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Speech by CS at opening reception of "M+ Sigg Collection: Four Decades of Chinese Contemporary Art" exhibition (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the opening reception of the "M+ Sigg Collection: Four Decades of Chinese Contemporary Art" exhibition today (February 22):

Dr Sigg (the Donor of the Sigg Collection, Dr Uli Sigg), Ron (the Vice-Chairman of the Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Mr Ronald Arculli); Victor (the Chairman of the Museum Committee of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Mr Victor Lo), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the opening ceremony of "M+ Sigg Collection: Four Decades of Chinese Contemporary Art".
     This exhibition is the long-awaited first presentation of the M+ Sigg Collection in Hong Kong since the museum was bestowed the generous donation of 1,463 pieces of artworks by Dr Sigg in 2012.

     In the course of more than two decades, Dr Uli Sigg built up his singular collection of Chinese contemporary art created from the mid-1970s to early 2012. We will understand more about Dr Sigg's reflections on why he collected what he collected from his article in the catalogue of this exhibition. As Chairman of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, let me say that his generous donation is remarkable to M+ - Hong Kong's new museum for visual culture - for several reasons. This donation, now called the M+ Sigg Collection, is the beginning and the foundation of M+'s collection of visual art. It signals an important vote of confidence in M+ in its early years of establishment. With the largest and most comprehensive assemblage of Chinese contemporary art in the world, this collection places M+ in a unique and unrivalled position to tell the fascinating story of the development of contemporary art in China in the past four decades. Dr Sigg's donation laid a strong foundation for M+ to realise its ambition to be a world-class museum.

     Such a large collection and the rich history represented by it cannot be shown in the limited space available here. In this exhibition, our curatorial team has focused on one aspect of the wealth and complexity of the M+ Sigg Collection. Comprising around 80 works of 50 artists, this exhibition highlights some of the best known and historically significant artworks from the four decades of incredible artistic creativity and ingenuity.

     This exhibition marks another significant milestone in the development of the West Kowloon Cultural District and in particular M+. I am pleased to say that the 60,000 square-metre M+ building designed by the renowned Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron is progressing smoothly and on schedule. The extraordinary M+ building will become an iconic landmark along the waterfront of Victoria Harbour. It will house a full range of first-rate museum facilities such as galleries, studios, learning and research areas, museum shops and cafes, as well as plenty of public open spaces and greenery for arts lovers and the general public to enjoy.

     Equally encouraging is the notable progress made in the institutional and software development of the museum - thanks to the hard work of Lars (External Advisor of M+, Dr Lars Nittve) in the past five years. M+ has built a strong curatorial team and embarked on a wide range of audience and capacity building programmes. I am also glad that M+ is building up its reputation and status in the international art scene. In May last year, I officiated at the opening of the Hong Kong Exhibition at the Venice Biennale which was jointly presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and M+. I met with a lot of people in the arts circle during the trip, and from our conversations, I had a strong impression that M+ is already a brand that is well-recognised in the international arts arena. The opening of M+ in 2019 will be something eagerly anticipated by art lovers around the world.

     M+ is also part of the wider West Kowloon Cultural District, which is a long-term strategic investment of the HKSAR Government to transform a 40-hectare prime site on the waterfront into an integrated arts and cultural district with world-class arts and cultural facilities as well as quality open spaces that will make Hong Kong people proud. The facilities are now taking shape and will be commissioned in stages. Since the opening of the Nursery Park last July, the Authority has been organising series of popular cultural events at the Park including Freespace Happening that are being held on alternate Sundays under the territory-wide "Appreciate Hong Kong" Campaign. The M+ Pavilion, the first building to be completed on the West Kowloon Cultural District, will open later this year. The Xiqu Centre, a world-class facility dedicated to Chinese opera, is scheduled to open in 2018 along with parts of the Park. Another venue, the Freespace, will open in 2019.

     The West Kowloon Cultural District is a leading example of the HKSAR Government's commitment to promoting arts and culture in Hong Kong. We endeavour to create an environment which is conducive to freedom of artistic expression and creation, and wider participation in cultural activities.

     Having mentioned his name so many times tonight, I must express my heartfelt thanks to Dr Sigg again for his remarkable donation as well as his confidence in and support for M+ and the West Kowloon Cultural District. Dr Sigg's donation to M+ shows that public support is truly instrumental to providing and sustaining the momentum of this project. We hope more philanthropists will join us in furthering our vision for arts development in Hong Kong.

     I would also like to thank Victor, Chairman of the Museum Committee, for his leadership and Lars for steering M+ in realising its vision and mission in the first five years.

     This exhibition only marks the beginning of an exciting journey for M+. Shortly after the close of this exhibition, M+ will have its own base in the M+ Pavilion. I look forward to your continued support for M+ and its programmes.

     Finally, I hope you will enjoy the exhibition and have a memorable evening. Thank you.

Ends/Monday, February 22, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:00


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