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East meets West at Hong Kong art show

East meets West at Hong Kong art show
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East meets West at the Art Basel show in Hong Kong.

Long-known as an international financial hub, Hong Kong is now competing with New York and London as the third largest auction market in the world, to meet growing demand from China.

The show features more than 200 galleries from 39 different countries. More than half are from Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.

“Many of the galleries that are participating, particularly from the West now, are no longer trying to pander to a Western expectation of what Asian tastes are – if such a thing could exist. And now people are really bringing their best material, it’s absolutely the right way to play it,” said Magnus Renfrew, Asia director of Art Basel.

With the blossoming of the Hong Kong art market in recent years, a range of Western art galleries have opened their own outposts in the city – the latest being Axel Vervoordt of Antwerp and the Pace Gallery of New York.

Art Basel Hong Kong acts as an important thoroughfare between East and West.

“For us it’s about dialogue. I think an art fair is also about dialogue and how it’s opened up to have cross-cultural activities… Art is not just about a passport, it’s not about nationalities (…). As long as they are good artists – every gallery has the responsibility to reflect that,” says Pearl Lam, owner of the Pearl Lam Galleries.

Chinese and Western artists feature side by side in Lam’s gallery, including American conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, who incorporates Chinese texts into her installation pieces.

Alongside the fair, art-inspired dishes and cocktails are on offer at locations throughout the city.