Interviewing Alan Lo | Hong Kong's Art Collector Extraordinaire

Photo of Culture Trip
29 January 2016

An avid and insightful art collector, and the man behind the already iconic Duddell Restaurant, Alan Lo is one of Hong Kong art world’s best-known personalities. In a new series of interviews with the art world’s leading figures, The Culture Trip partners with, who talked to Alan Lo about his take on Asia’s booming contemporary art scene and collecting.

I grew up in a family that has been collecting for thirty odd years, so it is not something that is completely strange to me. I have been observing what’s been going on in the art market, particularly modern and contemporary Chinese and Asian [art] for quite some time before I actually started making my first acquisition.

How has Hong Kong changed over the past decade for a collector?

Ten years ago, or let’s say, seven or eight years ago, activities in Hong Kong were dominated by the auctions, whereas if you look at the last five or six years, there is a lot more choice coming from fairs and galleries opening in this part of the world.

What platforms best support the artists in Hong Kong?

Great platforms like Para Site and AAA (Asian Art Archive) in this part of the world, we continue to support where possible. These are extremely valuable resources, especially for [the] development of artists as well as curators, and other sort of practitioners in the region. And of course, major institutions like M+ that’s going to happen in a few years time. These are some of the things I think as collectors, aside from the personal collection, if there is a way to support, that’s something we really should be taking a more active role in.

How was last year’s Venice Biennale and Lee Kit’s solo show at the Hong Kong pavilion?

Being a collector in Hong Kong, I was extremely proud to see that, for the first time, an international quality Hong Kong pavilion. I think that’s something in the history of the Hong Kong pavilion, which has been ten years or even more, definitely a huge development.

What is your advice to young collector?

It is important to read a lot. It is important to just go to a lot of shows, and see as much as possible. It’s the best way to learn about what is out there. And I guess, speaking from experience, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You’re bound to make mistakes I guess!

Can you tell us about one of your favorite artists?

If I have to choose one artist, I think that would be Cai Guo-Qiang, because I think his philosophy, his thinking, his execution. To date, it is still hard to find any other Chinese artists who can beat his innovation. Someone who actually created something that’s completely refreshing, something that you simply don’t see with any other Western artists. And I think that’s amazing.

The Culture Trip partners with on a series dedicated to revealing fresh perspectives on Asian art by the art world’s leading figures.

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