Pearl Lam photographed by William Louey
Which exhibition or event are you most looking forward to in 2015 and why?
Around the world, our artists will be having exhibitions in our gallery spaces in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, as well as participating in major exhibitions in Korea and San Francisco.
I think it will be interesting to see how China reacts to design: it’s the second year of the design fair and, even though we’re not joining it, it will be interesting to see how Chinese collectors look at these big industrial designs coming in.
What do you predict will be the most significant development, or the biggest talking point in art in 2015 and why?
2015 will be very interesting. Art and the economy always go hand in hand. In America, auctions are doing very well, though I am uncertain about what will happen to young artists in Europe; usually when a market’s weaker, people like to buy blue chip artists.
In the past three years, Chinese collectors have consistently bought works by young artists. There’s a big trend to buy works by young artists of around 25 years in age — though when you talk about emerging artists, it’s not about the artist’s age, but their experience in the art world. International buyers and sellers are increasingly coming to Asia, and people are also becoming more interested in South America.
Which artist most excites you right now and why?
We are working with several Western artists at the moment, and bringing their work to Asia — including Joana Vasconcelos, or Barthélémy Toguo, who will be at the Venice Biennale. Amongst Chinese artists that I'm excited about there’s Zheng Chongbin — who makes the canvas almost sculptural — and Ren Ri, an artist who produces works with beehives.
Morgan Wong installation at Art Basel in Hong Kong 2014, presented by Pearl Lam Galleries
Tell us about the project that you are working on for 2015?
I can’t name one event. In March, between Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, we have seven events in 10 days, which we’ve been working on since early January.
During this time have several things going on in Hong Kong including an exhibition on Chinese art theory, which will be very interesting because it’s not a subject that everyone understands. In Asia, our theory of art has evolved from traditional practices; this exhibition will allow the audience to understand the roots of Chinese contemporary practice — which are totally different from those of the West — and embrace those differences.
Zhu Jinshi, Boat, 2012
We will also have an exhibition of Zhu Jinshi’s Boat (above) — a monumental work formed of 8,000 sheets of xuan (rice) paper in The Rotunda of Exchange Square. The Boat will, in this context, be seen as a vessel for the cultural implications of its materials as well as for the artist's own journey, and the viewer's passage through space and time. The installation is representative of the art of 'Yi Pai' where the artist's fascination with time is transformed into a physical object. On top of that, we will have Art Basel Hong Kong.
In Shanghai, we are going to present work by Su Dong Ping, an abstract artist in his 60s, not yet on the international radar. And, in Singapore, we are having an exhibition of works by Li Tianbing, who has lived between France and LA.
Main image: Zhu Jinshi, Boat, 2012, Courtesy of Pearl Lam Galleries