Hong Kong’s Art Central was cancelled on February 7 in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to support to galleries and artists in the area, the fair has partnered with Artsy to create a special digital catalogue to showcase works that had been previously selected to be on view and for sale at the fair planned for this week.
Art Central showcases cutting-edge works by emerging artists, and is typically attended by art enthusiasts, curators and collectors. Last year, the fair welcomed over 37,000 people in the middle of Hong Kong’s Art Week. Art Central hopes to draw viewers to its online catalogue, previously a complementary asset to the fair. This year, the special edition will offer extended site presence and a longer opportunity for collectors and participating galleries to interact.
Highlights include Ina Jang’s Radiator Theatre the Heat (2018) presented by One Four, Peter Yuill’s As Above So Below (2020) from Gallery HZ, Darryl Westly’s Interior-Exterior Flora (2020) from Cuturi Gallery, and much more.
Fair Director Corey Barr shares below highlights from Art Central’s 2020 digital catalogue, accessible now.
WHITEWALL: The 2020 Art Central was set to showcase a record number of Hong Kong-based exhibitors. Can you share some of the would-be new additions to the fair we can look for in the online catalogue?
COREY BARR: Correct – our 2020 edition was set to feature 22 Hong Kong-based exhibitors, a record for the fair and a moment of resiliency for the art market in Hong Kong. I am hopeful that the online platform will inspire collectors to support and help sustain the artists and galleries who would have participated. Amongst the new exhibitors from Hong Kong, we were excited to welcome Gallery HZ, presenting a solo booth of works by Peter Yuill; Novalis Contemporary showing Memphis Group design; Sansiao Gallery with a programme of emerging Japanese artists; CWC Art Gallery with a solo booth of works by Christophe Dénoux; Touch Ceramics, who work with renowned ceramic artists, and ArtConvex with a program of highly sought pop and urban artists.
WW: Are there any themed or solo digital presentations you can highlight?
CB: Our Context sector features projects of one or two artists, demonstrating clear curatorial focus and which highlight emerging talent. Amongst those exhibitors, Gallery One Four, will present the work of Ina Jang (whose work is headlining the Artsy campaign) and Taher Jaoui; Hatch Art Project, is offering multimedia works by exonemo alongside paintings by Iabadiou Piko; and Art Space J, specialising in emerging photography, will showcase Jipil Jung and Jeongeun Jeon.
WW: The fair has previously partnered with Artsy for online catalogues. How in the past have collectors engaged with this platform?
CB: The digital platform is increasingly popular as a younger generation of collectors shapes the way the market evolves. Established collectors are also very savvy online. It is less of a ‘click-and-buy’ tool as it is a way for people to connect to the gallerists and start a relationship–which may lead to immediate sales or, even better, a long-term relationship. The internet is beautifully non-hierarchical, and thus an apt tool for new collectors and younger audiences alike.
WW: How do you see fairs going forward embracing digital platforms?
CB: I expect that digital platforms will increase in popularity not only as they play a role much larger in transactions, but increasingly as an alternative ‘space’ and thus experience that sits alongside the fair. We would never aim to replicate the dynamic experience of visiting Art Central, but we will continue to grow our online presence which extends our audience around the world and enriches the experience of those who are able to attend in person. I predict that social media platforms as well as hybrid 3D experiences will thrive as accessories to fair events, and that we will continue to see forward-thinking fairs and businesses bring these technologies to the forefront. We are currently developing a comprehensive digital pass platform for our next edition, which is both efficient for our guests and environmentally friendly.
WW: Can you tell us about Art Central’s support of ART Power HK?
CB: Art Central is a partner of ART Power HK, a collaborative campaign that has grown organically from a community-wide desire to maintain momentum for the arts in Hong Kong. We fully support all sectors of our industry and are grateful to our dedicated audience and gallery partners who have propelled Art Central as a leading platform for art and experimentation in Asia.