Para/Site Moves Up With 2012 Art Auction

It’s Fall at the end of the year, and you know what that means… Art Auctions. Yes, we attended the Annual Para/Site Art Auction this year located at Lane Crawford’s very cool One Island South company digs and was hosted by Board of Directors, William Lim of CL3, Yana Peel, Executive Director/Curator, Cosmin Costinas, with live auctioneer, Jehan Chu of Chaiwanese. 

Cosmin and Jehan below. 

It was really interesting to attend this particular auction, especially because i’ve been going to Para/Site auctions ran by Jehan for so many years now. I still remember when the auctions were small and held at the KEE Club back in the day. And now it’s a full dinner affair with friends and supporters. Very neat to see how far Para/Site Art Space and its programs have evolved over the years.

Ignacio checks out works on display for Silent Auction.

Some of my favorite pieces include this abstracted architectural topography by Joao Vasco Paiva, titled High Tide (2012) which sold at live auction for 42K HKD. The work was graciously donated by the artist and Saamlung Gallery.

This metallic skateboard by Olafur Eliasson, Your Mercury Ocean (2009), was donated by Vitamin Creative Space, and sold for 100K HKD.

I really liked Lot 62, a selection of prints by Sunjung Kim, Anton Vidokle, and Nikolaus Hirsch.

This one I liked, a DVD by Ming Wong, called Honeymoon In The Third Space (1999).

A good seller, Heman Chong’s, muted geometric composition from Never Let Me Go (2011), caught my eye. This painting on canvas sold well at 50K, and is a donation from Vitamin Creative Space.

Are you cool on your island? I absolutely loved this work by MAP Office, titled Honeymoon Island (2011), which I hope found a great home via silent auction.

This print, Cheng Ran’s Still of an Unknown Film (2008), sold at 60+K HKD, and a donation by the artist.

And there was no way I can do a post about Hong Kong art, without a work by my favorite artist, Nadim Abbas. This piece, Chernobyl_Core.gif (2012), is a print donated by Abbas and Saamlung Gallery.

The work of emerging artist, Trevor Yeung drew plenty of fans. Here G.O.D.’s Benjamin Lau and Alan Lau admire Yeung’s work, Sleepy bed (Sao Paulo Hostel 1) (2012). Yeung photographs subjects, usually male, all around the world, and turns them into multi-layered compositions which involve the photographic image as well as an overlay of illustration.

Next to the work, Lot 30, is a piece by Antony Gormley. Body XI (2011), was the biggest seller of the night and sold at 160K HKD by an absentee bidder. The work was donated by the artist, and Vitamin Creative Space.

In attendance was artist, Adrian Wong, and Xue Tan. Adrian was actually working on the composition for his Fall 2012 Saamlung show with his rabbit. Dont Ask.

We also spotted Alex Seno and Lane Crawford’s Eliot Sandiford. Thanks Alex for the invite!

Great to finally meet Claudia Albertini of Platform China.

The room was full of super couples as well. There’s no art shindig without the following… Tangram’s Igancio and Paola who will soon be unveilinga new collection in December. Here they are channeling the work of Chow Chun Fai, aptly titled Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (2011), which sold at live auction for 75K HKD. Perfect.

Supercouple #2, FIOL Prosecco addict Pietro and Whitney of the Gagosian Hong Kong. 

Supercouple #3, Tim and Marc, here standing next to Yuk King Tan’s The Mandate of Heaven (2011). Love.

Supercouple #4, cool peeps Michelle and her husband, Varun. Great to see them here.

Twitter Supercouple Bonus, my gal, artist Yuk King in Tangram. Hello Yuk!

The tables at the canteen.

Whitney’s favorite works.

Pals on my table, Benjamin and Alan. Nice to meet you both!

Para/Site IS Hong Kong’s leading contemporary art space, the oldest, and most active. They exhibit, they publicize, they create discourse, and you wouldn’t think that based on their tiny space in Sheung Wan, that they are paving the way for many emerging artists. The point is, they’re moving spaces and adding curators, and they’re thinking big. Check out the works that were at auction here.

