Evan Chow

Evan Chow

Art Collector

Hong Kong

Where does your interest in art originate?  

My interest in art initially was inspired from my family, as my great grandparents, grandparents and parents were great collectors of Chinese ink art, antiques and ceramics. Since young, I have always enjoyed contemporary art and design. I have been visiting ArtHK, before it become Art Basel in 2013, and developed a keen interest from there.

How would you describe the contemporary art scene in Hong Kong?

The contemporary art scene continues to aspire to be a global cultural hub like New York or London.

With prominent galleries, including New York galleries David Zwirner and Pace, as well as Hauser & Wirth from Switzerland and Seoul Auction from South Korea, housed at the new building, H Queen’s in the Central business district, the local scene will slowly change from the ground bottom.

Art fairs such as Art Basel, Art Central, and HK Art Week will also drive the evolving scene, but there seems to be a missing voice of local artists, and that’s a huge gap between the art market and practices in the community.

 In what direction would you say the art market is heading right now?

I think the gallery market will have in the biggest changes and innovation, as new and younger galleries explore new ways of doing business - from shared spaces to co-operative initiatives and international partnerships with institutions. Art fairs will continue to an important of art trade and to replace the need for space for many middle-market galleries as more mid-range sales are done in the aisles, not on the streets.

What is your opinion of the art fair boom that has taken hold in recent years?

After Art Basel Hong Kong in 2013, there are more international dealers like Gagosian, White Cube, Lehmann Maupin and Pace set up shops here in Hong Kong. That opportunity created a forward-looking image for the local art scene and fair boom.

Are you a frequent visitor to art fairs? Which are currently your favorite? 

Yes, I take field trips to biennials and fairs, adding a new fair every year or trying to schedule them into or around my work travels.
Last year, I went to Art Basel, Documenta 14, Project Munster and Venice Biennale all in 10 days and it was super rewarding.

What first inspired you to start collecting art?

My interest in art initiated from my family as my great grandparents, grandparents and extended family were collectors of Chinese ink art, antiques and ceramics. I have always enjoyed contemporary art and design and have been visiting ArtHK, before it become Art Basel in 2013, and developed a keen interest from then. Back then, acquisitions were often spur of the moment, meant to dress up a space rather than building a collection. After a few interactions with curators, advisers, gallerists and collectors, my approach has evolved into a measured, rigorous education of art history and how contemporary artists are important in today or the future world.

Is it important that you meet the artists whose works you have bought or are thinking about buying?

Yes. For me, acquisitions go way beyond the visual attraction, but more about the history, methodology, inspiration and therefore significance of the artist and the subject piece.

What is the most powerful artwork that you have seen or bought recently?

During Frieze London, I was particularly to the solo booth of Huang Rui works during 1989 at Frieze Masters. The solo booth by Boers-Li was a super powerful assembly of abstract and mixed media works that reflect Huang Rui’s status as an important part of Chinese art history, reflecting his sophisticated practice and outlook of China during and after 1989.

Is there a central theme that connects your collection?

Emerging or mid-career artist who would make art history and be influential in their respective fields, form and peer groups.

Why do you think people begin to collect art?

It can be a serious investment or personal hobby. Both can makes sense, in addition to contributing to an increasingly important culture landscape in today’s world !

How do you feel about the excessive prices paid for works nowadays?

This is subjective. I would say whatever makes sense to the collector, his appreciation and the place in his collection or intuition.

What specifically is it that makes something a work of art?

For me, the significance of a work of art goes way beyond the visual attraction. Its time and place in the artist and his time’s place in history, methodology, inspiration are equally important.

What are your top 5 must-see art events or exhibitions of 2018?

2018 Triennale: Songs for Sabotage by the New Museum

Leonor Antunes: the frisson of the togetherness at the White Chapel Gallery

Lee Kit and Cui Jie at OCAT Shenzhen

Samson Young at M+

Jim Dine at Pompidou

Which 5 emerging artists should we be keeping a look out for in 2018?

Chris Huen

Samon Young  

Beth Letain

Austin Lee

Sanya Kantarovsky