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BMW is official partner of Art Basel in Hong Kong 2021. Leelee Chan’s project “Tokens from Time” on display and next BMW Art Journey shortlist to be announced.

104 leading galleries from 23 countries and territories will present a unique overview of the diverse art scenes across Asia and beyond during this year’s Art Basel in Hong Kong, taking place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from May 19 to May 23. As official partner of the show, BMW will host a virtual partner room showcasing works and documentation of previous BMW Art Journey winners and will again provide the VIP shuttle service.

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Hong Kong. 104 leading galleries from 23 countries and territories will present a unique overview of the diverse art scenes across Asia and beyond during this year’s Art Basel in Hong Kong, taking place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from May 19 to May 23. Running parallel to the physical show is “Art Basel Live: Hong Kong”, a digital platform of the fair. As official partner of the show, BMW will host a virtual partner room showcasing works and documentation of previous BMW Art Journey winners and will again provide the VIP shuttle service. Furthermore, last year’s BMW Art Journey by Leelee Chan will be displayed at the BMW Wanchai Showroom and the BMW Art Journey shortlist 2021 will be announced.

BMW Wanchai Showroom exhibition
During Art Basel in Hong Kong, the BMW Wanchai Showroom will host an exhibition of Leelee Chan’s BMW Art Journey from May 19 to 23, 2021. Additionally, on the occasion of 50 years of Cultural Engagement of the BMW Group, visitors can experience elements of the BMW Art Car Collection and the 50th anniversary. To visit the exhibition, please register here.

The BMW Art Journey is an initiative founded by Art Basel and BMW in 2015, to support emerging to mid-career artists. Latest awardee Leelee Chan (represented by Capsule Shanghai) will document her BMW Art Journey project “Tokens from Time”, tracing material culture from the past, present and future. The artist interprets “tokens” as material objects and their respective historical development which represent the key qualities and feelings of living in societies across different historical and cultural contexts. Inspired by the various materials Leelee Chan worked with on her BMW Art Journey, she created a sculpture which will be on display at the BMW Wanchai Showroom together with images and films documenting her journey.

For the first part of her BMW Art Journey, Leelee Chan visited Italy, Switzerland and Germany in autumn last year. During her time in Italy, the artist focused her research on artisan workshops and learning more about the practice of ancient craftsmanship techniques. Therefore, she attended workshops run by local artisans to gain deeper insights into the artistic manipulation of marble, took part in a class at the Mosaic Art School and visited some of the world’s oldest and largest early Christian and Roman mosaics. Additionally, Chan studied the processing of copper with the heirs of ancient family-run workshops, a path that led her to a 1000 years old bell foundry. While travelling across Switzerland and Germany, Chan shifted her focus to the possibilities of future materials and the direct exchange with leading scientists and experts in the field of material science. As part of her journey, Leelee Chan also visited BMW’s headquarters and research centers in Munich as first BMW Art Journey awardee. There, she was able to exchange ideas with experts from the fields of textiles, glass, recycling and design. Chan rounded up her research with a video conference and exchange with the microbiologist Prof. Han Wösten from the field of “Fungal Biology” at the University of Utrecht. Through the artist’s numerous talks and visits to laboratories, she gained a deeper understanding of how engineered materials can play a part of a more sustainable future.  

Leelee Chan plans to travel further to Mexico later this year to study the symbolic value and meaning of crystals in Maya culture and explore the traditional and artistic manipulation of silver. The further course of her journey strongly depends on the development of the pandemic and will be monitored closely and can be adapted to respect the latest rules and regulations.

BMW Art Journey 2021 Shortlist Selection
An international jury of experts will again select a shortlist of three artists who will be invited to submit their proposals for a journey. Since 2020, the circle of eligible artists has broadened and includes not only emerging and mid-career artists from the Discoveries sector, but also artists represented by galleries founded no more than ten years ago. Members of the jury are Claire Hsu, Executive Director, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Matthias Mühling, Director, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich; Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, President, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Philip Tinari, Director, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Samson Young, artist and winner of the first BMW Art Journey. In recognition of the exceptional circumstances caused by the pandemic, the jury will conduct its selection process online. Artists and their galleries are invited to submit digital applications, including a short video by the artists explaining their work and process.

The shortlist of the BMW Art Journey 2021 will be announced at the BMW Wanchai Showroom on May 20, 2021, at 7.00 PM. Due to limited capacity, entry by invitation only.

For further information and press material about the BMW Art Journey artists and their projects, please also visit the press section:

BMW is a global partner of Art Basel and has supported Art Basel’s three shows in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong as a long-term partner.

50 Years BMW Group Cultural Engagement
Red. Yellow. Blue. Everything started with three large-scale paintings by Gerhard Richter that BMW commissioned from the artist in 1971. Today, BMW is committed to cultural engagement around the world and takes its social responsibility seriously as a corporate citizen. Over a hundred long-term cultural initiatives of the BMW Group in the fields of modern and contemporary art, classical music, jazz and sound as well as in architecture and design have been well established throughout the decades.

BMW Luxury Class Wanchai Showroom
G/F, Everbright Centre
108 Gloucester Road, Wanchai

Due to the restrictions regarding Covid-19, the capacity is limited, and pre-registration is recommended. Please register here.


For further questions please contact:

Prof. Dr Thomas Girst
BMW Group Corporate and Governmental Affairs
Head of Cultural Engagement
Telephone: +49-89-382-24753

Sarah Degen
Art Basel
Senior Media Relations Manager
Telephone: +41-58-206-2706

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