10 Artists To Look Out For At Art Basel Hong Kong
When making his brightly coloured portraits and still-life paintings, Swiss artist Nicolas Party mines art history for inspiration — and it shows. You can see the influence of Botero in his fleshy, round-faced subjects, the impact of Cézanne on his stripped-back still lifes and the mark of David Hockney in his continued use of vivid, fresh-from-the-bottle colours.
Like the artists of yore who inspire him, Party seems destined for great things. He’s not yet 40 but has already had a major solo exhibition at the esteemed Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC. Visit Xavier Hufkens' booth at Art Basel Hong Kong to see why international museums are snapping up his work.
While many contemporary Chinese artists have earned international acclaim by making boundary-breaking digital art, Wang Yin has remained faithful to the traditional medium of oil paint. Each of his paintings provides a snapshot of life in contemporary China, giving viewers a glimpse into both bucolic countryside and bustling cities.
In one recent painting, Wang illustrates farmers tilling the soil beneath a picture-perfect sky; in another work from the same period, a faceless man sits cramped in a windowless, four-bed berth on a train. Look closely at his paintings in the Vitamin Creative Space booth and you might see the influence of Wang’s idol, Paul Cézanne, in the elegant, long-limbed figures.
Japanese painter Takeo Hanazawa is obsessed with mixing East and West, old and new, high art and pop culture. His painting Nirvana (Street Dreams) on view at the Gallery Side 2 booth is a perfect example of his varied interests. It features the Japanese cartoon character Totoro, aliens from the Disney film Toy Story and a Picasso-esque painting of a bull all on one canvas.
His playful approach to art has won Hanazawa some powerful fans; in 2014, the fashion label Alexander McQueen commissioned him to make a site-specific installation for its boutique in Tokyo.
Josh Kline is worried about the state of humanity—and it shows in his art. One of his installations, Skittles (2014), was a fridge filled with brightly coloured, healthy looking juices of the sort you’d find in trendy health food shops around the world. But when you read through the ingredients, it became clear that all was not as it seemed.
One juice contained “kombucha, agave, quinoa, credit card, American Apparel,” another “banana, Red Bull, infused vodka, self-tanner and Axe body wash.” While this installation was an acerbic comment on consumerism, Kline’s other works have tackled issues such as the surveillance state and how technology will take our jobs.
Taiwanese artist Wu Chi-Tsung is a rising star on the international scene and a favourite of luxury brands, having previously collaborated with Dior and Rolls-Royce. He primarily works with photography and video but has also created some ambitious and daring installations, including one that featured live ants crawling through sugar.
The Galerie du Monde booth at Art Basel Hong Kong will showcase some of Wu’s large cyanotype prints (pictured right), which can be more than two metres wide. These calming blue-and-white works resemble traditional Chinese landscape paintings but are actually produced using a photographic printing process.
Lee Bae, who has lived in Paris since 1990, loves charcoal. He first began using the material because it was cheap enough for him to buy in bulk when he moved to France, but he soon realised that it was also a poignant link with his homeland of South Korea, where a stick of charcoal is traditionally tied on the front door of a house after a child is born.
As well as using charcoal to make abstract drawings on paper, Bae creates imposing, ominous sculptures made of blocks of charcoal bound together with cord. See his work at Johyun Gallery's booth.
A master of minimalism, Filipina artist Maria Taniguchi is famous for filling enormous canvases with thousands of tiny hand-painted grey bricks. When she’s not painstakingly working on brick paintings, she’s making prints, videos and sculptures, many also exploring the idea of slow, repetitive labour. Her video work Figure Study, for example, is simply a recording of two men digging a hole in the jungle.
Taniguchi’s thought-provoking works might not be as attention-grabbing as other pieces at Art Basel Hong Kong, but her contemplative paintings on show at Taka Ishii Gallery's booth might be a visual tonic after a busy day at the fair.
Australian Aboriginal art is some of the oldest in the world, dating back more than 30,000 years, but photographer Michael Cook is bringing it into the 21st century. Cook’s Bidjara heritage informs all of his images, which explore Australian history and the oppression of indigenous people.
This photo, from Cook’s Majority Rule series, imagines what Australian life would be like if roles were reversed, with Aboriginal people making up 96 per cent of the population and others just 4 per cent. See his work at THIS IS NO FANTASY + dianne tanzer gallery's booth.
Californian artist Doug Aitken makes art for the Instagram age. Whether he’s taking photographs, making sculptures or designing house-size installations, all of his art looks scintillating on social media. But that is more of a happy coincidence than the driving force behind his work, which Aitken hopes will encourage people to consider complex ideas about time, space and memory. So drop by 303 Gallery’s booth to experience some innovative mixed-media art—but don’t forget to take that snap for social media.
If you want to see even more of Aitken's work, Massimo de Carlo Gallery in Central is showcasting two vast sculptures and a video work by Aitken from March 27 to May 19, 2018.
From Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s chilly depictions of winter to Claude Monet’s legendary oil paintings of water lilies, the natural world has long been a source of inspiration for artists. Yet no artist has used nature in their work in quite the same way as Trevor Yeung.
As much a botanist as he is an artist, Hong Kong-based Yeung has made a name for himself by building large-scale installations incorporating living plants, molluscs and even tanks full of fish. Yeung’s installation Music Box (Bedroom), pictured left, will sit alongside works by fellow Hongkongers Leung Chi-wo and Sarah Lai in Blindspot Gallery’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong.
See also: These Are Hong Kong Art Week's Most Exclusive VIP Parties