There is nothing that quite says “Hong Kong is back” like the flurry of international exhibitions that has been hitting the town in recent months. The biggest of which is Art Central, a key cornerstone of Hong Kong Art Week that is happening at the end of March. This showcase event is in its eighth year and on display are the next generation of artists from the brightest and the best of Asia. It is also their largest gallery lineup since 2019.
There will be 37 cutting-edge galleries from Hong Kong including the likes of Contemporary by Angela Li and Square Street Gallery, 60 renowned galleries from Asia such as 021gallery (Daegu) and K Gallery (Chendu), and 12 galleries handpicked from the rest of the world including MARC STRAUS (New York), VETA by Fer Francés (Madrid), and Guns & Rain (Johannesburg).
There are large-scale, immersive installations like Glows in the Night by Yang Yongliang. It will be a video artwork to be presented on an eye-catching scaled LED installation of 18 metres. Yang has a background in Chinese paintings, so he will use his knowledge to reconstruct and recompose urban images in the style of historic Chinese paintings. Ecological issues caused by urbanisation, commercialisation and consumerism are raised in a thought-provoking manner.
There is a ground-breaking group exhibition, Blue Throat – Start the Churning. It places the spotlight on sixteen Hong Kong artists. They articulate through their work the relationship between the individual and the collective, self and the modern world through the lens of art in the contemporary society of Hong Kong.
A significant portion of Art Central is devoted to performance art. Three performance artists will deliver a series of intimate flows of movement that focuses on the themes of displacement, personal discovery, and survival. For example, Kensa Hung and Kiwi Chan will be exploring the theme of homelessness with their piece, Pack/Unpack. They will play out a contrasting performance of opposing actions in a journey of what it means to pack and unpack. Particularly poignant is the work of Natasha Cheung who draws from her overseas background living as part of the Chinese diaspora in She Taut. She highlights key elements of her identity that have built up over the years in her survival as a queer, Chinese woman. Themes that are touched on in the recent Oscar-winning film, Everything Everywhere all at once.
Central to the philosophy of Art Central is inspiring the artists of the future so they have a wide-ranging educational programme that engages all ages during the fair. There will be educational tours, talks and workshops that are free of charge to Art Central ticketholders. The activities vary from workshops that are suitable for children from 4 to in-depth one-hour talks from featured artists which are aimed at university students. Art Central’s Children’s Education Partner, Art Loop, will be offering a unique hour-long immersion course with an art workshop and guided tour aimed at children aged 4 to 12 years old. Whilst the fair’s talk programme, not only includes artists but also collectors, academia, and leaders at art institutions. Art Central will be running small guided tours of the fair twice daily on a first-come first served basis.
You can take part even if you are not visiting Hong Kong this month through their exclusive online partner, Artsy. It is the largest global online marketplace for buying, selling and discovering art by preeminent artists. The commercial digital platform will feature handpicked works from each exhibiting gallery, thus they can showcase their virtual booths to a global audience.
Since its inaugural edition in 2015, Art Central has been growing from strength to strength. It is constantly pushing the boundaries of contemporary art, especially for the Chinese market. It is universally recognised as the place to visit for collectors and curators representing private, corporate, and institutional collections worldwide.