That said if you missed out on the Para/Site auction, but would still love to purchase work as well as contribute to a good cause, the Asia Art Archive Annual Fundraiser site is now up, and you can actually bid on your favorite work online. Yes. Contemporary Art at your fingertips. Many of whom had works that sold well at the Para/Site Auction. Good luck!

ART Para/Site


Art HK12 (Part 2): Learning Your Art Fair Etiquette, Then Practicing It… By Winning 2 Fair Tickets on Us!

Art on theWanderlister+ by Natasha Kaye Whiffin

It is an unwritten rule that within the confines of a gallery’s white walls, a certain code of conduct is expected. Although more commonly seen in the rule books of most museums, gallery etiquette has acquired its own set of parameters, whereby visitors are informed about the manner in which they should appreciate art.

The more relaxed and somewhat festive air of an art fair should be no exception to this rule and on the eve of the much anticipated fifth edition of the Hong Kong International Art Fair with ART HK12, I ask… how does the general public or visitor go about viewing and appreciating works of art? Should there be rules? What is art fair etiquette?


Let us first review the definition of gallery etiquette. Rules include, that common command “Please do not touch the work” (unless of course the work calls for public participation). Of course, voices are expected to be kept low, not rising above a whisper, so as not to disturb or interrupt the train of thought of the other visitors. Then of course there is one of the most important and enforced rules, “Please, no photography!”. I personally am biased in favour of this one and consider photography to be somewhat of a sin when viewing works of art. Its an obstruction in the process, a work of art seen first down the barrel of a lens, is not a true introduction.

What you see on your computer screen at home on the sofa afterwards is not a true image or representation of the work either. You must dedicate your time in the consideration of what you see before you in that first instance, only then should souvenir photographs be taken as form of documentation of your experience.

Visitor photographing sculpture by Anish Kapoor at ARTHK11

Last year it was of common practice during the Hong Kong International Art Fair for most public viewers who were visiting to first look through the camera lens at what was on display. The work was then immediately seen on the preview screen of a digital camera and then if they were on their phone, as many were, it was tweeted, facebooked and or put on ren ren for all the world to see (Instagram hadn’t quite taken of yet, but I’m sure it would have been flooded with images almost instantaneously ).

Only after this technological flurry of activity, did they then look up to actually view the work for what it was. I am unsure if the camera and social networking culture here in Hong Kong played a role in this, or if the lack of museum infrastructure failed to prepare the public for what they were about to see, but I found myself bewildered by this technology-facilitated lack of art viewing etiquette. I thought everyone knew the unspoken rules. Please understand, I am not suggesting that Hong Kong’s public are culturally stunted towards art in general, on the contrary, I am proud of Hong Kong’s new found art oasis and its rapid and exponential rise. Our city has progressed from solely an international economic hub to now also, a hive of art and culture - and the rest of the world is starting to sit up and take notice.

It is a result of this that this year’s public programming at the fair reflects just that evolution, a culturally rich structured collaboration with some of Hong Kong finest leading cultural and educational institutions, such as the fairs educational partner Asia Art Archive, local trailblazers Para/site art space and the in the making, M+ (WKCD). Between them, a wealth of stimulating and engaging programming will be on offer, with an array of happenings in the form of lectures, tours and public art interventions to enrich the mind on the matter of contemporary art today.

Couple gaze at chinese artist Lui Wei’s installation at ARTHK11 

Let this be said, I have no quarrel with the lady whom first stepped on the installation to photograph it, nor do I have choice words for the man whom first turned his back on the Picasso only to pose for a portrait by its side. I simple propose that those wrongs be amended in their attendance of this year’s outstanding public programming initiatives. So, in the midst of anticipation leading up to the Hong Kong Art Fair, I implore and attempt to appeal to the masses to acquire a sense of awareness for art fair etiquette: Leave your cameras at home, come with you minds at rest and experience the works first with your own eyes. It will be worth it.

+ Para/Site x theWanderlister+ Asia ART HK12 Art and Champers Giveaway

From now Monday, May 7th to Friday, May 11th, simply email us at with the subject “I want ART HK12 Tickets Now!”. You and a friend will get to tour the major galleries at ART HK12 with us over glasses of Veuve Champagne on Saturday, May 19th. Three (3) Pairs of Tickets in total to be given away. You can only have one entry per name/email.

