Fine Art Asia is back for another edition in Hong Kong held during the COVID-19 pandemic, welcoming a masked local crowd who were ready to spend money on antiques, contemporary works and even NFT intended for the Chinese market.
With strict travel restrictions still in place – seven to 21 days of quarantine for inbound travelers even if they are fully vaccinated – the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center exhibition center saw a largely local crowd. Nonetheless, some of the 66 exhibitors said they managed to make sales on the first VIP day on Thursday, coinciding with the premiere of Sotheby’s Hong Kong fall auctions. More than 3000 visitors showed up on the first day.
Last year, Fine Art Asia, the only fine art fair based in the region, formed a unique partnership with Art Basel due to the pandemic. This year, Art Basel managed to hold its main show in Hong Kong despite moving its usual time slot from March to May, and Fine Art Asia continues without this partnership.
Nonetheless, organizers said the twists and turns had no impact on traffic or sales.
The number of exhibitors may be a third lower than before COVID, as many foreign exhibitors decided not to come, but the fair also felt younger and more vibrant with the growing presence of galleries. local contemporary art. This Hong Kong setting of spaces has drawn a new crowd to the fair, Chinese fair director and antique dealer Andy Hei told Artnet News.
Ora-Ora sold some colorful Cristobal Gabarron sculptures for between $ 20,000 and $ 80,000. Gallery founder Henrietta Tsui-Leung said the fair was like a throwback to the good old days with opportunities to reconnect with longtime collectors in Hong Kong.
Hanart TZ Gallery has sold works by Hong Kong-based artists Tobias Klein and Peter Nelson. The Culturist has sold works by local artist and illustrator Lee Chi-ching for between $ 3,000 and $ 4,000.
The works of Pricier on display also aroused a great deal of interest. The new outfit from dealer Pascal de Sarthe, from Sarthe Advisory, debuted at Fine Art Fair. Specializing in first-rate modern and contemporary masters, he has presented works by Zao Wou Ki, Chu Teh-Chun, Hsiao Chin and Max Ernst, as well as artists Gutai Tanaka Atsuko, Uemae Chiyu and Yoshihara Jiro, priced at 100 $ 000 to $ 3 million.
“We only see local buyers,” de Sarthe told Artnet News. “One of the goals of attending an art fair is to meet new collectors and we have succeeded. [on Thursday]. “
The fair also experimented with a new form of collaboration with foreign galleries. Andy Hei’s Chinese antiques booth served as a proxy selling space for several galleries so they didn’t have to run a “ghost booth,” run remotely from overseas.
Nicholas Grindley from London and Pine’s Art (which has spaces in Taipei and Shanghai) tried out the arrangement, showing off Chinese Ming and Qing furniture. A classic HK $ 3 million ($ 385,371) huanghuali Nicholas Grindley’s table was sold on the first day of the fair, Hei noted, even as he himself was negotiating for a few other high-priced Chinese antique furniture from his own gallery.
“It’s a very smart way for foreign galleries to make sales without having to travel,” Hei said. “I told the antique dealers in London to ship their items and try, but most of them are still conservatives.”
Restrictions on overseas travel have changed the way people spend, Hei added, as they shifted their travel budget to buy collectibles locally.
The fair also tapped into the NFT trend, offering a series of works displaying strong Chinese cultural elements. Artworks may be auctioned at the NFT OpenSea Marketplace, although the physical form of the artwork is also on display at the Hong Kong Fair.
Hei boasted that the fair featured antiques-themed NFTs at Art Basel in May. The current presentation, he said, was an effort to connect age-old culture to digital natives.
Fine Art Asia runs until Monday, October 11.
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest news, eye-opening interviews and cutting-edge reviews that keep the conversation going.