The fair takes place from 6 – 10 February and can be found here:
Dit jaar is er een nieuwe bijzondere locatie waar de RAW ART FAIR en de RAW EXPO zullen plaatsvinden; het pakhuis SANTOS. Het pakhuis SANTOS ligt op Katendrecht, Rotterdam. Deze nieuwe locatie ligt op 750 m van ART Rotterdam, en biedt ons de ruimte op uit te bereiden als beurs.
Greets and seeya around,
I’ll admit that I was nervous walking to the Hong Kong Art Fair (HKART). It was a ten-minute walk through the Wan Chai District, passing by corner stores, small restaurants and rich car dealerships. Then I reached the imposing building stretching out into Hong Kong´s glistening neon harbor.
HKART was even more impressive: a five-day exhibition with 80,000 visitors and about 250 selected galleries… these were quite some numbers. Especially for someone who likes to sneak around at night and hang up his tape art with a small group of friends.
It’s strange to attend such an event as something like an attraction, to get a pass and be personally guided through a giant building. When I entered the art hall it smelled like fresh wood, oil paints and plastic wrap. I bumped into people I only read about in fine art magazines, and everywhere I heard the sound of power drills, hammers, workers yelling and gallery owners preparing for the big show.
These impressive environment also came with the bitter smack of commerce: Art behind walls, protected by guards, tamed, framed and made pretty. And there would be moments in the following days when I felt like a domesticated animal, too, degraded to an attraction in a zoo… an artist brought in from the streets to be watched and to be touched.
But looking back I like to think that we all could change some children´s life for the better with the money raised. And I hope there were kids at the art fair who could experience that art is something you can get close to, touch, smell and check out for yourself… and not only as kids dragged around and forced to stare at enclosed paintings.
Sovereign Art Foundation had come up with the idea to lay out a couple of hundred pens in their booth for any child wanting to sketch on the floor, the walls, and – occasionally – also my pants. What followed was a five day let´s-paint-the-shit-out-of-whatever-is-in-reach marathon, and within hours the entire stand looked like battle grounds for a graffiti war.
It was fantastic to be in the middle of this, to work on my light box while kids painted around me. Many of them also helped me peel and stick pieces of tape, unafraid of making mistakes or bad style or not following instructions. And thus, amidst the chic art world around then, they brought a good piece of welcomed anarchy.
I winced at the thud when the trunk top hit my bag hard. It was already hanging halfway out the trunk of our red Hong Kong taxi, tied only by a single elastic strap.
With every bump in the road I thought of the fragile light box and the Plexiglas sheets I had loosely stowed in that bag. It was crucial equipment for creating a large scale tape artwork at the Hong Kong Art Fair that I had been invited to by The Sovereign Art Foundation.
Behind the window beginnings of the Hong Kong harbor were gliding past us, with its rusty loading cranes and stacks of containers. Behind it were housing blocks and groups of high-rise skyscrapers reaching into the metallic sky.
It was a cloudy afternoon, the air was thick and stifling with humidity. Huge cargo ships ploughed through the grey waters, and far in the distance behind wavy green hills the silhouette of the Hong Kong arose from the mist.
Another road bump shook the cab.
“Chill out, it will survive.” Audrey turned to me when I again peered nervously through the rear window to see if my bag was still in the trunk.
Audrey is my sister-in-arms, the one with a telephone number and an official address. She knows what to wear and what say at a business meeting, and she is the kind of person you want to have around when the taxi driver is lost in Hong Kong, the credit card fails and half of the luggage is lost.
The pieces of memory I have of my first hours in town feel like a wildly blended cocktail of impressions. Huge advertising screens, sweat, damp, colors and foreign smell — it all moved too fast into my slow and jetlagged senses. But it left the good feeling the the next days would have a lot of work, madness and funky encounters in store.
For tonight, the plan was just to get wasted and get lost in Hong Kong.
We had grabbed a couple of cold beers at one of the countless 7/11 corner stores and waited for one of the boats ferrying across the Hong Kong Bay. Behind me I could feel the vibrantly humming, shimmering city, building itself to the waterfront like a herd of giant animals pushing forward. A Chinese junk boat with dark red sails silently drifted along the neon colored water.
“Fucking beautiful,” I said.
“Yeah, man.” Audrey opened another beer, “It´s Hong Kong… get use to it.”
After an extended cab ride through the west of Amsterdam, Inkie and I were standing lost in the middle of an unknown street, a bag of spray cans in one hand and a six pack of beer in the other. We were told to find a garage door near a red brick house to spray on. But the entire neighborhood was red brick houses with two dozen garage doors.
Luckily Ives, a local artist and curator for our current exhibition at Go Gallery, rescued us. I can´t even spray paint the frames of my light boxes properly, so I just enjoyed watching the masters and drinking beer. We were joined by Chilean artist Otto Schade, best known for his awesome surreal murals and paintings. The night before he had missed his boat from London, slept on a bench at the ferry port, and almost forgot his stencils. I think the trip almost broke his spirit, but in the end Otto is one of the guys whose mood is hard to spoil.