This intimate and personal tour will be conducted by our friends at Para/Site Art Space. For more information on the Para/Site, ‘Art Walks’ please click this link.

Please dont forget to also write down your name, email, and phone number of contact so we can message you immediately by next weekend if you’ve won! Simple as that! Hurry email us now!


Natasha Kaye Whiffin is Hong Kong born, former Londoner specialising in contemporary art, culture and art markets. With a BA in Photography from London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, she is currently working with a Hong Kong based contemporary art gallery and is an active viewer of art in its many forms. Website: / Twitter: @nwhiffin  /

Making a Stand… On Top of A Million Black Business Cards, at Para/Site

I have to confess, my recent trip to New York City was nothing short of sublime. On the one hand it was completely amazing to be awashed in the kind of culture and history that I have missed by living in Hong Kong (ie. architectures from the early 1900s and museum exhibits that ranged from a Picasso retrospective at the Neue to one by Carsten Holler at the other New), but on the other hand it was all work, and work was everywhere, which meant a commute/taxi to several places in one day, which is manageable in Hong Kong, but completely draining in the City, especially when I was staying in Brooklyn. That said, while it was sad that I wouldn’t able to have this kind of access by living in Hong Kong, not being able to grasp the totality of the city at once, also made me miss Hong Kong by the end of the trip. Manhattan is huge, and there are too many burroughs, districts, people, and places to be in general, and I AM obsessed with mind-mapping so the picture of the city can never be complete in my the way that Hong Kong can be for me.

Hong Kong is a quaint little small town that thinks it’s a big town, and after putting off events/etc for three weeks, this small town had an exhibition worth going to last Friday night when Para/Site’s newest Executive Director, Cosmin Costinas finally curates his first long-awaited show; Two Thousand Eleven. But first I had to meet up with Annie Chau of the Digital Brand Management firm, OscarRichard for drinks at Sheung Wan’s flavor-of-the-moment and Para/Site neighbor, Heirloom.

Heirloom is located in this interesting brick-cladded building that used to be an amazing house called TwoTwoSixHollywood Road by the English Interior firm, Studioilse. It was even featured on DEZEEN!

Before! A Private Residence… (via DEZEEN)

and Now… well. A restaurant/cafe. But really, the whole private residence thing was super luxurious and nice.

The bar and cafe area opens up to the street which is perfect for nice cool evenings, which Friday was. I didn’t really have any food here because we were rushing for the Para/Site show, so all we had time for was wine and cocktails. But I spotted a waiter carrying this which reminded me of the same Corn snack I had at Cafe Habana in the Bowery in New York. I wonder if it tastes the same…

I DO like the street vibe. Here Annie and her cool friend Onyue chat outside…

Onyue on Heirloom’s rocking chair. And why not?

Love the street vibe.

But fun and games aside, it was time to be serious and do a bit of Wanderlisting. So off to the Two Thousand Eleven show we go.

The show is a group exhibition of works by Olga Chernysheva, Heman Chong, Federico Herrero, and John Smith. The space is pretty wide and encompassing in the beginning, defined by the gallery’s spacious white walls, but “something-different” is notably Heman Chong’s piece, Monument to the people we’ve conveniently forgotten (I hate you) 2008 , composed of a million black business cards on the floor that everyone is playfully and comfortably standing on.

The sheer number of this glossy black cards are made more evident as the walls angle and taper to a point on the horizon expressing this perceived path of all the contacts we meet, make, then lose on a yearly basis. Heman Chong is actually an artist, curator, and writer from Singapore, and has most recently represented Singapore in the 50th Venice Biennale, and has had works on exhibit at the NUS Museum in Singapore, and galleries in Milan, Amsterdam, New York, and Berlin.

I really liked walking on all these cards.

Up on the walls were a series of black and white photographs by Moscow-based Olga Chernysheva, titled ALLEY OF COSMONAUTS 2008, 25 images that point to the recent historic collapse of the Soviet Union whose ruins are “still framing our world”, according to Olga.

