Meet Chloe Chiu: a connoisseur of art, a passionate collector, and the visionary behind the Onfinitive Art Foundation in Hong Kong. In this interview, we have the pleasure of delving into the captivating world of art collecting with Chloe. Influenced by her father, a renowned Chinese imperial antiques collector, Chloe’s journey into the realm of contemporary art is both inspiring and enlightening. Join us as we unravel the stories behind her meaningful acquisitions and gain insights into her unique approach to acquiring art.
Please tell us about your collecting practice – how did you get started, what is the focus of your collection, and what are some of your most meaningful acquisitions?
I started collecting under the influence of my father, who is a well-known Chinese imperial antiques collector. We are into different aspects, but they share the same aesthetics and market dynamics. Embarking on my artistic journey, I vividly recall my first encounter with contemporary art at the Long Museum Shanghai. It was there, for the very first time, that I stood in awe before works crafted by artists such as Yoshitomo Nara, Yayoi Kusama, and Takashi Murakami. The fusion of vibrant colors and captivating expressions had an inexplicable resonance within my heart, setting the course for my passion-driven exploration into the world of art. The first work I acquired was a canvas collage by Yoshitomo Nara won from a Christie’s auction in 2013.
As a collector, what is the best way to approach an artist you are hoping to acquire?
I rarely approach an artist before purchasing his/her work. When I find works I’m interested in, I do research on the market price, check his/her social media accounts or ask collector friends’ opinions before making decisions.
Do you think there are any added challenges to collecting being female? How do you overcome them?
No, I just feel it is more and more difficult to buy works from galleries as an individual collector instead of an institution. Even if you have been dedicated and behaving well, they value some institutions or loud collectors more. To get some leverage, I launched my foundation last year. I’m curious about how this will make a difference.
You are currently living between Hong Kong and Beijing. What are the art scenes like in these art world hubs? What are some of the differences between the two cities?
BeijinThe art scene in Beijing changed a lot because of Covid. It’s undergone an “involution”, using a popular term on the internet, so now it’s much more China-focused with 90%-95% of artists in the auction catalogues being Chinese. Hong Kong is the other extreme.
You have set up Onfinitive Art Foundation, a non-profit helping young artists all over the world become involved in international collaborations. Could you share with us some of the foundation’s success stories?
Onfinitive was only set up last year driven by my curiosity, so I didn’t think big at the start. But I’m open to ideas, like artist residencies, exhibition programs, etc., now that I have my own workshop/space available for use. Non-profit wise, I’d like to focus on kids’ arts education in Hong Kong. I have two young kids going to school here. The upcoming exhibition is the first program I have sponsored and organized through my foundation to bring over 10 young Japanese artists’ works to Singapore, alongside some of my own collection. Hopefully, this will be the first success story.
In August, you will have a show of some of your collection in dialogue with a number of emerging Japanese artists at ArtSpace@Halutrans in Singapore, all of whom are part of the NIJIGEN-HA movement. Which artists are participating? What is special about these rising Japanese artists?
Artists from my collection are Tomoo Gokita, Kyne, Hiroyuki Matsuura, Mr., Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, and Kotao Tomozawa. The artists selected by the curator are BYNAM, Hiromi, Rooo Lou, Kojiro Matsumoto, Shigeki Matsuyama, Erika Naka, Bell Nakai, Hiromi Niimi, three, and Masato Yamaguchi. Many of the artists selected by the curator in this exhibition were not professionally trained in art schools. They come from pop culture fields such as fashion and design and have entered the world of art through these alternative routes. “Nijigen-ha” is trying to create a cultural scene between art and pop culture. I’m hoping that by putting the established/professionally trained and these very emerging Japanese artists together, not only will it resonate with existing art enthusiasts but also gain a connection with wider audiences.
Who are some of the female artists in the show we should watch out for?
Kotao is the only female artist on the list whose work I’ve seen in person before.
What are your plans and hopes for the future both for your collecting and for your non-profit?
Collecting-wise, I will continue my Asian pop art focus, and I’d like to explore some possibilities of deviations to works by emerging artists worldwide. Non-profit-wise, I’d like to work with art institutions to fund children’s art education programs. At least our kids deserve guided tours to all the great exhibitions happening in Hong Kong.
You can find out more about the Onfinitive Art Foundation here: onfinitiveart.com