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CHINA. M+ receives world's best collection of Chinese contemporary art from Uli Sigg
22/06/2012 12:57:34

The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) announced a donation of 1,463 Chinese contemporary artworks to the permanent collection of M+, Hong Kong's future museum for visual culture opening in 2017. The collection donation, conservatively valued at HKD1.3 billion, has been made by Dr Uli Sigg of Switzerland, the world's leading collector of Chinese contemporary art.

The Sigg Collection is universally recognised as the largest, most comprehensive and most important collection in the world of Chinese contemporary art from the 1970s to the present. Consisting of works by 350 artists - many of which are large-scale paintings or full room installations, it has been systematically built as a coherent museum-quality collection since the early 1990s, representing the historical development of contemporary art in China as a whole.

The collection comprises major works by leading artists, among them Ai Weiwei, Ding Yi, Fang Lijun, Geng Jianyi, Gu Wenda, Huang Yongping, Liu Wei, Wang Guangyi, Xu Bing, Yang Shaobin, Yue Minjun, Yu Youhan, Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Peili, Zhang Xiaogang, as well as Hong Kong artists Lee Kit and Pak Sheung-chuen, and many younger generation artists.

Under a part gift/part purchase agreement, M+ acquired a further 47 works from Dr. Sigg's collection for the sum of CHF 22 million (HKD177 million). Part gift/part purchase is an increasingly common international model for museums to obtain collections. The main aspect of this model is that the museum clearly shows its commitment to the collection. 

Dr Uli Sigg said, "In the early 90s I realised that nobody was collecting Chinese contemporary art even remotely systematically - neither individuals nor institutions in China or abroad. That seemed odd for the biggest cultural space in the world, and for what will be in hindsight a very important period. So I decided to change my approach and collect like an institution would: documenting the art production of China from day one to today - along the timeline, across all media, rather than according to my personal taste as a private collector would. I set out to create that 'document' about Chinese contemporary art that is missing in China, and missing outside as well."

The collection will be displayed in dedicated galleries when M+ opens in 2017. Starting this year M+ will also be engaged with the Chinese Contemporary Art Award, founded by Uli Sigg in 1997, and the CCAA Art Critic Award.

For more information, visit  www.wkcda.hk/en/

Image: Donation of The Sigg Collection ceremony. Photo courtesy www.wkcda.hk

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