A “Crazy” Art Fair Trip | Wang Kuokuo

Every March, the Hong Kong Art Month will appeal to thousands of professional institutions, artists, and art lovers. From “Art Basel”, “Art Central” to various performance, lectures and museum activities, the diversified charm of art brought great surprise to people. And two artists of SURGE Art, Qin Yiting and Wang Kuokuo, received several new ideas and thoughts while actively participating in art events and enjoying the fun of art.

A “Crazy” Art Fair Trip | Wang Kuokuo

Wang Kuokuo is a young artist. “Little as I wanting to be understood, as long as the works are reflecting who and what I am.” Wang Kuokuo grafted Chinese traditional nature and intense color lines-directly in his series “Recreating Nature”, which represents his inner conflicts. He used a seemingly rough combination to describe his thoughts about himself and life.


I arrived at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center at noon of 23th, March, and I felt “crazy” at first to see numerous people here. Both the number of visitors and works on display are different from previous years’ exhibitions. This year’s Art Basel strengthened its academic aspect, in other words, chose works of artists who has already entered the world art history on display even their representative works. It differed from previous years. However, an art festival with certain level and influence should be like this— choosing works on display more precisely, rather than simply treating it as a trade fair.

Alex Katz, Ariel, 2015, Oil on linen, 121.9 × 91.4 cm

Easel paintings occupied larger proportion in this year;Chinese artists still fail to enjoy high status in this international art festivals; Art market finally recovered after 2008 economic crisis; and even in international art festivals like this, there were still many imitating or even copying works… Those are all what I felt about Art Basel.

As a traditional art form, easel painting has greater preciseness and continuity in the whole art history comparing to other artistic forms. It has clear sequence of thoughts and enjoys a long history, and when the current art market is not very clear, it will help mild collectors regain confidence. However, easel paintings were excessive in this exhibition, which was a defect. Because it attenuated the academic aspectin some degree, and works were not original enough and catered to the popular taste.

Alice Neel, Martin Dennis, 1971, Oil on canvas, 127.3 × 90.2 × 4.8 cm

Chinese great artists cannot achieve high status internationally for the following reasons:

  1. China was not equipped with solid grounding in contemporary art and lack of rational visual aesthetics;
  2. Chinese culture is difficult for the world to understand, and it is not an artistic issue, but involved with economic and political influence;
  3. Chinese native artists’ cultivation and their own understanding for Chinese great culture and artistic conversion (are limited);
  4. Famous artists nowadays borrowed excessive concepts and symbols from international artists in 1990s, which led to a great change in their later works. However, their earlier works cannot be cut from his creation, which resulted in their failure in achieving high status internationally.

Giorgio Morandi, Natura morta (Still Life), 1959, Oil on canvas 20.0 × 25.0 cm

The art market experienced slump for ten years, and the so-called recovery may not be an overall recovery. Possibly a great amount of funds and hot money goes to few artists, and forms a new round of malicious tout. At least it is possible in mainland, especially in the so-called post-F4 era. Some problems are not formed yet, or the embarrassing situations brought by excessive funds earlier are not solved yet, and more problems are forming. However, even this situation happens, it will not be as bad as that before 2008, and will not become a universal and public situation. Because domestic collectors nowadays are not a single group of people, and their collecting perspectives and aims are not totally same.

In terms of plagiarism, it is an old problem or even a shortcut for many young artists. However, it is a real trap in information age, a shortcoming that will stop artists to succeed permanently.

I went to Art Central at 25th, and I felt that most works had an excessively intimate relationship with the market. However, from the art market’s perspective, this is a great art work trade fair. It catered to needs of different small and medium collectors from many aspects, and prices of works on display were relevantly reasonable.

Roy Lichtenstein, Cosmology, 1978, Oil and Magna on canvas, 271.8 × 425.5 cm

In general, both Art Basel and Art Central this year made some adjustments, especially in the art market aspect. From audience and collectors appealed to exhibitions to the art work turnover during the exhibition, they all encouraged this year’s art market and made a good start. It was also effective in leading and directing, and had the signs of recovery of the overall art market.

Reading More Than an Onlooker by Qinyiting

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