Over the past fifteen years, the Asian art market has exploded. Chinese collectors now spend more money in auction than Americans and Brits, while a new generation of Asian artists are reshaping the world’s artistic palate. My Dear Art depicts the wonders and absurdities of the Asian art market. From China, to Singapore to London, it profiles the artists, collectors, gallerists and experts who are changing the face of the art business forever and asks fundamental questions about the value and role of art in modern society.
“Art for us is the ruler of the non-violent revolution.”
With multi-million dollar art works being sold at every auction, it is clear how commercialised the Chinese art world has become. Painters are forced to ask themselves what the censorship rules are and what will be allowed to be displayed in the Chinese galleries. Despite this, exhibitors continue to debunk these claims of self-censorship, showing 6 photographs taken by Lie Xiang-Cheng directly portraying the changes in the era, which the curators incorporated into Uli Sigg’s collection. “Why would we want to include them in the exhibition? I don’t need to argue and make myself controversial”
. Recently, the political turmoil between surrounding countries has been displayed in the M+ Uli Sugg collection in Beijing and in the National Gallery of Singapore, where the paintings attempt to make sense of their relationship with China and the rest of South-East Asia.
The rise in everyday use of technology and the visual fatigue that comes with this has also aided with the growing popularity of abstract paintings and Asian contemporary art. Unlike America, in which painters can house a studio for over 40 years, Beijing lacks this sense of stability. Artists like Wang Guangle paint to escape because he “didn’t want to stay at that place because it was a terrible place… I didn’t like myself in the here and now. So I started to paint this.”
The release that is felt when painting is what gives the artists a sense of identity and belonging.
So what is it that compels these collectors to spend such unreasonable amounts of money on these artworks? “I want to be a collector for them”
, says 'salary-man' collector Daisuke Miyatsu, to support the young artists who are bursting with talent and skill, but are forced to work part-time jobs in order to fund their projects. “Collecting is all about being a wise buyer or a fool. You take turns playing the two roles.”
Both volatile and expensive, the art market is booming as China is abandoning censorship and embracing political freedom.