Asia Dreams - - CONTENTS -

We talk to In­done­sia's Penny Wen, a for­ward-think­ing art col­lec­tor con­stantly on the look­out for new pos­si­bil­i­ties and up-and-com­ing artists, as well as So­phie Gorecki, di­rec­tor and co-founder of the lux­ury goods cu­ra­tor Max­ about her vi­sion and goals.

Driven by an un­wa­ver­ing pas­sion for art and a keen eye for tal­ent, Penny Wen is a for­ward-think­ing art col­lec­tor con­stantly on the look­out for new pos­si­bil­i­ties and up-and-com­ing artists.

Amidst the stun­ning growth of In­done­sia's art scene, one name stands out as one of the most prom­i­nent art col­lec­tors and cu­ra­tors: Penny Wen. With over 30 years in­vested in lov­ing, col­lect­ing and pro­mot­ing art­work on an in­ter­na­tional level, Penny has a keen eye for each artist's gen­uine bril­liance rep­re­sented in their work, and she val­ues their pas­sion for the craft above all else. Penny was kind enough to share some time with Asia Dreams to talk about her artis­tic ideals and her im­pres­sive art col­lec­tion.

Q: How did you come to de­velop such a strong affin­ity for col­lect­ing art?

A: While not hav­ing a for­mal back­ground in art, over the past 30 years I have nur­tured and de­vel­oped my own in­stinc­tive ideals, which has guided me to­ward the artists and pieces I have pur­chased for my per­sonal col­lec­tion. The ma­jor­ity of my col­lec­tion was pur­chased be­tween

1990 and to­day and in some ways re­flects the trend across Asian coun­tries over this pe­riod, with in­creas­ing num­bers of in­di­vid­u­als ac­quir­ing art as a medium to ex­press their own con­nec­tion to their home coun­try and the wider art scene of Asia.

I am not be­holden to a sin­gle style, or pe­riod or coun­try of ori­gin, but rather see my col­lec­tion re­flect­ing my in­stinc­tive ideals and span­ning a va­ri­ety of artists, thus cre­at­ing a col­lec­tion that a very wide au­di­ence shall hope­fully en­joy.

Q: What qual­i­ties do you look for when cu­rat­ing new­comer artists and mea­sur­ing their cre­ative po­ten­tial?

A: There are many tal­ented artists in In­done­sia and across Asia, but for me the real point of dis­tinc­tion is their in­di­vid­ual pas­sion. In ad­di­tion, as men­tioned above, I must also be to­tally con­nected to the pieces that I am pur­chas­ing for my col­lec­tion and al­most view each ad­di­tion to my col­lec­tion as an­other piece for my liv­ing room wall at home.

Q: Could you tell us a lit­tle bit about your favourite pieces or series in your col­lec­tion at the mo­ment?

A: Some of my favourite pieces are by the Viet­namese maestro, Bui Xuan Phai. Partly my at­tach­ment to these pieces stems from my up­bring­ing in a tra­di­tional Chi­nese fam­ily, where we would all watch the Chi­nese opera as much as we could and also at home we re­ally en­joyed lis­ten­ing to the opera mu­sic as well. In ad­di­tion, I had the op­por­tu­nity to travel to Viet­nam and meet Bui Xuan Phai's wife and his son. His son looks af­ter all the re­main­ing pieces that the fam­ily still re­tains.

Q: What are your thoughts on In­done­sia’s own con­tem­po­rary art scene?

A: In­done­sia's con­tem­po­rary art scene has con­tin­ued to grow quickly and re­ally flour­ish not only in the ma­jor cities but im­por­tantly across many re­gional cities also. In­done­sia's most high-pro­file artists are now well known across Asia and into Europe and North Amer­ica and this pro­vides enor­mous en­cour­age­ment to younger artists as well. The con­tem­po­rary art scene has also ben­e­fited from an in­creas­ing num­ber of in­di­vid­ual col­lec­tors and the greater ap­pre­ci­a­tion of art across a broader sec­tion of the pop­u­la­tion.

Q: Who is your all-time favourite artist who keeps in­spir­ing you to love art?

A: All of the artists that I rep­re­sent pro­vide me with sig­nif­i­cant in­spi­ra­tion for the con­tem­po­rary art scene both within and out­side In­done­sia and un­der­pin my love of art. From a his­toric per­spec­tive, some of the true mae­stros of art that I have had in my col­lec­tion are Hendra Gu­nawan, Af­fandi, Ba­suki Ab­dul­lah, Adrien Jean Le Mayeur De Mer­pres, Bui Xuan

Phai and Popo Iskandar.

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