Down To A Fine Art: Q&A With Calvin Hui

Arts

September 12, 2017 | BY Cherry Lai

Art curator Calvin Hui talks Fine Art Asia and more

As Fine Art Asia puts the finishing touches on the line-up for its 13th edition, we sat down with art curator Calvin Hui for a chat about its development, the future of Asia's art market, and what's in store this year. 

What can we expect at the fair?

A journey through an eclectic mix of museum quality art and antiques, from Ming dynasty furniture to precision crafted timepieces and contemporary art. Last year’s well-received photography debut gave us the confidence to expand the section with its own dedicated area and a series of panel discussions.

What aspects of Fine Art Asia are you drawn to the most?

I am a fan of mid-century furniture and decorative pieces. It’s interesting when a collector who comes to see huanghuali (Chinese yellow rosewood) furniture finds himself discussing silver service, or a jadeite buyer discovering the cut stones of Western jewellers. The fair’s diversity allows one to journey through time.

Lines and Forms (1959) by Ho Fan. (Photo: Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery)

What do you see as the future of the Asian art market?

Hong Kong remains an integral part of the international art market. Fairs, auction houses and the city’s growing gallery presence all give us a competitive edge, and our ease of transacting and favourable tax climate benefits collectors, sellers and artists. The creative economy is thriving and we’ve continued to see growth within the collector market at our fair. 

What is good art to you?

Good art is subjective, but I respect artists who develop their own unique artistic language, who have an understanding of their own cultural identity and the ability to demonstrate this through contemporary expression.

Ai (1973) by Inoue Yuichi. (Photo: Courtesy of Shibunkaku and Fine Art Asia)

What stirred your interest in curating and collecting art?

I’ve always had a passion for art, which started with a love of classical music and vocal production; music and visual art appreciation both require a human touch and spiritual sensitivity. It was during my studies in Madrid, immersed in European art and culture, that I truly nurtured my interest in visual art.

What artworks decorate your house?

My house is my personal curatorial space filled with mid-century furniture by Gio Ponti, Whitefriars glass, claret jugs from the 19th century, silver plates from 1741 and artworks by Hsiao Chin, Liu Dan, Wang Jieyin and Chloe Ho.

What’s next for you?

I’ve been working with Pansy Ho as the exclusive curator and art consultant for a pioneering MGM Cotai Art Collection. Set to be unveiled soon i Macau, the collection showcases the city’s cultural diversity. Also, the third edition of Ink Asia, which I founded in 2015, will open in December with 50 participating Asian galleries. It’s been a busy time.

Fine Art Asia will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from September 30 to October 3. For more information, visit fineartasia.com.

See also: 5 Hong Kong Art Exhibitions To See In September