Global Times: Profile of Uli Sigg
With an extensive collection of over 2,000 pieces of Chinese contemporary works, including more than 200 Chinese artists and a list of names covering the most famous like Ai Weiwei, Fang Lijun and Wang Guangyi, Sigg is by far the world’s biggest and most successful Chinese contemporary art collector.
It has been widely reported that in his beautiful house in Switzerland, which people often refer to as “the largest private museum of Chinese contemporary art,” there are Chinese contemporary works in every corner – from the kitchen to the utility room every space is adorned with an early painting or conceptual piece by today’s most sought-after and heavily-collected Chinese artists.
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.