The first large-scale exhibition in Hong Kong of works from the Sigg Collection of Chinese contemporary art, since its was acquired by the M+ museum in West Kowloon, will open early next year (23 February-5 April 2016). The show is organised by Pi Li, M+’s senior curator of Chinese art, who joined the museum in 2012, the same year the part donation/part purchase of the founding collection was secured by the outgoing director, Lars Nittve.
The exhibition opens a month after Nittve steps down, although he plans to continue as an external advisor. “I look forward to celebrating this important moment in the lead up to M+ opening,” Nittve said in a statement. M+’s Herzog & de Meuron building is now due to open in 2019. Acquiring the collection and selecting the Swiss architects have been two of Nittve’s most significant achievements while leading the flagship—and much delayed—project.
In a statement, Pi Li said that the exhibition of highlights from the M+ Sigg Collection would reveal the “robust output” of Chinese art from the 1970s to the present. “Chinese artists have constantly navigated between domestic and global artistic, social and political tensions in their pursuit of artistic freedom,” he said.
The exhibition will feature work by more than 30 artists, from Ai Weiwei and Cao Fei to Zhang Peili. Organised in three parts, it will put contemporary art into its wider cultural context, and will take place in the Artis Tree space, which has hosted previous M+ Mobile temporary exhibitions.
The “homecoming” exhibition of the Sigg collection opens a week after another show drawing from the same collection opens in Switzerland, something of a second home. The exhibition Chinese Whispers is due to open in two venues, the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern (19 February-19 June 2016). Ten years ago, the Kunstmuseum Bern first showed works from the collection built by Uli Sigg, the Swiss businessman and the country’s former ambassador to China. In a statement, Sigg said it will be “wonderful to finally see it in Hong Kong”.