Recent Art from the Sigg Collection
An exhibition by the MAK, Vienna in dialogue with the collector Uli Sigg and in cooperation with the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Zentrum Paul Klee and the support of the auction house Dorotheum.
With CHINESE WHISPERS: Recent Art from the Sigg Collection a comprehensive exhibition on Chinese contemporary art is coming to Vienna. Uli Sigg has been following the development of contemporary art in China since the late 1970s. In the mid-1990s, he started putting together the world’s most significant and representative collection of Chinese art. A business journalist, entrepreneur, and Swiss ambassador to China, North Korea, and Mongolia (1995–1998), he had the chance to take a look behind the scenes of the social and economic developments dedicated to both tradition and the future, as China’s vision of a new Silk Road shows. Cultural and sociopolitical values form the frame of reference of the MAK exhibition. The museum creates a discursive platform by contrasting works from the Sigg Collection —among others by internationally renowned artists such as Ai Weiwei, Cao Fei, Feng Mengbo, He Xiangyu, Liu Ding, or Song Dong — with objects from the MAK Collection. This interplay highlights China’s contemporary art production as well as its aesthetic or iconographic references. The historical object becomes a vision machine for the contemporary.
The exhibition focuses on objects from Uli Sigg’s Swiss private collection, which he has continuously expanded. With techniques such as calligraphy, painting, photography, sculpture, installation, and video, the presented objects open up a wide spectrum of works ranging from traditional analog to digital production. The title CHINESE WHISPERS refers to the eponymous children’s game in which messages are whispered secretly from one person to the next and distorted in content and meaning by the permanent repetition. This idea of reproduction and distortion can be seen as an ironic allusion to intercultural communication.
Curator: Bärbel Vischer, Curator, MAK Contemporary Art Collection
Exhibition Venue: MAK-Ausstellungshalle, MAK, Stubenring 5, 1010 Wien
Exhibition Dates: 30 January – 26 May 2019
Opening Hours: Tue 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Wed–Sun 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Cover: Ai Weiwei, Descending Light with A Missing Circle, 2017, © Ai Weiwei, Photo: Bruno Bühlmann, Foto Jung, Sursee/Switzerland