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M+ receives major donation of 37 works from Chinese art collector, Guan Yi
Wang Guangyi, VISA, 1996, Mixed Media, 110 x 190 x 60cm. Courtesy of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.
HONG KONG.- West Kowloon Cultural District Authority announced today that M+, Hong Kong’s future museum for visual culture, has received a donation of 37 important works of Chinese contemporary art by Guan Yi, one of the most important art collectors based in the region.

Launching in 2001, Guan Yi’s internationally acclaimed collection—the first of its kind in mainland China—ranges in dates from the 1980s to the present and is especially noted for its emphasis on the work of the ’85 New Wave, conceptual art and large-scale installations. The collection includes works by the members of the Stars Group, a critical player in the beginning of contemporary Chinese art, and is also particularly strong in Chinese conceptual art throughout its trajectory over the last 30 years.

Spanning the years from 1979 to 2005, the donation includes works by Huang Rui, the New Measurement group, Huang Yong Ping, Wu Shanzhuan, Gu Dexin, Zhang Peili, Wang Guangyi, Wang Luyan, Lin Yilin, Liang Juhui, Chen Shaoxiong, Yan Lei, Zhou Tiehai, Xu Zhen, Chen Wenbo, Wang Yin, Shen Yuan, Zheng Guogu, Cao Fei and Duan Jianyu. The donation also includes the complete checklist of “Canton Express,” a historic exhibition that was a part of the 2003 Venice Biennale, which was the first major presentation on the international stage of contemporary art from the Pearl River Delta region.

Michael Lynch, WKCDA’s Chief Executive Officer said, “Guan Yi's generous donation is a marker of the trust and respect that M+, Hong Kong's future museum for visual culture, already holds within the international artistic community, and signals building global anticipation for the first museum of its kind in Asia - already housing one of the most important collections of Hong Kong and Chinese contemporary art worldwide.”

Dr Lars Nittve, Executive Director, M+, said, “Guan Yi’s donation chronicles extremely fascinating moments in the history of Chinese contemporary art. They coalesce to form a hugely significant period of history and demonstrate the conceptual revolution that has taken place in Chinese art. Many large-scale pieces did not receive attention from private collectors, especially prior to 2005, nor did they find homes in public collections. That such works were systematically preserved after their original exhibitions is no small feat. We are thrilled that a collector from mainland China has chosen to make a generous donation to a public cultural institution—it is an incredibly meaningful gesture.”

Guan Yi remarked, “This donation started with a wish to bequeath to M+ “Canton Express” and Yan Lei’s International Passage—works made in the Pearl River Delta region. I have since then come to deeply identify with and trust the mission and programme of M+, and thus decided to expand my donation to include more historical works, starting with Stars Group and the ’85 New Wave and following with historical artist groups such as New Measurement and Big Tail Elephant as well as artists later working in Shanghai and the Pearl River Delta. This donation focuses on the beginnings of contemporary Chinese art, while making careful selections from later movements, altogether representing the transformation of the conceptual landscape of contemporary Chinese art in the past 30 years. The works included represent the core values of my collection built over the years. The idea of donation has been in my mind since I collected my first installation work, Huang Yong Ping’s World Factory, in 2002. Art is ultimately destined for enjoyment by the general public, so it is inherently natural to make a donation to a public institution, and doing so makes it all the more gratifying! This donation is just the beginning of my relationship with M+.”

The Guan Yi donation is the latest in a series of remarkable gifts to M+. In June 2012, M+ received a donation of 1,463 works by Dr Uli Sigg of Switzerland valued at HKD1.3 billion in June 2012.

Part of the West Kowloon Cultural District, M+ is the new museum for visual culture in Hong Kong which encompasses 20th and 21st century visual art, design and architecture and moving image from Hong Kong, China, Asia and beyond. M+ has already embarked on a number of public programmes and exhibitions, and has begun to assemble its permanent collection, in the run-up to the planned 2017 completion of its 60,000 square-metre building designed by Herzog & de Meuron, with TFP Farrells and Ove Arup & Partners HK, overlooking Victoria Harbour.

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