Culture Insider: Maree Di Pasquale
Now in its second spectacular season, Art Central Hong Kong is once again pitching its tent harbourside and bringing its unique blend of emerging and established art to a ravenous art-loving crowd. Cue the applause for fair director Maree Di Pasquale, whose sound management and curatorial eye have led to Art Central being a runaway success. Her art credentials are irrefutable, having risen to prominence as the Assistant Director of Melbourne Art Fair and Sydney Contemporary.
We snag a few moments with Maree amidst the hustle of Hong Kong Art Week’s activities to find out what she’s most excited about at Art Central 2016.
What did you set out to achieve with the inaugural edition of Art Central HK?
Art Central adds a fresh event with a distinctively Asian edge to Art Week, offering further reason for collectors and art lovers to come to town while giving the Hong Kong public a chance to engage with more quality art. Housed in a 10,000sqm architect designed, temporary structure right in the heart of Central Hong Kong, Art Central adds a vibrancy and energy to Art Week that has helped to firmly position the city as a global art destination.
With more fairs choosing Hong Kong as their base, how do you ensure that Art Central HK stands out from its contemporaries?
Art Central 2016 is set to raise the bar with an ambitious program of large-scale installations, performance, experiential film and an engaging talks series that will appeal to both the art enthusiast and the experienced collector alike.
Over 30 galleries will be showing in Hong Kong for the first time at Art Central. Many of these are exhibiting artists that are well known in their home cities, but are still emerging on a global platform. One of Art Central’s undeniable strengths is this opportunity for discovery. As is the philosophy of Art Central, we pride ourselves on showcasing the next generation of talent right alongside the more established names in contemporary art.
The inaugural edition of Art Central enjoyed a great turnout, what do you have planned for the second edition of Art Central HK?
The second edition has a distinctly Asian edge, with over 75% of exhibiting galleries hailing from 23 cities across greater Asia. New additions from the region include gallery highlights such Gana Art (Seoul), DOMINIK MERSCH GALLERY (Sydney), Gallery Baton (Seoul), Whitestone Gallery (Tokyo, Hong Kong), LEEHWAIK GALLERY (Seoul), Tezukayama Gallery (Osaka), PAULNACHE (Gisborne) and Sin Sin Fine Art (Hong Kong).
Proving once again to be a site of discovery, the 2016 edition intends to put a spotlight on new media art through highlighted gallery exhibitions and installations that will engage new audiences for the genre, as well as provide new and interesting work for the more experienced collector. This is underscored within an even bigger PROJECTS sector, which includes an impressive display of large-scale installations, spatial interventions and new for this year, performance, to further challenge the Art Central audience.
What are you most excited about at this year’s Art Central HK?
It’s hard to pick just a few highlights but, top picks from the host city include Sin Sin Fine Art (Hong Kong), a new gallery addition, presents a dual show by Indonesian artists S. Teddy Darmawan and Bob Yudhita Agung, two artists of different backgrounds yet unified by their spontaneous yet powerful expressions on how they survived life’s challenges. Puerta Roja returns with a South American focus, showcasing two emerging Spanish artists Javier León Pérez and Maria Garcia-Ibanez, alongside the work of computer art pioneer José Luis Alexanco, and the very conceptual Mexican artist Carlos Aguirre.
Apart from that, PROJECTS is also a not-to-be-missed program. It will introduce five large-scale installations and spatial interventions that challenge the confines of the traditional art fair booth. Hong Kong’s own Sin Sin Fine Art will present Growth (2016) by Indonesian born Dwi Setianto. Growth is a specially commissioned, site-specific installation extending 12 meters in length. The work comprises of ink drawings of varying sizes, including a ten-meter ‘growth’; drawings and installations of plant motifs on recycled paper; as well as vines, seeds and inflorescent lighting, all of which take on a life of their own within the walls of the fair. Other projects include Thomas Canto’s Suspended Landscape (2016, Opera Gallery, Hong Kong), Locust Jones’ Back to Dark Ages (2015/16, Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney), Henry Hussey’s Locking Horns (2015, Coates and Scarry, London), and Peter Adsett’s Wall Hang (2016, PAULNACHE, Gisborne).
Let’s discuss some of the contemporary artists that will be represented at Art Central HK. Who’s on your watch list?
Regionally, GALLERY HYUNDAI from Seoul is one to see, with a cohesive selection of Korean monochromatic paintings including works by Park Seo Bo and Lee Ufan. While Hive Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing) highlights generations of contemporary Chinese art with artists such as Shang Yang, Liang Quan, and Wei Dong, which is not to be missed.
Internationally, Michael Goedhuis (London, New York) presents the aesthetic trajectory of ink artists from classical works by names such as Liu Kuo-sung, through to mould-breaking avant-garde paintings by Qin Feng; while Schuebbe Inc (Düsseldorf) exhibits an international group show with 50’s German artist collective SPUR (Helmut Sturm, HP Zimmer, Lothar Fischer and Heimrad Prem) alongside emerging artists Nashun Nashunbatu, Tianhong Sheng and Christian Schoeler.
How about something for the casual fairgoer?
The inaugural edition of Art Central redefined expectations about art fair dining. Art and food go hand-in-hand and Art Central 2016 not only has over 100 leading galleries, it also has Hong Kong Art Week’s greatest eats. We’re taking our culinary offering up a notch this year; fairgoers can soak up the fair atmosphere harbourside with an even bigger Street Food area, as well as experience the launch of a pop-up edition of one of the city’s hottest new restaurants – Belon by Black Sheep Restaurants.