An Artist’s Journey Made Possible: Art Basel Hong Kong to stage its first physical fair since 2019


104 leading art galleries from 23 countries and territories will present a unique overview of the diverse art scenes across Asia and beyond during this year’s Art Basel in Hong Kong, taking place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from May 19 to May 23.

As Art Basel Hong Kong prepares to stage its first physical fair since 2019, the prestigious art fair launched a parallel digital program that brings the excitement and vibrancy of the in-person show to audiences worldwide.

Art Basel Live, Art Basel’s new digital initiative, will run in parallel to its physical show and feature Online Viewing Rooms, as well as a range of livestreamed events, daily broadcasts and virtual experiences. Bridging the fair’s physical and digital elements, Art Basel Live will amplify participating galleries, artists, and city-wide cultural programming to a broad global audience. The new digital platform will debut at the upcoming Hong Kong show in May 2021.

Art Basel takes place from May 19 to May 23, 2021 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).

Exhibitors of the in-person show will showcase Online Viewing Room presentations that complement their physical
booths. Other program highlights include virtual tours, VIP and public walkthroughs live streamed from the HKCEC, as well as special events hosted by participating galleries and local institutions.

‘We are delighted to be able to stage our Hong Kong show this year, not only here at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre but also via a digital platform that will allow an even wider global audience to participate. “Art Basel Live: Hong Kong” will allow us to bring the exceptional presentations of our galleries and the exciting cultural offerings of Hong Kong to our global network of collectors and patrons, including those who may not be onsite with us in 2021 but nonetheless remain equally engaged from afar.’ – Adeline Ooi, Director Asia, Art Basel.

The fair will once again open its doors to the public on Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, May 23, in accordance with all local health and safety regulations.

Discover eight pioneering artists that will be on view at Art Basel Hong Kong and online in May.

Leelee Chan; @BMW Art Journey 2021

BMW is a global partner of Art Basel and has supported Art Basel’s three shows in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong as a long-term partner.

Leelee Chan’s Project “Tokens from Time” on display and next BMW Art Journey Shortlist to Be Announced.

As official partner of the show, BMW will host a virtual partner room showcasing works and documentation of previous BMW Art Journey winners and will again provide the VIP shuttle service. Furthermore, last year’s BMW Art Journey by Leelee Chan will be displayed at the BMW Wanchai Showroom and the BMW Art Journey shortlist 2021 will be announced.

BMW Wanchai Showroom exhibition

During Art Basel in Hong Kong, the BMW Wanchai Showroom will host an exhibition of Leelee Chan’s BMW Art
Journey from May 19 to 23, 2021. Additionally, on the occasion of 50 years of Cultural Engagement of the BMW
Group, visitors can experience elements of the BMW Art Car Collection and the 50th anniversary.

The BMW Art Journey is an initiative founded by Art Basel and BMW in 2015, to support emerging to mid-career
artists. Latest awardee Leelee Chan (represented by Capsule Shanghai) will document her BMW Art Journey project
“Tokens from Time”, tracing material culture from the past, present and future. The artist interprets “tokens” as material objects and their respective historical development which represent the key qualities and feelings of living in societies across different historical and cultural contexts. Inspired by the various materials Leelee Chan worked with on her BMW Art Journey, she created a sculpture which will be on display at the BMW Wanchai Showroom together with images and films documenting her journey.

For the first part of her BMW Art Journey, Leelee Chan visited Italy, Switzerland and Germany in autumn last year.

During her time in Italy, the artist focused her research on artisan workshops and learning more about the practice of ancient craftsmanship techniques. Therefore, she attended workshops run by local artisans to gain deeper insights into the artistic manipulation of marble, took part in a class at the Mosaic Art School and visited some of the world’s oldest and largest early Christian and Roman mosaics. Additionally, Chan studied the processing of copper with the heirs of ancient family-run workshops, a path that led her to a 1000 years old bell foundry. While travelling across Switzerland and Germany, Chan shifted her focus to the possibilities of future materials and the direct exchange with leading scientists and experts in the field of material science. As part of her journey, Leelee Chan also visited BMW’s headquarters and research centers in Munich as first BMW Art Journey awardee. There, she was able to exchange ideas with experts from the fields of textiles, glass, recycling and design. Chan rounded up her research with a video conference and exchange with the microbiologist Prof. Han Wösten from the field of “Fungal Biology” at the University of Utrecht. Through the artist’s numerous talks and visits to laboratories, she gained a deeper understanding of how engineered materials can play a part of a more sustainable future.

Leelee Chan plans to travel further to Mexico later this year to study the symbolic value and meaning of crystals in Maya culture and explore the traditional and artistic manipulation of silver. The further course of her journey strongly depends on the development of the pandemic and will be monitored closely and can be adapted to respect the latest rules and regulations.

Demolished tennis court, Indian Recreation Centre in Hong Kong. 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

BMW Art Journey 2021 Shortlist Selection

An international jury of experts will again select a shortlist of three artists who will be invited to submit their proposals for a journey. Since 2020, the circle of eligible artists has broadened and includes not only emerging and mid-career artists from the Discoveries sector, but also artists represented by galleries founded no more than ten years ago.

Members of the jury are Claire Hsu, Executive Director, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Matthias Mühling, Director,
Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich; Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, President, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Philip Tinari, Director, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing;
Samson Young, artist and winner of the first BMW Art Journey.

In recognition of the exceptional circumstances caused by the pandemic, the jury will conduct its selection process online. Artists and their galleries are invited to submit digital applications, including a short video by the artists explaining their work and process.

The shortlist of the BMW Art Journey 2021 will be announced at the BMW Wanchai Showroom on May 20, 2021, at 7.00 PM. Due to limited capacity, entry by invitation only.