Tuesday, June 1, 2010

ArtHK 2010, appetizer course.

Note: This entry contains sensitive material and other such things that require an open mind, therefore reader discretion is advised. Also, please allow time for loading.

You're going to want to read this post because it will have stuff we're not publishing in the magazine as we are obedient and good law-abiding citizens. Yes.

With 155 galleries from 29 countries exhibiting, it was quite a herculean feat to explore every inch of the ArtHK2010's exhibition hall. Even after two days of walking and photographing, we still feel there might have been a corner or an artwork that we missed... or that could merely be our OCD speaking.

We're going to skip the formalities and go straight to the artworks. I don't think i need to reiterate how awesome ArtHK is here, do I? That it's the leading art fair in Asia? That it has White Cube, Lisson Gallery, Gagosian Gallery, SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, amongst other top international galleries, exhibiting? That if you look left you'll spot Hans Ulrich Obrist and Dr Gene Sherman, to your right there's Takashi Murakami and Zhang Xiaogang and- oh, is that Antony Gormley in the flesh? If you'll pardon the pun.

If last year's wow first impression was the fat naked dude (Mu Boyan's Nude No 2), then this year's is:

NOT VITAL, Tongue (2008), Stainless Steel, 780 x 170 x 150cm, courtesy of Ben Brown Fine Arts, Galerie Urs Meile and Sperone Westwater.

And this is just outside the hall. Once you go past the registration counter, you'll be greeted by the sound of birds chirping. Now what multimedia installation could this -

Rirkrit Tiravanija, Ne Travaillez Jamais, courtesy of Tang Contemporary Art

- they're real birds! Rirkrit's towering bamboo cages and the tall steel tongue, big ben and (pregnant) statue of liberty replica outside... there seems to be a very vertical theme this year.

Okay, so we're going to start with the big boys first.

Damien Hirst, The Inescapable Truth (2005)

This surreal work in quintessential Hirst formaldehyde-style was sold by White Cube for £1.75 million. There were plenty of Hirst works, and i can never stare long enough at his butterfly-wing rose window motif 'paintings'. There's something so sadistically beautiful about them, like a carefully orchestrated murder.

But not as masochistic as wearing knee-high heeled boots on opening night.

Zhang Huan, Cowskin Buddha Face No6 (2010), Cowskin, 285 x 195 x 42cm

Since we're on the subject of dead animals as/for the sake of art, this absolutely fascinating piece is by Chinese artist Zhang Huan, more popularly known for his... provocative... performance art.

Chuck Close, Zhang Huan III (2008-9), 257.8 x 213.4cm

This is him, as painted in Chuck Close's inimitable mosaic-ish style. Always interesting when artists paint each other. Below is a personal favourite artist of mine:

Kohei Nawa, Pixcell-Bambi#6 (2010), Mixed Media

Glass balls like dewdrops infecting a stuffed deer. So utterly mesmerising. Nawa-sensei says this is conceptually related to Google. If you don't get it, it's a good excuse to watch this.

Yoshitomo Nara, Rock'n Roll the Roll (2009)

This sold for USD350,000 by Marianne Boesky Gallery. No matter what you think of Nara's work, one has to admit its got attitude.

Yayoi Kusama, Pumpkin (2010), Fiberglass reinforced plastic, paint, dia.250 x h220cm

Here's another famous personality from the land of the rising sun. This pumpkin just tickles my OCD heart with its renowned 'infinity-nets' that mark Kusama's works. It's just such an anomaly, yet it can look like it just plain grew there in that corner. No problem.

Anish Kapoor, Untitled (blue blood solid), 2006, Lacquer paint on aluminum form, 30.5 x 90.2cm

Another of Mr Kapoor's sculptures sold for £550,000 by Lisson Gallery. May as well, since Cloud Gate can't fit into your living room. More shiny, fascinating things:

Subodh Gupta, Only One Tiffin (2008), Stainless Steel

The major Chinese art stars were also present. Here's a Cai Guo-Qiang piece:

Zhang Xiaogang, Green wall - Husband and Wife (2010), Oil on Canvas, 200 x 250cm

Pace Beijing sold this Zhang Xiaogang for USD1 million. The man is going to set new trends for obituary portraits. Absolutely haunting.

Hungry for more yet? For the main course we have servings of Agus Suwage, Matteo Pugliese, Noriko Yamaguchi, the Intelligence2 Debate, Li Wei, etc... look forward to the next post! It's 4am, have mercy.


  1. like this very much...=)come to Art triangle on july...i also participated...=)

  2. Hello and thanks for reading! We'll keep an eye out on Art Triangle ; )