Photo Essay: 5 Days in Hong Kong

Text and images by Evan Woodruffe

My partner Jeanne and I traveled to Hong Kong last month for a mix of business and pleasure – the two big art fairs were on: Art Basel Hong Kong and its satellite Art Central, so a great opportunity to see lots of art and meet artists, gallerists, curators, and collectors.

We managed all and more, exploring the studios, art residencies, and local galleries of Southside, attending the gala openings of both fairs with necessary returns over the next couple of days, meeting with our friends from last year’s show in Beijing, and eating the most fantastic noodles…


When I checked in on Facebook to Ovolo Hotel, Southside, ex-pat artist David Boyce piped up “my studio is directly opposite!” We looked out the window – sure enough…so we paid a visit to his studio, drinking tea, talking art, and meeting artist Mak Ying Tung. Sometimes, ya gotta love Facebook..!


Exploring the art spaces of Wong Chuk Hang with artist Glen Hayward and Jeanne Clayton.


Wang Xin’s “Artists can tell” bar at de Sarthe Gallery, Southside, where drinkers would choose a bottle of the pink vodka koolaid and be regaled by the artist around the topic printed on the label.


Jeanne and Fan enjoyed “What will happen Next” with the gallery assistant (we crashed the gallery hours before the opening)

Hilarious art karaoke by Mak Ying Tung, featuring several recognisable tunes with replaced lyrics; also at de Sarthe Gallery.


Jiang Pengyi at Blindspot Gallery in Wong Chuk Hang – very hard to find but an incredible space, with thick concrete, distressed surfaces and beautiful light. Jiang very skillfully lifts the emulsion from still-wet photographic prints and arranges them onto board – images of ambiguous nudes laid out like thinnest rubber…


Spring Workshop was a well-developed and resourced artists’ residency in Wong Chuk Hang. I couldn’t find the name for the artist who made this dartboard in the kitchen area, where three nations play for possession of the Senkaku Islands


In the very hard-to-find Rossi & Rossi Gallery just a block from our hotel, there was a large retrospective of work by Iranian-American artist Siah Armajani, with models and drawings from the 1950s to the present


Art Central was in the largest temporary structure in Hong Kong, like a huge version of Auckland’s Cloud, on land that was harbour only a couple of years ago.


Paul Nache at Art Central, showing work by John Walsh and Glen Hayward; with (left to right) gallerist Matthew Nache, artist John Walsh, photographer Ben Clement, and gallery assistant Holly Campbell


“Everyday People” was an installation of 1200 nails individually made from wood and paint by our master of the Trompe de l’oeil Glen Hayward, shown at Art Central


I got all teary in front of this Infinity Net painting by Yayoi Kusama at Art Central


Polished, cracked oilcolours by Su Xiaobai at the Pearl Lam booth, Art Basel Hong Kong

Public art in Pacific Place, one of the giant malls – how did they do that??


I love the mishmash of time and styles that make up Hong Kong. Just to the right of here is a most excellent tea shop, if you’re ever in the area. I’m back next year, for sure!