The Chinese Lives of Uli Sigg


Film and Discussion

NEW YORK, October 10, 2017 — Following a screening of the film 'The Chinese Lives of Uli Sigg,' which tells the story of Uli Sigg’s collection of Chinese art, Asia Society Museum Director Boon Hui Tan, Center on U.S.-China Relations Director Orville Schell, and Uli Sigg himself engage in a discussion. (31 min., 18 sec.)

Dir. Michael Schindhelm. Switzerland. 2017. 93 min.

Discover the fascinating life of one of the leading collectors of contemporary Chinese art, Swiss businessman and diplomat Uli Sigg. The film explores the West's embrace of Chinese contemporary art, through the eyes of Sigg and the artists he championed. Ai Weiwei, Cao Fei, Feng Mengbo, and Wang Guangyi are interviewed along with curators, diplomats, architects and others. 

Art world sensation Ai Weiwei credits him with launching his international career. Renowned pianist Lang Lang describes him as a mentor to Chinese artists. Curator Victoria Lu believes that his taste and influence as a collector has been felt around the world.
But when Swiss businessman Uli Sigg first went to China, art was far from his mind. The year was 1979, and Sigg — working for the Schindler escalator and elevator company — was hoping to set up one of the first joint ventures between the Chinese government, seeking international investment in the post-Mao era, and a Western company.

Uli Sigg is not a man who does things by halves. "My ego, my way" says a t-shirt he wears at one point in the film. When he took up rowing, he went to the world championships. When he negotiated a joint venture, he wanted to create a model for future partnerships. And when he became interested in Chinese art, he built a world-class personal collection. Sigg championed the artists he admired, working tirelessly for their international recognition and to preserve their artwork as a record of China's tumultuous and historic changes. Eventually, Sigg became the Swiss ambassador to China and a consultant on major Chinese art projects, including the construction of the Bird's Nest stadium for the Olympic Games.

The Chinese Lives of Uli Sigg is directed by art historian and scholar Michael Schindhelm (Bird's Nest) and produced by Marcel Hoehn (Dark Star: H. R. Giger's World The Knowledge of Healing, Monte Grande, Santiago Calatrava's TravelsThe Written Face.)

Followed by a conversation with Uli Sigg, Asia Society Museum Director Boon Hui Tan, and Center on U.S.-China Relations Director Orville Schell.

Film Courtesy of Icarus Films.

Event Details

Tue 10 Oct 2017
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Asia Society 725 Park Avenue New York, NY 10021
Buy Tickets
$8 Members; $10 Students/Seniors; $12 Non-members
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