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Winners and losers in the giddy melee of Art Basel Hong Kong
Like the city in which it takes place, Art Basel Hong Kong is a melting pot, one in which cultural differences often seem to melt away in giddy melee: art can seem to blend into the lingua franca it is often hailed to be. But at certain moments this year, it fractured into something closer to Babel.
Among the exhibitions opening the same week at Hong Kong’s expanding number of international galleries is Tracey Emin’s ‘I Cried Because I Love You’, at White Cube and Lehmann Maupin galleries (until 21 May). Emin’s work is most powerful when it homes in on a single theme, and a condensed range of media, as was the case here. Bodies tangling together in moments of clumsy coitus were the subject, repeated and developed in the form of sketchbook drawings, bleary paintings, and a couple of embroidered canvases artfully copied from drawings. But Emin’s work is most arresting when it is most artless, raw and uncalculating. This sets her apart from the calculating wit and restraint of many younger peers. She has a gritty kind of gravitas that is rare.