In the eyes of many, Kelly Wang is already a “winner in life.”
Wang’s company LIAN Cultural was one of the organizers of an Italian-Chinese “friendship” concert last week. But that’s not all. Her team had organized similar big events be- fore, such as “Phoenix” in 2015, a daunting artistic installation created by Xu Bing, one of the most famed Chinese contemporary artists at the Venice Biennale.
In the same year, she initiated the Marina Abramovic’s first stop in China. The Serbian conceptual and performance artist, philanthropist and art filmmaker came to Shanghai in 2017. But Wang has many more strings to her bow other than acting as a Chinese and Western cultural ambassador.
She is a patron and board member of several international art museums in Shanghai, and head adviser of Uccellini ‘La Bergamasca’ in the Juilliard School of Music.
She is a publisher of Mook with East China normal University, trustee of the Hong Kong Poetry Festival Foundation, director, and professor of Department of Art Finance in Shanghai Business College.
Wang was born into a banking family and majored in international business at universities in England and New Zealand in the 2000s.
She is perpetually on the move. This year, foundations have been laid on Wang’s private art museum, which will be one of the largest private museums of contemporary art in the city’s downtown area when it opens in 2023.
Wang has been a collector of art for more than a decade now. The young entrepreneur’s ad- vantage, in the art and culture community, lies in her skillful combination of art and finance. Her inborn commercial sensitivity builds a strong solid in expanding her art path.
In the past few years, LIAN Cultural, taking advantage of its incubation and external co- operation, has published more than 100 well-known IPs, such as literary and artistic works, symbols, images, names and designs, half of which are internationally recognized.
“We are aiming to support great original intellectual property, such as Chinese novels and plays, to go outside,” she said. “For example, the stage play “Papa’s Time Machine” created by local artist Ma Liang received high accolades in the United States, Britain, Canada, Israel and France. It was also ranked top among 8,000 world-class projects in New York in 2015.”
Q: You started your own col- lection at the age of 21. Do you still remember the first artwork you purchased? Where did you buy it?
A: I can recall it vividly. It was a bright sunny day and I happened to pass by an artist’s studio in Wellington, New Zealand.
When I stepped into the studio, the music I heard was Bach’s Cello Suites. The sun shone on this emerald hued sofa, a dazzling installation. At that time, I just “fell in love” with the work without much thought, gradually it became my passion.
Q: What’s the focus of your collection? How many pieces have you taken so far?
A: They are mainly contemporary international artworks. I have a personal preference for canvases, but now I am also interested in sculptures. I have some thousands of artworks that have been purchased at a gallery, auction, or artist’s studios.
Q: Can you give some details about your plans in future?
A: We just laid the foundation of the museum this year. Covering 4,000 square meters, it will be one of the biggest private museums in the downtown area, plus a 6,000-square-meter park.
The museum is in the center of Chang Ning District with a focus on international contemporary art. We are planning to give more public art education in the future, because I think this would be very important to nurture and level up the aesthetic taste of the public.
Q: You were once a big fund trader that successfully combined financial capital with culture. How have you developed such an acute eye in investment vision?
A: In my eyes, such an acute eye in business relies on how to distinguish between information and knowledge, between knowledge and wisdom, be- tween a surface survey and a deep exploration, under an era filled with technology and in- formation fragmentation.
We really need to be more concentrated, powerful, and enduring to approach wisdom. I am very optimistic about the future of the art market in China.
Q: LIAN Cultural is one of the organizers for the “Con- cert to Celebrate 50 years of Diplomatic Relations between Italy and China.” What are the spotlights for the concert?
A: LIAN Cultural is quite honored to be involved in preparation for the concert especially under the global epidemic situation. The concert features some Italian folk songs, opera excerpts with a strong European artistic aura and the traditional Chinese music. We also fused this music with jazz for a new collision between classical music and contemporary music.
Q: You have many roles, varying from collector, publisher, producer, to museum founder and fund trader, which one do you care the most? Why?
A: I have been engaged in culture and art, a long-lasting and enchanting job.
Q: If you have one day free with no work, how would spend it?
A: Sleeping, coffee and music. My work is closely linked with my life, and I love it. For example, going to exhibitions is part of my work and my life.
Q: What is your favorite book, movie, and artist?
A: My favorite artists are Marina Abramovic and David Hockney …; my favorite movie is Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and the book is Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein’s “Culture and Value.”
Q: Please use three adjectives to describe yourself?
A: Extreme, naive, and wonderful.
Q: What would you say to yourself if you were still in your 20s, and what would you ask yourself when you turn 40?
A: I would tell me, a 21 years old girl, to keep an awesome attitude and have more understanding toward those things that I don’t like.
And I might ask myself when I am in my 40s: “Will you still fall in love?”