Just like the country itself, mainland Chinese contemporary art is undergoing a boom. Collectors from Paris to New York have been looking to fill their walls with Chinese contemporary art in recent years. Hong Kong has been essential in helping some of mainland China’s best artists reach a western audience.
If you’re shopping for art in Hong Kong you’ll find 90 per cent of it is, naturally, Chinese and the majority Chinese contemporary art. In fact, Hong Kong is arguably the best location in the world in which to find reputable, Chinese contemporary art. Galleries continue to open offering a wide range of both styles and prices, as Hong Kong exploits its geographic, cultural, linguistic advantages to acquire the best Chinese art available.
We talk to some of Hong Kong’s best purveyors of Chinese contemporary art and get them to answer some of Chinese art’s hottest questions.
1. With the Chinese mainland opening up, and relaxation on restrictions on removing art from the country, why should people still use Hong Kong dealers?
Shaun Kelly, Zee Stone Gallery – ‘Hong Kong has a well established market, it has both the knowledge and the history to assure quality. The risks of buying art in China are far greater than in Hong Kong, Chinese galleries simply don’t have comparable experience, ability or knowledge. Hong Kong galleries remain far more adept at securing high quality and respected Chinese artists.’
2.With such a rapid increase in the price of Chinese contemporary art, is it possible that we are experiencing an overvaluation bubble?
Sappho Ma, Connoisseur Gallery – ‘There are many talented artists in China, it was only a matter of time before they achieved success. These artists and there work were undervalued for a long time and the current prices are a reflection of their work for the most part.’
3. Why has Chinese contemporary art become so popular so quickly?
Sappho Ma – Conniseur Gallery – ‘I think it offers art lovers something completely different, something fresh. It’s also offers a sense of discovery, a feeling that you’re exploring something unknown, although with the increasing media attention, this is subsiding.’
4. What is the best advice for first-time buyers of Chinese contemporary art?
Koos Groot – Arch Angel Art Gallery – ‘Buy something you’re attracted to, something you would like to see in your home, this goes for all art not only Chinese contemporary art. Investing in art has become popular form of alternative investment and it can bring returns; however if you’re more interested in the investment than the art, you are probably making a mistake.’
5. How should you decide which artist to buy from?
Koos Groot, Arch Angel Gallery – ‘Either but from a recognized artist, this may be expensive but it’s safe and a sound investment. Alternatively you can buy from a young-promising artists who’s work is likely to become more popular – and thus increase in value; however this is more of a risk.’
Arch Angel Art – 38 Peel Street, Central. Tel: 2542 2810
Connoisseur Art Gallery – Shop G3, Chinachem Building, Hollywood Road. Tel: 2868 5358
Zee Stone Gallery – 43-55 Wyndham Street, Central.