Earlier this year, Art Basel Hong Kong 2019 shone a light on the art market in Asia and the sector’s continued extraordinary growth. Ten leading art shippers belonging to ICEFAT operate facilities in Asia. From India, to Hong Kong, to Malaysia, to Japan, to South Korea, ICEFAT’s members have a keen perspective on art world developments in the region, observing and supporting an exciting period in the development of the Asian art scene.
Member Dongbu Art Co. Ltd. installs a large sculpture.
Anil Mithal is Director of India-based agent Mithals International, which is responsible for a “major portion of the artwork transport business in and out of India.” This is a growing sector, and as one example, he points to the recent international emergence of several Indian contemporary artists. “Previously, collectors had to visit India to see Indian artworks. Now, Indian artwork is being exhibited at international art exhibitions and galleries in the USA, Europe and elsewhere in Asia.” Alongside this growing international demand, museums and institutions in India are seeing more interest than ever before.
“Almost all countries in the Indian Subcontinent have forex regulations”, says Mithal. “This means that importers and exporters often struggle to complete the highly complex registration process involved in importing and exporting art in India.” Mithals International is adept at dealing with this administration.
Member Mithals International installs photography for the Serendipity Art Fair.
Beyond India, other regional art markets are building. May Kwok of Hong Kong-based shipper Baltrans International Moving Ltd. reports that gallery clients are “participating in different art fairs around the Asia-Pacific region for the very first time in recent years. They perceive these fairs as a platform to showcase talent and as places to stage in other major Asian markets and progress to the overseas market.” Lena Choi, Manager of South Korean agent Dongbu Art Co. Ltd. is seeing a “quantitative increase of the Korean art market,” just as Mr. Makoto Mori of Japan-based Katolec Corporation reports the speedy development of the art world in Tokyo and Osaka. He has “hope that this phenomenon enlivens the museums in small cities as well.”
Member Baltrans International Moving Ltd. installs a large painting in their viewing room.
The greatest locus of art market development in Asia is Hong Kong, a territory where several ICEFAT agents operate. Kwok of Baltrans sees an “increasing trend that Asian galleries from Japan, China and South Korea are opening branches in Hong Kong as a place for art trading and appreciation within the Asia-Pacific region.” Western-founded organizations are also well-aware of this growth. Art Basel Hong Kong continues to build in popularity in the region, while Masterpiece London has recently announced that it will be opening a pavilion at this year’s Fine Art Asia. The Hong Kong outpost of Phillips auction house also opened new galleries in 2018 to meet the increasing demand from the Hong Kong art world.
Member Katolec Corporation‘s climate control trucks are ideal for transporting art.
With this speedy development across the region, organizations such as ICEFAT are ensuring that standards of art shipping are kept high. Mori of Katolec Corporation sees it as crucial to only employ professionals and not to “use unskilled part-timers or subsidiaries for our service.” ICEFAT’s agents ensure the art shipping standard is set in all markets globally.
The TEFAF Art Market Report 2019 finds that the art market in China is booming and ICEFAT shippers confirm that a similar case can be found across the continent. South Korean galleries are heading to Hong Kong art fairs for the first time, just as Hong Kong-based galleries are expanding out of the Central district to the more spacious West Kowloon Cultural District. Beyond the Hong Kong region, agents from across the continent report that the art world they service is continuing to grow, both within their regions and beyond. It’s certainly an exciting time to be operating in the Asian art world, and ICEFAT agents are there to facilitate this expansion.
Interested in finding out more about ICEFAT members’ art shipping services in Asia? Head to our members page!