Travel restrictions reduce Mainland Chinese visitors to Art Taipei, but Japanese, Indonesian and Malaysian collectors step in

Sales were stable at Asia's oldest contemporary art fair despite political tensions and the spectre of the US-China trade war

The Art Newspaper
Date: 25th October 2019
By: Lisa Movius

A visitor at Art Taipei Courtesy of Art Taipei

Art Taipei, Asia’s oldest extant contemporary art fair, closed its 26th edition earlier this week with reports of stable sales despite regional political tensions.

Though the art market of the self-governing democratic island claimed by Mainland China so far feels little pinch from the US-China trade war or protests in nearby Hong Kong, recent restrictions on travel to Taiwan by individual Mainlanders posited more of a challenge to fair participants.

The fair director Ching-Hsin Chung says: “Mainland collectors were down this year, but Japanese, Indonesian and Malaysian buyers took their place. Collectors from Beijing and Shanghai, in particular, were scarce.” But she adds that more came from southern China, due to its proximity to Hong Kong and Macau, from where Mainland Chinese can travel to Taiwan without a permit.

Of Art Taipei’s 141 galleries this year, 20 hailed from Hong Kong or the Mainland, Chung says, including stalwarts ShanghArt and newcomers Ink Studio: “We had two Beijing galleries drop out because they couldn’t get permits: Triumph Art and Another Art.” On Hong Kong, Chung says, “no one knows what things will be like in the next stage – we’re all watching, and all affected.”

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