The event, one of the biggest on the local cultural calendar, runs from today through Sunday and will feature 245 galleries and more than 3,000 artists from 39 countries. Half the participating galleries are from Asia-Pacific, according to the organisers.
Rob Stewart, chief communication officer for Asia Pacific at UBS, told Campaign Asia-Pacific this morning why the company has invested in the event and what it has prepared for clients and Hong Kong's art lovers.
UBS has sponsored the event for 20 years in Switzerland, and 10 years ago teamed up with Art Basel in Miami. “So it is strategic to be partnered with the Art Basel Hong Kong,” Stewart said. “The sponsorship is a natural fit for us. As a top investment and wealth-management bank in Asia, we are one of the biggest collectors with 35,000 pieces of contemporary art. Our clients also have a natural fit with the art world, and Art Basel is a very global event that provides access to the best art galleries and a unique experience to our clients.”
During the event, UBS is teaming up with Asia Art Archives and the Financial Times to host a private forum on collecting contemporary art in Asia and globally. The session will feature experts from the art world, who will provide insight into collecting trends as well as advice on how to start a collection.
UBS has invited creative agency Imagination Hong Kong to execute digital-wall displays in its VIP Lounge at the exhibition, with a series of screens showing arts news, daily event updates and social-media content such as Tweets and Instagram posts.
The VIP Lounge itself contains 78 exclusive works of art by prominent artists including Damian Hirst, Andreas Gursky, Tracey Emin and Thomas Struth. It also offers a Junior Art Hub activity area for kids.
Stewart said that UBS is planning to clone this digital wall activation and multimedia innovation to upcoming exhibitions in other parts of the world.