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Five minutes with… Lorraine Kiang Malingue on the Asian art market

Dealer tells us about the challenges of running a space in Shanghai’s West Bund and how the gallery keeps up with the growing competition

Lorraine Kiang Malingue set up the Edouard Malingue Gallery with her husband in 2010 Malingue: photo courtesy of Edouard Malingue Gallery

Lorraine Kiang Malingue set up the Edouard Malingue Gallery with her husband in 2010 with its inaugural show consisting of around 40 works by Picasso. Since then, the gallery has been growing the number of Asian artists it represents, bringing them together with blue-chip Impressionist and Modern Western art. In 2016, the gallery expanded to mainland China, opening a space on Shanghai’s West Bund. Malingue tells us about the challenges of running a space in Hong Kong and how the gallery keeps up with the growing competition.

How has the Hong Kong art scene changed since you first opened?

Many more international galleries have opened and more institutions such as Tai Kwun and M+ are opening—this has helped to create a much better art ecosystem in Hong Kong.

What are the biggest challenges of running a gallery in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong has a small population, so there is a lot of outreach work that needs to be done around the region. It takes time and creativity to engage and surprise collectors.

How do these compare with the challenges you face in Shanghai?

Shanghai naturally attracts a large audience because it has a much bigger population. However, we are still developing a solid group of collectors who would be keen to develop a collection that speaks of their own taste and identity.

Collectors trust our programme and our efforts in promoting the artists in a steady and solid way

How has your gallery programme changed since you first opened?

We have a much stronger roster of Asian artists now. From Hong Kong we represent Samson Young, Wong Ping, Kwan Sheung Chi, Ko Sin Tung; from China we have Yuan Yuan, Sun Xun, Wang Wei and most recently Tao Hui; from Taiwan we have Chou Yu-Cheng; from Indonesia we have Tromarama; and we represent Ho Tzu Nyen from Singapore. These artists are gaining lots of international recognition and attention, which is what the programme has been striving for.

How do you stay ahead of the competition from Western mega-galleries that have opened in Hong Kong in recent years?

We keep our programme consistent and focused on important artists from the region and also keep up a dialogue with the West. We engage with a sophisticated group of collectors around the region who collect because they truly like what they buy and would not be completely affected by the latest market trends. We all know that trends are moving faster than ever, so there is no reason to run after them. Collectors trust our programme and our efforts in promoting the artists in a steady and solid way.

You just participated in Condo London and collaborated with two German galleries in your Shanghai space. Will you do more of these kinds of gallery exchanges in the future?

Yes, we will continue this summer with Condo in Shanghai.

Who is an artist to watch right now?

Ho Tzu Nyen—he’s one of the most important filmmakers in Asia. He is showing at the Sharjah Biennial and has his first solo show with us in Hong Kong during Art Basel.