Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
On March 25, during the week of Art Basel Hong Kong, Christie’s Hong Kong will host its “First Open” sale focusing on the intersection of lifestyle and art. Whitewall spoke with the auction house’s International Director of Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Eric Chang, to learn more about the contemporary Hong Kong market and the 30 anniversary of Christie’s in Asia.
WHITEWALL: What are some of the names to watch in modern and contemporary Asian art sales?
ERIC CHANG: In the autumn of 2014, Christie’s presented Dansaekhwa (Korean Monochrome Painting) and featured the Gutai movement in its 2015 spring auction. These two schools of artists were collectively introduced to an international stage, which was met with a remarkable response from global collectors. This phenomenal response within the category of abstract art represents the continued efforts of Christie’s in promoting and nurturing this segment of artists over the years. The breakout performance of these artists appears to have happened very suddenly, but was actually cultivated over a long period of time. The valuation of great Asian artists such as Zao Wou-ki, and Chu The-chun, etc., have become mature and stable over the last several years.
Among Chinese contemporary artists, Zeng Fanzhi, Yue Minjun, Yu Youhan, Zhan Wang are the names appealing to the market constantly. Lately, several matured young artists like Jia Aili and Liu Wei also draw a broad attention and interest.
WW: What has been the most surprising sale for you thus far?
EC: As an art professional in the business, I prefer to pursue opportunities in the upcoming auctions to fulfill my passions and my dreams toward art. This embodies both new challenges and opportunities, which we have been pursuing.
In 2016, Christie’s will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in Asia, and we will be presenting a series of activities in March such as the “First Open” Sale on March 25. The sale will focus on how lifestyle and art are interlinked, and how art can enrich and bring joy to the lives of collectors.
WW: How would you describe the typical Hong Kong auction buyer?
EC: They are based in Hong Kong, however are very geographically mobile. They travel the world visiting the great art fairs and exhibitions such Art Basel, Art Basel Miami Beach, Frieze London and New York, The Armory Show, etc. This great experience gives them a broader vision, which propels the Hong Kong art market to an international perspective and caliber.
WW: How has the presences of Art Hong Kong, and now Art Basel Hong Kong affected the Contemporary Asian Art performance at auction in Hong Kong?
EC: Hong Kong and Basel share several similarities in economic development, international cooperation and cultural diversity. Hong Kong, as an open-minded and neutral city, and an international financial center, supports various cultures and nationalities under a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Moreover, the multiple financial tax exemption policies such as preferential tariffs, a transparent financial environment and the advantage of plurilingualism capabilities support Hong Kong as the trading center for Asian art, which is also the exact reason why Christie’s and Sotheby established businesses in Hong Kong.
In recent years, the introduction of foreign galleries, the further development of Hong Kong’s local galleries and the establishments of art fairs in the city has propelled Hong Kong into a leading position in art trading. Hong Kong has become an indispensable location for players in the art market around the world who intend to pursue their passion for Asian art. The rapid developments in the market with the availability of art consulting services place Hong Kong collectors at a unique advantage allowing them mature at an accelerated pace. Hong Kong collectors collect across great diversity and across cultures and categories, bidding at all price points.