HONG KONG—At this year’s edition of Art Hong Kong, there was a 40 percent increase in the number of exhibitors who participated: 260 as compared with 155 a year ago. This year’s fair boasted 260 galleries from 38 countries, and a record attendance of 63,500 visitors, compared with about 160 exhibitors from 29 countries and attendance of 46,115 in 2010.
Next year will see stricter rules for admission to take part—much-talked-about news at all the stands. But management will have to watch closely over the choice (and consequences) of such rules in order not to weaken Asian participation, a strong part of the event’s raison d’être.
There were two very lively sections: “Art Futures,” solo shows of young artists, and “Asia One,” focusing specifically on young Asian artists. In the “Futures” section, Wilde Gallery, Berlin nearly sold out of works by young Spanish artist Antonio Santín (based in Berlin). Wilde sold several of his large-format oil paintings, which show Oriental carpets completely covering the bodies of women, at $34,000 each.
In the “Asia One” section, Number 1 Gallery, Bangkok, sold pieces by Kriangkrai Kongkhanun at $8,200 each—large woodcuts of the artist’s “Oceanic Wilderness” series featuring surrealistic marine life.
Downstairs in the main hall, visitors were met by a mixture of high-rolling dealers on the international market and more focused offerings from smaller but well established galleries. David Zwirner sold a number of pieces, among them two large paintings, Luc Tuymans’s The Couple, 2011, for $1.1 million and Daniel Richter’s Tuwenig (Dolittle), for $700,000.
Swiss gallery Gmurzynska, with branches in Zug, Zurich and St. Moritz, sold six pieces by Scott Campbell at $20,000 each, and Marianne Boesky sold several paintings from Barnaby Furnas’s “Floods” series, red, gestural abstractions, priced at $125,000 each. Photography also did well, with Sprueth/Magers, Berlin and London, reporting the sale of a huge photo by Andreas Gursky, Ferrari II, for €550,000 ($780,000), a study in black and red showing the Ferrari box at a Formula 1 race.
Ceramics are ever popular in Asia. Hyundai, Seoul, sold a number of pieces by Yee Sookyung, with prices ranging from $50,000/100,000. The artist smashes vases and puts the pieces together again, forming bulging new objects whose golden lines along the edges of the fragments show how they were made.
Among other sales reported at the fair: Beijing’s Long March Space sold Liu Wei’s Don’t touch, 2011, to a European collector for an undisclosed six-figure U.S.-dollar sum.
Gmurzynska sold Fernando Botero’s Flying Eagles, 2008, to an Asian collector for $650,000.
Yan Pei-Ming’s Self Portrait, 2011, priced at $420,000, was sold to an Asian collector by Zwirner. L&M Arts sold Jeff Koons’s Monkey Train (Orange), 2007 for approximately $3.5 million, according to the gallery.
Hauser & Wirth, London, Zurich and New York sold all of its artwork by Zhang Enli, including one piece that went to a private Shanghai foundation for $120,000. The gallery also sold Bharti Kher’s An Eye for An Eye, 2011, to a Beijing-based collector for $265,000.
The Geometry of Pleasure, 2009, by Louise Bourgeois was sold for $750,000 to a Chinese collector by Cheim & Read, New York.
London’s White Cube sold Jake & Dinos Chapman’s Dass Kapital ist Kaput? Ja? Nein! Dummkopf!, 2008, for £525,000 ($862,843) to an Asian collector.
Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, sold Wall of Light, Pink White, 2011, a large new painting by Sean Scully, for an undisclosed sum to a Hong Kong–based collector.