A video and sound installation was a main attraction on the other wall opposite Olga’s work by British artist, John Smith called Black Tower 1985-1987, which revealed a “mental landscape from the height of Thatcherist Britain, the dawn of an era now ending.” His body of work attempts to subvert the perceived boundaries between documentary and fiction as well as representation and abstraction.

Lastly, Frederico Herrero’s work I almost missed, a site specific intervention at the entrance of the gallery which dissected “art’s vocabulary in approaching the real”.

Overall it was a fun show. People were quite happy to see Para/Site back and buzzing on the scene again in general it seems. I do feel however that Heman’s work clearly overpowered the rest of the pieces (due to sheer number, weight, and size of the piece). All the works are reflective however with a soft political edge. Walking on top of all those black cards I felt was interesting, there was a sense of sturdiness coupled with imbalance, but the base was solid, which ironically reflects Para/Site’s awkward position in a time when it’s seeking to find an independent POV in a city where its art circle is increasingly being defined by politics and market forces. So yes… making a stand is something it needs to do (again) by now, and whether it’s a good start or not, Cosmin’s show is something to stand with.

Fans of Para/Site spotted at the show; full power by the team behind M+, Executive Director Lars Nittve (in the middle) with Head Curator, and ex-Para/Site Director, Tobias Berger.

Photo taken by Nadim Abbas (with me), who will be launching new work with his peers at Osage Kwun Tong on January 13th! Watch for it!

Artist, Yuk-King (left) with architect, Shideh Shaygan (middle).

Familiar faces, Stephanie Moon, handbag designer at KOTUR, with Beatrice Spinello, art director at Tapani/Stiibu who was just ecstatic at the completion of her successful collection of collaborative men’s bags/wallets with Moustache!

Louise of VOID and GRAM Shoes on 15suarestreet and Judith!

Also spotted, Magadalene Wong (who is back to help put together her group show with Nadim Abbas at Osage Kwun Tong), and Natasha K Whiffin (who has yet to give me a tour of the latest exhibition at SAAMLUNG).

Two Thousand Eleven / Para-Site Art Space GF, 4 Po Yan Street Sheung Wan Hong Kong /17 DEC 2011 - 4 MAR 2012 /

Heirloom / 226 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan / 2547-8008 /


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Para/Site’s Cosmin Costinas Curates First Show, Two Thousand Eleven

Above: Heman Chong, Monument to the people we’ve conveniently forgotten (I hate you), 2008, Offset prints on 260 gsm paper, 1 million copies, each measuring 9 by 5.5 cm, 2008, Courtesy of Vitamin Creative Space, Motive Gallery and STPI 

Para/Site presents Two Thousand Eleven, a group exhibition of works by Olga Chernysheva, Heman Chong, Federico Herrero, and John Smith, in an inaugural exhibition curated by the gallery’s new Executive Director/Curator Cosmin Costinas. According to the gallery, Two Thousand Eleven is a reflection on this momentous year, which was marked by a succession of historical events, setting the stage for the future in innumerable ways. This small-scale exhibition does not document the events of this year nor does it aim to predict the next ones, it rather sets to confront the deep and rapid changes brought to our culture by the historic developments.

Making this modest commentary on the state of the world from the context of Hong Kong carries particular implications. Whereas the full impact of this year is yet to manifest itself in the city and its surrounding region, the geopolitical outcomes of the Western centric order’s fading power and the impact on the position of China and Hong Kong in the world are beginning to mark the debates in the city’s fragile public space.

Aint that the truth.

In other news. As I’ve stated on twitter today, I have no regrets about 2011. In fact. 2011 has by far been one of the best years for me. Definitely nothing to complain about. My only wish for 2012 is to keep the momentum growing, and to continue eyeing the continued cultural development within Asia, as Cosmin has pointed out. What do you think? Did you have a great 2011? (You can continue this discussion on Twitter, remember to tag me @theWanderlister and add #2011regrets and/or #MyGoalfor2012, both of which are trending in the top 10 globally today.)

PS. Lets toast to the past year together. See you at Para/Site on Friday night.

Two Thousand Eleven / Para-Site Art Space GF, 4 Po Yan Street Sheung Wan Hong Kong /17 DEC 2011 - 4 MAR 2012 / Opening: 16 DEC 2011, 19.00–21.00 /


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