Here’s your ultimate guide to Art Central 2023, with everything to know, the exhibitions, galleries and artists to keep an eye out for and our favourite exhibitions to check out.
It’s Hong Kong Arts Month, and we’ve been waiting for the return of the city’s biggest art-related events, exhibitions and fairs like Art Central! Now you’ve probably read summaries and maybe even the visitor information on the site, but navigating the maze-like Art Central fair can still be tricky. Luckily, Team Sassy walked around Art Central 2023 for hours (our step-counting apps were ringing!) so we’re here to break it all down for you, point you towards some of our personal favourites and share a few tips. Read on for everything to see, and know, at Art Central 2023 — taking place this year at the HKCEC from Wednesday, 22 to Saturday, 25 March.
Read More: Must-See Hong Kong Art Exhibitions
What Is Art Central?
A “cornerstone event of Hong Kong Art Week” (we like to call them headliners), Art Central is one of the city’s most anticipated fairs, not just in Hong Kong but in the Asia Pacific region. The contemporary art fair really showcases new, emerging talent, consistently promoting up-and-coming local artists and galleries alongside more established creators and greats.
Art Central’s charm is pretty clear: the fair calls itself an “incubator of art” and delivers on that promise. This year is its eighth edition, with 72 influential galleries and over 300 artists. Running alongside Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Central is held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre — so make sure to look up and follow the right banner!
When Is Art Central 2023 & How To Get There?
Art Central will take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from Wednesday, 22 to Saturday, 25 March, running from 2pm to 8pm on the first day and closing at 6pm on Saturday. You can find the rest of the dates and opening hours on the site here.
Sassy Tip: You can make your way to the HKCEC in whichever way you’d like. We like going from Exhibition Centre Station’s MTR Exit B3 (on the East Rail Line Cross-Harbour Extension!). You can also walk about 5 minutes from the Wan Chai ferry pier. Once you walk into the centre, the escalator for Art Central will be on your right at the Harbour Road entrance.
When: Wednesday, 22 to Saturday, 25 March; Wednesday, 22, 2pm to 8pm, Thursday, 23, 12pm to 8pm, Friday, 24, 12pm to 8pm and Saturday, 25, March, 11am to 6pm
Where: Halls 3FG, 3/F, Old Wing, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
How much: From $175 to $275; Advanced (until Monday, 20 March) – $175 for Weekday, $225 for Weekend; Full price (after Tuesday, 21 March) – $225 for Weekday, $275 for Weekend. More pricing details are here. Buy your tickets at HK Ticketing.
Art Central 2023 Highlights
If you’ve already given the site a skim or are familiar with the fair, you might know about its sectors and projects, as well as the dedicated programme with Asia Society Hong Kong Centre. But as a refresh (or catchup!) for the rest of us, here’s what makes up Art Central 2023.
As you walk around the fair, booths and spaces will have each participating gallery, or galleries, and which platform they are all clearly labelled — indicating what’s being showcased.
UOB Art Space 2023 – Margaret Yeung Kwok Fan, Interwoven: Wired Shanshui, Booth B21
These platforms include:
The UOB Art Space, which you’ll see as you enter the hall — lead partner UOB’s dedicated area showcasing newly-commissioned interactive ink art “Interwoven: Wired Shanshui” by Hong Kong-based artist Margaret Yeung Kwok Fan.
Chung Dim – Anne Von Freyburg, Untitled (after Boucher / Portrait of Marquise de Pompadour), presented by House of Fine Art, Booth A26
Chung Dim Central Galleries — established galleries presenting museum-quality installations with leading artists from across the globe. We particularly enjoyed overseas exhibitors like Atelier Aki from Seoul (A16) as well as local HK galleries like Artspace K (Booth A35) and Vain Projects (Booth A23)!
Gwo Wai – Dedy Sufriadi, Future Myth, presented by Artemis Art, Kuala Lumpur, Booth A36
Gwo Wai Curated Booths, developed specially for the fair. These are platforms for projects of up to three artists, with a non-traditional approach to visual display of artwork. This year’s booths are presented by Artemis Art from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Suomei M50 Gallery in Shanghai and Literati Artspace in Hong Kong.
We stopped by Artemis Art (Booth A36) and had a chat with Indonesian artists Dedy Sufriadi (work above) and Taufik Ermas (pictured with his work below) on their collaborative project “Future Myth”, which features Sufriadi’s take on technology and the physical book, something he calls an eventual “artefact” in 100 or so years as we see the rise of digital books. This larger-than-life block is made up of eight 5×6 paintings.
