be expanded, as will the network of VIPs and collectors from across the world attending. There will no doubt be new galleries participating but the focus will remain on the quality of the artworks presented and balance of 50/50 galleries from Asia and the West. Who is your public exactly in number and quality? We received 67,205 visitors this year and were delighted to also welcome the many new overseas visitors to the fair including VIPs, collectors, museum and arts industry professionals. How would you describe the Asian collectors? It is difficult to be so broad in one’s definition. Collectors are individuals and individuals have different interests, focuses, and motives for collecting. There is a huge curiosity and a hunger for information. The contemporary art market in Asia is relatively young and so there is still a great deal of work to do in building the confidence of potential collectors but we are increasingly seeing collectors from the region move beyond the borders of collecting from their home countries to collect the work of international artists. It is still early days but we are seeing a ‘sea-change’. Undoubtedly it will take time but it is happening and that is more exciting than the hype. Do the expatriates buy contemporary art to live within Hong Kong? Hong Kong is home to a large number of affluent expatriates working in the financial industries. ART HK has attracted a strong attendance from this segment of the Hong Kong society but it is important to note that we have attracted a huge level of interest from Hong Kong Chinese visitors also. Do you think auction houses in HK encourage the art business the way you look at it yourself? Auction houses have played a crucial part in promoting art and increasing awareness of contemporary art amongst audiences in Hong Kong and Asia. For art to thrive, a holistic ecology must be developed that includes the auction houses, galleries and other art market components as well as the non-profit art centres, museums and educational facilities.
What are the assets of your VIP Programme ? With Art Basel on board now, we have an even greater reach across the world to connect with a broader VIP community and to provide even greater VIP experiences and access for VIPs. What's new about Hong Kong cultural life and the West Kowloon Cultural District project? There has been the huge M+ Sigg Collection donation and more recently the architectural design-team shortlist for the Xiqu Centre was just announced. The Xiqu Centre will be the first cultural venue to be built at West Kowloon Cultural District, in late 2015, and will be a new 1,100 seat Cantonese opera centre with complementary smaller tea houses attached. There have also been many overseas galleries opening in Hong Kong including White Cube, Simon Lee, Pearl Lam Galleries and Galerie Perrotin this year. Hong Kong is constantly seeing transformations in its cultural life and no doubt the remainder of this year will bring many more exciting changes too. Finally would you consider Hong Kong to become the cultural leader in Asia before Singapore, Taipei, Beijing or Shanghai ? Hong Kong is definitely set to be a key arts hub in Asia and in that respect a cultural leader in its own right. However, the region benefits from having many cultural leaders and a strong arts ecology that lifts each city’s arts and cultural identity, creativity and prosperity. There are hundreds of galleries and thousands of artists in Beijing and Shanghai; Singapore already has contemporary art museums and will soon have the Gilman Barracks development; and Taipei has many exciting developments underway. It will be wonderful seeing this all develop. We are excited that the emerging consensus is that Hong Kong is the place for the global art world to engage with Asia. It is a huge responsibility on our part and one we take very seriously – we are an art fair for Asia and work hard to attract members of the vibrant art communities from around the region and around the world. Interview by Renaud Siegmann