Global art world arrives in Hong Kong for Art Basel

A mass ping-pong match on a giant doughnut-shaped table and the chance to become a citizen of an imaginary country were among the more offbeat interactive works on display as Hong Kong’s Art Basel fair opened on Wednesday.The Ping Pong Go-round was a literal hit with dozens of guests attending a VIP preview before the event – which showcases the rapid growth of the Asian art scene – opens to the public today (Thursday). The artist, Lee Wen from Singapore, challenged all-comers at his unorthodox table.It’s like a conference table with no borders, Lee said. Looking at the world now with globalism and as well as between men and women, the game is quite fair.A work by Chinese artist Sun Xun offered buyers the opportunity to spend up to US$13,000 on “citizenship” of his imaginary country, the Republic of Jing Bang – entitling them to one of an unknown number of aluminium suitcases complete with a passport, ID card and a national flag. It’s an ideology. He’s just creating a utopian country, so in this country you can tell lies, nobody knows what is truth and what is false, said Edmund Chan of the Singapore Tyler Print Institute gallery. With its knack for attracting a global mix of wealthy buyers, artists, gallery owners, VIPs and celebrities, the five-day show is the catalyst for a champagne-soaked itinerary of art fairs, exhibitions and happenings around the city as its gallery scene goes into overdrive. The fair involves more than 240 galleries from 39 countries and territories showcasing paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and videos. Internationally renowned artists including Japan’s Takashi Murakami and Britain’s Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin had a strong showing at the fair. 

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Aaj Kal