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Art Basel Hong Kong 2014: First time participant galleries prepare for the fair

Four gallerists discuss their expectations from Art Basel’s second edition in Hong Kong. This article was originally published on Art Radar (9 May 2014). 

Image: Birgit Juergenssen, Illumination, 1990, courtesy Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna

Art Basel Hong Kong is ready to roll out its second edition from 15 to 18 May 2014, featuring a total of 245 premier galleries from across the world. Art Radar asked four galleries who are new to the show about their preparation, the artists they are exhibiting and their hopes from the art fair.

  • Hubert Winter (HW): Owner of Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna, Austria 
  • Michael Hoppen (MH): Owner of Michael Hoppen Gallery, London 
  • Nikolaus Ruzicska (NR): Owner of Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg 
  • Anna Schwartz (AS): Director of Anna Schwartz Gallery, Sydney/Melbourne, Australia
Why did you apply to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong this year? How did you feel to be accepted? 

HW: There are two main reasons that I want to mention: curiosity for the Asian art market and to establish new business relationships with Asia. I was delighted to be accepted. 

MH: We believe Art Basel Hong Kong to be the best fair in Asia and Hong Kong the best city in Asia to meet collectors. We are delighted to be participating again.

NR: We applied because Art Basel is always of top quality. We were exhilarated to be accepted.

AS: Art Basel Hong Kong is a dynamic exchange between diverse interlocutors. I have actually participated in Art Hong Kong (ART HK) previously.

What will you be taking to the fair and how did you choose these works? 

HW: I faced a lot of questions regarding the selection of artists for Art Basel Hong Kong. One of our artists, Lei Xue, is from China. We have already presented him at various European art fairs. Lei Xue has always started from the origin of a dialogue between East and West. The entanglement of both is the resource of his art works that dissolve the polarity of the different cultures. 

We also want to give an insight into the highlights of the gallery. The entire line up for Art Basel Hong Kong is Judith Fegerl, Michael Höpfner, Birgit Jürgenssen, Fred Sandback, Lawrence Weiner and Lei Xue. 

MH: We decided to bring a one-artist booth, and we have selected Bill Brandt as the artist. 

NR: We asked a young art historian and curator from Vienna to curate a booth on the theme “Homage to the Colourful Square”, alluding to Malevich’s “Homage to the Black Square”. She came up with a beautiful array of works by seven international artists from three generations: Henrik Eiben, Liam Gillick, Imi Knoebel, Brigitte Kowanz, Niko Luoma, Gerold Miller and Francois Morellet. 

AS: A diverse range of artists from different places who all strongly assert our position today in consideration of the psychological, the cultural and the political moment.

What are the challenges in getting ready for the event? How busy do you anticipate being at the fair? 

HW: Thanks to the organisation of the Art Basel Team, the preparations are going very smoothly. I think that we will be very active during the short period from 15 to 18 May. 

MH: The main challenge is the amount of fairs and shows we participate in. We have just completed a fair in New York and now we have to get ready for Hong Kong. [But] the fair is very well organised, and we are used to fair planning. 

NR: We always try to be as professional as possible. We will hopefully be very busy. 

AS: From Australia, a lot of organisation and expense is involved.

What are the benefits of attending a fair of this magnitude? 

HW: Gaining experience and a lot of humility given the fact [sic] of the exhibited art. 

MH: The huge variety of people we will meet. 

NR: Networking and selling at the highest level. 

AS: Visibility and discussion. Extending the domain of our conversations.

What are your hopes from the fair and what would your ideal day at the fair be like? 

HW: To learn more about Chinese and Asian art in general, also to meet Asian art collectors, curators and get an insight into their individual perspective. 

MH: We always like to meet new collectors so we hope to do so again this year. 

NR: An ideal day would involve many sales, many new contacts, and we’d be busy as hell! 

AS: I hope to create opportunities and sales for artists. An ideal day would be new conversations, invitations to international events for artists and a nice local dinner. 

Kriti Bajaj