcase around 10,000 stunning works of art. More than 8,000 visitors attended the fair over the 5 days and more than 90% of invited VIPs attending both exhibitions of Fine Art Asia and Hong Kong Spotlight.
Owing to the travel restriction caused by the pandemic, many collectors and dealers from overseas and mainland China could not be able to attend the fair; however, local collectors and dealers were still grateful to witness and take part in the physical art fair in Hong Kong. Rasti Chinese Art (Hong Kong), specialising in antique jades and Chinese works of art, was happy to meet new clients. “It was good to collaborate with Art Basel because it brought new faces to the fair. I did not expect to do usual amount of business this year as I usually meet my clients from overseas, mainland China and Taiwan during the fair, but I’m happy that people still showed interests.”
Rossi & Rossi (London/Hong Kong), specialising in Himalayan art, was generally satisfied with the fair. An important thangka of “Yama Dharmaraja” from the 18th century was being considered by client, while a sculpture of “Seated Buddha” from the 14th century was sought-after by collectors. Antique Chinese furniture specialists Ever Arts Gallery (Hong Kong) sold several small items which were carefully selected for the exhibition in virtue of the special circumstance and the fair’s focus on Hong Kong market this year; while Wui Po Kok (Hong Kong), specialising in archaic Chinese bronzes, was happy with the fair. Good sales were reported by Palais Royal (Hong Kong/Paris), specialising in designed, antique and vintage jewellery. They were delighted to sell around 12-15 pieces, including an 18-carat gold French watch from 1950 and a black enamel and rock crystal vanity case by Cartier dating from c. 1925, both by Cartier.
Many visitors were seen at the booth of the collaborative exhibition Convergence presented by Maria Kiang Chinese Art (Hong Kong) and Chelesa Art (Hong Kong/Shanghai). Convergence promotes the integration and dialogue between classical Chinese art, paintings and design. Maria Kiang, director of Maria Kiang Chinese Art, commented that the focus this year became education over sales: by juxtaposing all the artworks ranging from ancient times to modern days, it is important to “sell” this new concept and introduce the idea of cross-collecting to people who visited their exhibition for the first time.
This year, Fine Art Asia was delighted to present an exceptional offering of modern and contemporary art by prominent art galleries and institutions in Hong Kong. Whitestone Gallery (Hong Kong/Tokyo/Taipei), showing artworks by acclaimed Japanese and Chinese artists, sold a major piece illustrated in the fair catalogue, “Early Spring” by Chinese mixed-media artist Yang Yongliang (b.1980); Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery (Hong Kong), presenting an exhibition of works by renowned Chinese artists Li Huayi (b.1948) and Pang Gongkai (b.1947), sold an important painting by Pang Gongkai; while Soluna Fine Art (Hong Kong) sold a mixed-media work “Scholar’s Accoutrement (1551032)” by Korean artist Kim Duck Yong (b.1961).
Tanya Baxter Contemporary (London/Hong Kong), specialising in modern British art, presented an exciting Asian collection with sophisticated artists and young emerging talents at the fair. Key sales were an oil painting “Hong Kong Ferry” by English artist Pip Todd Warmoth (b.1962), “Red Dress 2020” by Chinese artist Zhao Kailin (b.1961), as well as their catalogue piece by eminent English artist Bridget Riley (b.1931). Collectors and buyers also showed keen interest in works by auction record artists such as Andy Warhol, Frank Auerbach and Tracey Emin. Grotto Fine Art (Hong Kong), focusing on Hong Kong artists, reported steady sales at the fair, including several ink paintings by Wai Pong-Yu (b.1982), and a large-scale mixed-media work “The Marchers” by emerging artist Xie Cheng-xuan (b. 1997); Hanart TZ Gallery (Hong Kong) had good sales and was thrilled about the fair.
In photography section, as part of the collaborative exhibition presented by The Italian Cultural Institute, Novalis Contemporary Art Design (Hong Kong) was pleased with multiple sales of silver gelatin prints by Italian photographer Tazio Secchiaroli (1925-1998); Boogie Woogie Photography (Hong Kong) with the exhibition on the theme of exploring woman and Mother Nature, sold a total of 8 works by Jacques-Henri Lartigue (1894-1986), Chak Wai-Leung (b.1942) and one piece by emerging photographer Stephanie Cheng (b.1995)’s “From Here” series.
Hong Kong Cancer Fund reported a hive of activity at their booth hosting a charity auction with works by local artists curated by Eric Leung Shiu Kei. 90% of works were sold with enthusiastic biddings. Among all, works by Zhang Xiaoli and Wenda Yiu Tung Wing were particularly popular. The special exhibition “Made in Hong Kong” focused on the essence of Hong Kong culture by presenting calligraphy and artworks by well-known local artists such as Tung Chiao, Joseph Chak Wong, Chua Lam and Kam Siu Man, also reported excellent sales.
Johnson Chang, director of Hanart TZ Gallery, said, “Fine Art Asia and Hong Kong Spotlight by Art Basel is, no question, the most enlivened art event of the year. Our art community, curators, galleries and artists were excited about this art event. This physical art event highlights Hong Kong arts and promotes Hong Kong art community and galleries, we should be very thankful to the organiser.”
An impressive Academic Programme of lectures and seminars was organised by The Ink Society, strengthening discussion and interaction between scholars, galleries and collectors. We were also delighted to welcome the Hong Kong Palace Museum to host high-profile lectures for the 2nd year. Highlight also included a panel discussion co-presented by Fine Art Asia and Hong Kong Spotlight by Art Basel.
Andy Hei, Founder and Director of Fine Art Asia, said,
“There are always more solutions than problems. Facing the uncertainties and challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, we still successfully hosted a physical art fair in collaboration with Art Basel Hong Kong. We are committed to make contribution to the art world in hopes of raising the morale of the art and financial markets in Hong Kong, providing collectors and audiences an ideal platform for integrating art into lifestyles through a wide range of artworks.”
– End –