Industrial Bloom

Earlier this year, in the last few days before the heat of summer, nearly 50,000 people visited the Hong Kong International Art Fair, a 65% jump in attendance over last year. It’s another step up for the aspiring capital of Asia’s art market, a city where auction houses sold $502 million in art last year alone. But while collectors flock to Hong Kong to scoop up works by popular mainland Chinese artists such as Yue Minjun and Zhang Xiaogang, Hong Kong’s real artistic vanguard can be found 40 minutes by train from the city center, in the grimy industrial area of Fo Tan, where artists work next to sausagemakers and metalsmiths in hulking, derelict factories. For years, manufacturers have been fleeing to cheaper pastures in China, so Hong Kong, notorious for high rents, has had a surplus of vacant industrial space. The result has been an explosion of creativity.

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Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2010

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