In today’s world, we forget to admire things like beauty. We often don’t allow ourselves the freedom to stop and simply enjoy art. Luckily, the arrival of Art Basel in Hong Kong on March 29 for three days gave Hongkongers the chance to do exactly that. This art fair is held every year in Basel in Switzerland, Miami Beach in the US, and Hong Kong. It features a range of artwork that is both insightful and thought-provoking.
I was first attracted by Depression Elevations (Roof Rainbow) by Daniel Knorr. It was made out of a bright man-made material, so it was glossy and reflective. At first, all I could see was my own reflection, but the longer I looked at it, the more I could see the colours in its glassy surface.
The piece, Antemortem Sirenian, induced a love-hate feeling in me. Its title means “Manatee before death”. My jaw dropped when I first saw it because it looked like a poor manatee had been stuffed onto someone’s broken computer. When I read the description, I discovered it was a fake manatee skeleton that had been coated in silicone blubber, with cables coming out of its torso. Maybe the artwork was trying to make a point about the fate of our animals in a hi-tech world. Or maybe it was just a weird stuffed manatee. Either way, it was really interesting – and a little disturbing.
These are only two of the hundreds of wonderful art pieces featured in Art Basel. With such a varied collection, you’re bound to find at least one piece that makes you stop and think.
So, see you there next year?
Angelina Wang, 16, Chinese International School
There was a strong collection of creations by artists and galleries from around the world. But even with professionals such as the Guerrilla Girls, Shepard Fairey, and Jeff Koons in the city displaying their art, many less well-known artists and local galleries still managed to make a name for themselves, and they helped to expand the scope of modern and contemporary art.
Among the highlights was One Two Three by the Germany-based D anish artist Jeppe Hein, whose sculpture mixed aspects of minimalism and conceptual art. His work was made up of mirrors in different spots. They reflected things around them, as well as the movements of those looking at it.
Another piece, by Australian artist Rosemary Laing, also challenged art norms with digital manipulation – using digital tools to make changes to a photo. In her piece, The Flowering of the Strange Orchid, she put colourful materials onto a forest floor and photographed them. Her work tries to challenge the audience’s thoughts on what is reality and what is unethical (unacceptable) photo manipulation.
This year’s visitors also saw some of Picasso’s paintings, which art enthusiasts, students, school groups, and families came to admire. People even posed for the perfect Instagram shot.
Critics might say that Art Basel is not a true representation of art, and that it’s about selling artworks to the public. That may be true, but it’s still a place that offers budding artists a place to show off their talents.
The event encourages people to appreciate the arts. So what’s not to love about it?
Hayden Young, 15, Australian International School