Gwo Wai – Taufik Ermas, Future Myth, presented by Artemis Art, Kuala Lumpur, Booth A36
Ermas’ presentation makes use of negative space and urbanscapes, with human silhouettes (based on himself!) cut out of customised, modified canvas padded with foam. Don’t miss the neon light outline — the artist calls this technique akin to bolding text. It’s striking and worth chatting with him about!
Duk Dak – Sammi Mak, presented by Odds and Ends, Hong Kong, Booth B2
Duk Dak Solo Presentations are named after a Cantonese phrase that means “individually special”. Booths with this label are showcasing solo artist projects, featuring emerging and established talent presented by their representing galleries.
We had to stop by Odds and Ends (Booth B2) to check out London-based Hong Kong artist Sammi Mak‘s beautiful presentation of abstract landscapes — inspired by the works of Ancient Greek artist Sappho. See if you can spot lines of poetry or words and characters in the pieces, that range from smaller palm-sized works to large-scale canvas.
Yi Tai 2023 – Clara Wong, Prelude in A minor Trauma, 2020-23, Area P2, presented by Square Street Gallery, Hong Kong, (Booth B17)
Curated by the Fair’s 2023 Curatorial Advisor Chris Wan, this year’s Yi Tai Sculpture and Installation Projects feature installations by four artists representing a diversity of backgrounds, materials and experiences. These are scattered all over the exhibition space.
We stopped by Square Street Gallery to talk to Hong Kong artist Clara Wong (pictured above in her installation), who used bits and pieces collected from all over the city to create an almost absurd fictional living space, displayed on IKEA rugs with water leaks (literal drops of water and representations of droplets via other mediums). This piece is a lot of fun, and Wong should be nearby to ask questions — you can identify the artist by her distinct red hair!
And the onsite Gok Dou LIVE programme of talks, performances and video art, presented by Asia Society Hong Kong Center, will continue to bring together artists, curators, collectors, writers, publishers, and critics for panel discussions, one-on-ones and interviews alongside video art screenings.
Yang Yongliang’s “Glows in the Night”, Entrance
Plus a few special extras and highlights this year:
- Over the five-day run of the 2023 Fair, three performance artists will deliver a series of intimate displays of movement thematically centred on displacement, personal discovery, and survival. Held in the onsite Talks Theatre, and presented by the Asia Society Hong Kong Center.
- Art Central 2023 will also feature internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Yang Yongliang’s “Glows in the Night”, a video artwork presented on an 18-metre LED installation, the largest-ever presentation of the artwork.
- Curated by Chris Wan (2023 Curatorial Advisor) and Jeremy Ip (curator and founder of the independent art space Wure Area), special exhibition “Blue Throat: Start the Churning” will bring together sixteen artists from Hong Kong to examine and reinterpret the relationship between the individual and the collective, self and the contemporary world through the lens of art.
- Citrus Worlds (part of Gok Dou LIVE), a collection of video art projects presented by Asia Society Hong Kong Center, showcases ten Hong Kong artists’ digital narrations. Featured artists include Herman Chan, Jeff Cheng, Choi Sai Ho, Colbie Fung, Lau Wai, Florence Lee, Masahiro Nakamura, So Siu, Tsui Hou Lam and Winsome Wong.
- And free small group tours of the Fair are also on offer with your Art Central ticket, led by trained docents and industry professionals. Held twice daily and run on a first-come-first-serve basis (space is limited and can not be guaranteed or booked in advance!) at no charge.
A Few More Favourites At Art Central 2023
It’s so hard to narrow down to a few choice displays, and we’d really recommend taking your time and dedicating a few hours to touring the space!
This year features plenty of overseas galleries, from the Asia Pacific region and more, with both local and international artists around to chat to. Some gorgeous pieces are on sale too — this fair might be the perfect opportunity to start your art-collecting journey!
Close-up of Kwon Neung’s Artistic Street(2), 2022, presented by Atelier Aki, Seoul, Booth A16
Close-up of Antonio Santin’s Mea Culpa, 2023, presented by MARC STRAUS, New York, Booth B24
Keiko Aikawa’s don’t forget remember, 2022, presented by Medel Gallery Shu, Tokyo, Booth A29
Boonhlue Yangsouy’s Me and another me no.1 and no.2, 2023, presented by Number 1 Gallery, Bangkok, Booth A27
Lee & Bae, Busan, Booth A11
Editor’s Note: “Your Guide To Art Central 2023” was most recently updated on 21 March 2023 by Sakina Abidi.
All images courtesy of Sakina Abidi for Sassy Media Group.