In the wake of last year’s Women’s March and the #metoo movement that’s gathering ever more steam in Hollywood, it seems only apt to pay homage to women artists at Art Basel in Hong Kong who are furthering the feminist agenda. Prestige Hong Kong guides you through eight important minds – from emerging to established – who should be on every collector’s radar.
Maho Kubota Gallery’s curated Insights sector presentation at Art Basel focuses on Yurie Nagashima’s boundary-pushing debut pieces, beginning with a series of eight vintage photographs that depict her and her family members in the nude, including the 1998 image pictured here. The booth also showcases her work from the early 2000s, which takes into account issues of identity, gender and sexuality, particularly in the context of family. Provocative, subversive, unsettling and, ultimately, very important.
Looking at Harumi Yamaguchi’s pin-up figures, you wouldn’t peg her for a feminist. The 82-year-old Japanese artist’s airbrushed, Vargas-like girls were created in her role in the 1970s as advertising director for Japanese retail behemoth Parco, along with a female art director and copywriter who were commissioned to create campaigns targeting women. A selection of her works appears in a Kabinett presentation by Tokyo’s Nanzuka gallery, providing insight into the role of women in post-war Japan.
A distinctly Hong Kong artist, Sarah Lai is an emerging name whose recent work borrows tropes from product packaging of the 1990s for women’s stockings and shampoo. For (In)tangible Reminiscence, a presentation by the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile, her pastel paintings, which attempt to recreate the aesthetics of femininity and the aspirations of that era, have been organised into a spatial installation that highlights the space between absurdity and functionality. You can also find her work at Art Basel, shown by Blindspot Gallery.
A writer, filmmaker and artist whose work centres around Gulf Futurism, or the global cultural implications of post-oil wealth in the Persian Gulf, Sophia Al-Maria has explored themes surrounding the roles of women in Muslim environments across multiple forms of media. In a video installation project called Black Friday, the 35-year-old Qatari-American engaged Chinese actress Bai Ling to portray a hyper-real version of herself, reciting a monologue before glass panels that reflect and diffract her image, addressing issues of narcissism and self-reflection. The project is being shown for the first time at Project Native Informant’s booth in Discoveries, the sector of Art Basel that highlights never-before-seen work from promising emerging names.
Part figurative painter, part abstractionist, Loie Hollowell executes joyful, bright canvasses that are suggestively sexual and most definitely female. Dubbed by one magazine as “a Georgia O’Keefe for the Instagram age”, she is an up-and-comer whose pieces have seen a steady rise in prices since her first solo show just a handful of years ago. Her depictions of womanly forms place her firmly in an in-vogue movement of early-career female artists making names for themselves by playing with the boundaries of traditional practice such as figurative or landscape painting – as evidenced by her sale records at Frieze London last year, during which an entire lot of 16 Hollowell paintings sold in just over half an hour from the preview opening. Her solo show at Pace Gallery in Hong Kong opens on March 26.
Pakistani Aisha Khalid’s work often explores issues of gender and domesticity specific to her culture, exhibited via formats from painted miniatures to large-scale embroideries as well as artist books and site-specific installations, employing Islamic geometric motifs as a general common thread. At this year’s Art Basel in Hong Kong, Istanbul’s Zilberman Gallery has dedicated its booth within the Insights sector (indicating projects by galleries in the Asia Pacific region curated as solo shows or thematic exhibitions) to Khalid’s work.
Originally a textile designer, Lin Tianmiao produces work that’s tactile and often utilises techniques connected to fabric and traditional “female” crafts, connecting the idea of a woman’s role in the home and family to more modern concepts. In recent years, the artist has been collecting words and expressions used to denigrate women to weave into her work, demonstrating prevailing sexism in various countries and cultures. Consistently named one of China’s most well-known and respected contemporary artists, Lin is represented by Galerie Lelong, which is showing her work at its booth at Art Basel.
Prominent Chinese contemporary artist Yu Hong typically makes oil paintings depicting women in various stages of life in a style that’s quiet yet realistic. For its curated in-booth Kabinett installation at Art Basel, Beijing gallery Long March Space is showing a four-scene virtual-reality experience by Yu, featuring meticulously hand-painted immersive environments that follow a single female character through various life stages across different periods, examining her role in a variety of daily social contexts and realities.