ASIA NOW: Europe’s Window Into Asian Contemporary Art

BY Katrina Kufer / Aug 10 2017 / 21:50 PM

The third edition of Europe’s only boutique art fair dedicated to contemporary Asian art will return 18-22 October and shares a few highlights ahead of the game

ASIA NOW: Europe’s Window Into Asian Contemporary Art
© Aurélia de Azambuja
ASIA NOW 130 page catalogue. 21 × 14.8 cm. Lessebo paper, CMYK+pantone, perfect binding. Poster, invites, catalogue, flyer, signage system under the art direction of Camille Baudelaire and Mathilde Lesueur

Thirty galleries with close links to Asian art will flock to Paris’s Avenue Hoche in October to continue a growing dialogue on the perspectives and issues within contemporary Asian art and its market. “The subjectivity of the selection process embraced by the fair, as well as the curatorial dimension of the scheduled events, bear witness to the desire to give meaning while allowing a certain form of alienation by encouraging a voluntary loss of familiar bearings,” said ASIA NOW co-founder and director Alexandra Fain. “With this third edition, we pursue our objectives: staying selective while revealing the diversity of practices and exposing the most thorough experimentations of the Asian scenes; maintaining a human-size format and confirming our position as a boutique art fair which facilitates encounters and discussions between exhibitors, artists and collectors; preserving the freshness and passion and resisting the pressures of globalisation and standardisation; showing the unexpected, the non-consensual, surprising, inspiring, at the risk of sometimes disorienting the visitor.”

Committed to boldly unpacking the 10 Asian nations it covers, following last year’s focus on Southeast Asia, this year will feature a special focus on Korea. With a programme organised by curator Joanne Kim, in collaboration with the Busan Biennale curatorial team, galleries such as CHOI&LAGER Gallery, Gallery Su, The Columns Gallery, Gallery SoSo and Galerie Maria Lund, amongst others, will detail Korean artistic production alongside a series of complimentary conferences, video screenings and performances. While encouraging a broad-view of the scene, Kim also notes that the fair plays a critical role in situating it. “ASIA NOW is the one of the best venues to introduce these new faces of the Korean Contemporary art scene in a specifically Asian art context which allows for the richer understanding of their artworks not only individually but also in their social context,” said Kim in a statement.

The collaboration will also see the second part of an avant-garde performance launched at the 2016 Busan Biennale entitled an/other avant-garde china-japan-korea. While the original performance highlighted autochthonous experimental avant-garde art and archival material from the 1960s-80s through 148 artworks by 65 artists, at ASIA NOW, the Busan curatorial team has selected works by Jooyoung Kim, one of the headlining Korean performance artists who reformulated nomadism as a form of art activism. “Nomadism has a transverse meaning: it is the negation, a way of taking down preconceived ideas such as: the best art is beauty; an artist must be displayed in a museum; art creates a distance with reality... All ideas already presented in art history until now,” Kim explained of her tendency to reject institutional structures.

Additional highlights to come include an artist film and talks programme organised with the help of the Korean Arts Management Service. It will feature Kelvin Kyung Kun Park’s A Dream of Iron (2014), an award-winning documentary recounting the end of a love story, in search of a new one, and on a quest for God; Ayoung Kim’s Zepeth, Whale Oil from the Hanging Gardens to You (2015), presented at the 56th Venice Biennale, it reflects his family history as he researches oil and its development in the Middle East in an audiovisual experience; and a selection of works exploring the hidden lives of those exploited by global power by Lee Wan, who is currently representing South Korea at the Venice Biennale.

Separately, prominent collector Uli Sigg will preview Michael Schindhelm’s documentary The Chinese Lives of Uli Sigg, which outlines the Swiss entrepreneur, diplomat and collector’s role in the economic opening of China after Mao, his devotion to art in order to better understand the country, and his building of one of the largest collections of contemporary Chinese art. Sigg, who donated 1200 works to the Hong Kong art museum due to open in 2018, also counts many key contemporary artists as close acquaintances who entrust works to him in order to avoid their destruction at the hands of authorities.

Asia Now runs 18-22 October in Paris, France. For more information visit

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