Saturday, July 4, 2009

China watch

As reports circulate on the Internet about the emerging, new-generation Chinese collectors more interested in contemporary art than antiquities, it's interesting to see how art fairs in the region are positioning themselves in relation to this development. ART HK worked Hong Kong's history as the financial hub of Asia and gateway to modern China, presenting the 09 event in the Oltmanns designed Convention and Exhibition Centre on Victoria Harbour. Despite the gloomy international backdrop of a global recession combined with a Swine flu pandemic, the fair was a success featuring heavy-hitter galleries (Gagosian, Kukje, Lisson, White Cube and others), attracting 28,000 visitors and delivering on its pre-fair promise to access Chinese collectors from the mainland as well as Hong Kong. Big-ticket sales of USD1m+ were achieved with galleries also reporting strong sales for more accessibly priced works. ART HK says it is in the process of emerging as one of the key international platforms for contemporary art.

Next on the calendar is ShContemporary. The fair will be staged once again in the historic Exhibition Centre playing up Shanghai's history as the Paris of the East as well as its current position as a global super city. The messaging out of Shanghai focuses on: the emerging collectors in the region; Asia is the future; and an art fair with a fresh vision. They say: "This year ShContemporary returns with a new artistic director and initiatives to engage with emerging collectors from the region. A unique curatorial team consisting of Wang Jianwei, Mami Kataoka and Anton Vidokle is working with Fair Director Colin Chinnery to give SHContemporary an experimental and daring art vision." Clearly SHContemporary also has its sights set on becoming the first truly international art fair to emerge in the Asia/Pacific region.
Images: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and Shanghai Exhibition Centre