The Hong Kong moment

The founding of Art Hong Kong just five years ago seems to have been a perfect piece of synergy: if only life had more of those. The coming of the fair, the growing wealth of potential collectors, the immediate interest from gallerists and auction houses, the burgeoning supply of interesting art from the area, the official attitudes – all seemed to catch light at the same moment, and grow and change together and feed each other with almost baffling speed.

As the fair’s fifth edition opens on May 17, with 266 galleries from all over the world, the pace shows no sign of letting up. To take a small but telling example: a leading gallerist reported that five years ago, only a tiny percentage of his sales of Chinese contemporary art were to Chinese buyers; now the figure is closer to 80 per cent. Expect more such shifts as Asian economies flex their muscles.

The reasons why Hong Kong has become such a significant hub for the art trade of the region are explored in this supplement. We also look at the trend towards setting up private museums and galleries, some of the significant players, and, as westerners flock in, other facets of a sparkling but unpredictable market.

Art HK runs May 17-20

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