The Art Market and Politics: The Sigg Collection at M+

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    The Sigg collection included over 2000 works by over 300 artists mostly from China. It was a collection of works which the Swiss businessman and short time diplomat Uli Sigg has amassed together with his wife Rita Sigg. Together Uli and Rita gathered works from artists they have encountered in China during their stay there between the early 1990's and the early 2010s. As Uli Sigg has repeatedly pointed out, the collection started as a private collection. However, once he amassed a critical volume of works he wanted the collection to be seen as a reflection of the history of China itself. To achieve this he attempted to persuade the Chinese authorities to accept his collection as reflecting the history of China from the Cultural Revolution to the 21st century. Despite many attempts the Chinese authorities refused to accept the collection into a public museum. However, on the 13th of June 2012 the collection was accepted by the new museum of Hong Kong – as yet to be completed – M+.

    The paper will engage with the collection's journey from a private collection to becoming a public collection, even a founding collection of a public museum. It will engage in the politics that led Beijing to reject it and Hong Kong to accept it. Moreover, it will also engage in how the collection actually has the potential of becoming not only canonical in the West but also in China. The paper will look at the detail of specific art works and how thy became well known outside China, and how they are likely to become equally well known and accepted, in China. It will examine the strategies and approaches used by Uli Sigg to turn the collection into an important canonical collection from it being simply a private collection.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationUniversity of Loughborough
    Subtitle of host publicationArt Markets and the Future of Museum Collecting
    Publication statusUnpublished - 15 Jun 2018


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