Art Basel Hong Kong 2024.
Photo: Courtesy Art Basel

5 Standout Booths at Art Basel Hong Kong

From intricate embroideries by Junko Oki at Kosaku Kanechika to austere geometric canvases by Tadaaki Kuwayama and Kiyomizu Rokubey VIII at Nonaka-Hill

“This is a truly significant year,” said Art Basel CEO Noah Horowitz, just before the start of the art fair’s Hong Kong edition. After returning from a three-year hiatus at a reduced size last year, this Art Basel Hong Kong marks the restoration to the fair’s pre-pandemic scale, with 242 exhibitors from 40 different countries and territories. Also significant this year are looming concerns about how China’s weakening economy and new national security laws will affect the art market, countered by the excitement surrounding the recent opening of the city’s first art museums, the Hong Kong Museum of Art and M+. For Turin-based collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, who last visited in 2019, “I have to say, in the city, in the galleries, and the museums, there’s a really good energy. I’m really happy to be back.”

Art Basel Hong Kong 2024. Photo: Courtesy Art Basel

On the main floor of the fair, major galleries presented a cross section of familiar names, where notably trending works included Salvo landscapes, Lee Ufan gradients, and Philippe Parreno marquees. The true standouts, however, were the specialized solo presentations that make up the fair’s Insights and Kabinett sectors. See the top picks below.

Junko Oki, Moon and chrysalis 01, (2017). Photo: Keizo Kioku; Courtesy of KOSAKU KANECHIKA

1. Junko Oki at Kosaku Kanechika

The Japanese artist’s intricate embroidery follows concepts of yobitsugi, a philosophy of repairing broken vessels with the mismatched shards of other vessels. Using found thread, the artist sutures found scraps of cloth into elaborate, irregular, textural patchworks that blur distinctions between drawing, tapestry and sculpture. As in the yobitsugi tradition, the imperfections of each scrap represent the imprints of history, and knotty stitches begin to resemble scars, the proud markers of a previous life.

Nonaka-Hill’s Kabinett presentation. Photo: Courtesy of Nonaka Hill

2. Tadaaki Kuwayama and Kiyomizu Rokubey VIII at Nonaka-Hill

The Los Angeles gallery presents a dialogue between two groundbreaking, 20th-century Japanese minimalists. One is Tadaaki Kuwayama, a peer to Donald Judd and Frank Stella, who stripped his traditional painting practice down to austere geometric canvases of acrylic and aluminum. The other is Kiyomizu Rokubey, an eighth-generation ceramicist who redirected his family’s traditional kiln in service modular sculpture. What they share is the modernist tradition of breaking with the past, and an obsession with flawless execution.

Ryoji Ukeda, data.gram 04 [atomic orbitals], (2022). Photo: Courtesy of Taro Nasu

3. Ryoji Ukeda at Taro Nasu

Best known for his large-scale, rhythmically animated sound and light projections, the Paris-based artist shrank his works down to a more manageable scale for the fair. In a partially enclosed black box, Ukeda’s Tokyo gallery presents a wall-mounted row of monitors that play a sort of audio-visual choreography of his different data visualizations, each with its own digital sound effects that verge on techno; this is what a nightclub might look like if it were rendered in 8-bit.

Shigeko Kubota, Video Poem, (1970-1975). Photo: Shigeko Kubota Video Art Foundation/ ARS New York; Courtesy of Fergus McCaffrey

4. Shigeko Kubota at Fergus McCaffrey

This is not actually a solo presentation—the New York gallery brings a cross-section of excellent work from artists including Tatsuo Ikeda and Kazoo Shiraga. The standout, however, is Video Poem (1970-75), a multimedia sculpture by the late Fluxus artist Shigeko Kubota. As a definitive example of her pioneering, video-based self-portraits, the piece features close-up footage of the artist’s face filling the screen of an old-school television set, which peeks through the zipper of an inflated nylon bag; together they abstract the body into a formless blob, and harden the head into a machine.

Noritoshi Hirakawa, Himmelstrasse, (2021). Photo: Janelle Zara

5. Noritoshi Hirakawa at Standing Pine

The artist’s solo booth contains a single work: a cube-shaped wooden lodge conceived to honor the children affected by the radioactive fallout of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Despite being rooted in tragedy, the space creates a moment of peaceful respite, where viewers are invited to crawl inside. The interior feels remarkably like being in the woods on a warm summer night, where, illuminated by a single lightbulb, the walls are lined with the silhouettes of radiated trees from Fukushima’s Guardian Forest. Inside, the din of the fair almost disappears, blocked out by the thick wooden walls and absorbed by the sounds of softly chiming bells.

Cover: Art Basel Hong Kong 2024.
Photo: Courtesy Art Basel


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