Central to the stories of many of the world’s great art galleries are the acquisitions and bequests that shaped their collections. So it is with M+ – a new museum of visual culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong – and the M+ Sigg Collection. Acquired by the museum in 2012 from the Swiss businessman, diplomat and art collector Uli Sigg, the collection consists of 1,510 works of contemporary Chinese art, dating from the 1970s to the present and ranging across all media. Most significantly, perhaps, it offers a unique window on the remarkable flowering of experimental artistic practices in China during this time – a period of unprecedented social and economic change in the country that saw artists devise new, sometimes radical, approaches to artmaking, formulating new connections between art and society, and developing ground-breaking conceptual methodologies.
Published to coincide with the presentation of the M+ Sigg Collection at the opening of the M+ building, Chinese Art Since 1970 features more than 600 works by more than 300 artists represented by the collection, among them Ai Weiwei, Cao Fei and Geng Jianyi. After introductory essays by Pi Li and Uli Sigg, an illustrated chronology spanning the years 1972 to 2020 highlights important social events, exhibitions and artistic movements to establish a context for the discussion of the featured artists and their work that follows. Punctuating this discussion are contributions from renowned art historians, curators and critics from across the globe on specific works and practices, together with in-depth explanations of key concepts and events, from Cynical Realism to the seminal exhibition China/Avant-Garde. Through the medium of the world’s pre-eminent collection of contemporary Chinese art, Chinese Art Since 1970 offers an unparalleled introduction to one of the most culturally dynamic periods in modern Chinese history.
With over 700 illustrations