The Global Times runs a short profile of Uli Sigg the Swiss collector who was one the pioneering collectors of Chinese Contemporary Art:
Of course Sigg did not buy the works from galleries or auction houses, where even one piece sells for millions of dollars these days, most of his precious works were bought during the 1990s, when there was no recognized contemporary art market in China and it was hard for any artist to even sell a piece of their work.
During this time, as there was no transparency in the Chinese contemporary art scene, it was also much harder than it is today to get an overview as to what the artists were doing. Many works were created underground and connecting with the artists themselves was difficult.
“There was no internet, no galleries and no large-scale exhibitions and no artist published a catalogue of their works,” Sigg told the Global Times, saying that he had to think of many ways to get close to the artists at first and visiting the artists’ studios personally was one of the most efficient methods that he used to collect good pieces.
To this day, Sigg said that he has visited over 1,000 artists’ studios across China, ranging from big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen to Chengdu, Chongqing and Shenyang as well as small towns and villages.
“I traveled quite a lot to find good works,” Sigg smiled, his face lighting up while talking about his collecting career. “As a professional art collector you never take the art market as the only way to buy works.”
Uli Sigg (The Global Times)