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Art Lovers: Jim Amberson


Art Lovers: Jim Amberson
A photo from the Foundation Beyeler event as part of Art Basel in Basel. Pictured left to right, Jim Amberson, Tyler Rollins of Tyler Rollins Fine Art in NYC; and, Rita Targui of STPI, Singapore. Image Courtesy of Jim Amberson


Jim Amberson



I'm in regional management for a corporate insurance group


Three artworks in your collection:


"The Duel" (2008) by Sopheap Pich. Sculpture, Bamboo, wire and glue. 252 x 120 x 61 cm
Image Courtesy of Asia Art Archives in America

This work comes from a period in which the artist explored parts of the body. The Duel represents lungs.  

Speaking in the Asian Art Archives in 2011. Sopheap is quoted:  "The Duel is an interesting sculpture. It’s made of the ends of four bamboo trees. I cut the whole bamboo, not throwing anything away except the branches, because you can’t really do much with them. In this work the ends of bamboo get connected, expanded, and connected again. You cannot really tell, but there’s something in the process that intrigued me."  


"Municipal Demolition 1" (2016) by Asim Waqif. UV print on aluminium composite panel. 73 × 142 × 68 cm
Image Courtesy of Nature Morte

The work reflects the building opposite KHOJ partly demolished by Municipal Corporation of Delhi (photographed in 2015), worked on with a CNC router, folded and mounted on bougainvillea trunk and roots cut down by Nadeem Waqif in 2011 in Hyderabad to stop the spread of this invasive plant. Trunk coated with high-gloss polyurethane.


"from Vietnam to Hollywood" by Dinh Q. Lê
Image Courtesy of Jim Amberson

Dinh Q. Lê, Vietnam. Dinh is a wonderful artist. He was the first Vietnamese Artist to have a solo exhibition at MOMA. He had a mid-career retrospective at the MORI Art Museum in Tokyo in 2015. In my opinion his most important series "from Vietnam to Hollywood" which challenge the hybrid memory of the Vietnam War as a blurred recollection of archival documentation overlain with Hollywood blockbuster film scenes or stills. His work challenges the idea of "memory"; "truth", and the "real".  In the age of fake news his work seems more relevant than ever.  This work although not part of that initial exhibition explores similar themes.  


Name three of your favourite Asian Artists:   

Asking a collector to name the favorites in their collection is a bit like asking a parent which is their favorite child, one of the joys of collecting contemporary art is the opportunity to befriend the artist and learn much more about their practice. Sopheap Pich, Teng Nee Cheong and Yee I-Lann. These are three artists whom I have been able to befriend and I've treasured our one-on-one discussions and learned a great deal from our conversations.  

"As Equators Lurid Pleasures Await" (2013) by Teng Nee Cheong, Oil and Goldleaf on canvas
Image courtesy of Gajah Gallery


Name some of your favourite galleries and art institutions in Asia: 

Singapore Tyler Print Institute - STPI is a fantastic venue and resource not only for Singapore but the region.  They are raising the bar by establishing a venue for artists from across the globe to create innovative works in print or paper.  

I love the Jim Thompson House Museum in Bangkok as it stages exceptional contemporary art exhibitions in a venue of antique Thai Houses uniquely staged with Jim Thompson's collection of Thai, Khmer, Burmese and Chinese antiquities. It's a peaceful oasis in Bangkok.  

The Mori Museum in Tokyo is Japan's preeminent venue for contemporary art. I'm looking forward to seeing their current exhibition of contemporary art from Southeast Asia entitled "Sunshower", about which I've heard rave reviews. In 2015 I was fortunate to attend the fantastic mid-career retrospective of the work byDinh Q. Lê of Vietnam entitled "Interweaving of History".  

The Jim Thompson House in Bangkok, Thailand
Image courtesy of Vexploretours


Name your favourite artwork on

I love the works by Apical Reform on The Artling; each of the works included in the Artling website are beautiful, innovative and seductive.  

"Betula" (2016) by Apical Reform. Birch ply bench, 12 mm. 90 x 110 x 94 cm 
Available on!


What is an exhibition you’ve recently seen that you enjoyed? 

There are several as evidence in my Instagram postings but Art Basel Hong Kong is a special treat each booth is an installation exhibition in itself. The gallerists are extremely knowledgeable docents. It's a terrific experience. 



How did you begin your collection and what inspired you to start collecting? 

Initially it was just to decorate the house that was more than 15 years ago.  Somewhere along the way it changed into a passion the provided so much enjoyment, intellectual stimulation and personal fulfilment. 


What are the trends in the Asian art world that you’ve noticed recently? 

A number of collectors of Asian artists are starting to look at a broader range of artists and media from Asia and beyond.  Previously collecting art implied paintings but now photography, sculpture, installation, video, print, new media are increasingly part of Asia-based collections. 

Collectors pursue their own unique strategy which can change or be revised. I'm finding the interaction of works from Asia with those from other parts of the world very exciting. 


Who are some new and exciting Asian artists that you’re interested in?

I am extremely excited by the work created by Asim Waqif, India. He's a young artist originally from Hyderabad but now based in Delhi.  He tends to be a curator's artist constructing enormous installations; who has had successful exhibitions in the Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane, 2015; a solo exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, 2012; amongst many others. I love his works that challenge photography as a two-dimensional medium and the activist streak that add a depth to the visual in his practice. 

"Zuk 1" (2012) by Asim Waqif in Mumbai
Image courtesy of the artist


I love the work of Hak Kim of Cambodia in particular his "Alive!" series exploring memories of Khmer Rouge survivors.  His work has been featured at art and photography festivals such as Auckland Festival of Photography, Photo Quai and Photo Saint Germain in Paris, Renaissance in Lille, World Event Young Artists in Nottingham, OFF_festival in Bratislava, Ballarat International Foto Biennale in Victoria, Photo Kathmandu, Singapore International Photography Festival, Photo Bangkok and ASEAN Eye Culture in Bangkok, International Multimedia Art in Yangon, Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap and Histories of the Future and Photo Phnom Penh in Phnom Penh.

Baby powder can (Guigoz, imported from Holland) and baby powder by Hak Kim. Part of his "Alive!" series. 

Image Courtesy of Hak Kim. 


Maria Taniguchi, the 2015 Hugo Boss Asia Art Award for Emerging Asian Artists at the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai. Her work is at the 8th Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art at Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Australia. Taniguchi’s brick paintings are a contemplative seductive series of works.  

"Untitled" (2014) by Maria Taniguchi. Acrylic, canvas, wood support, unframed, 228.6 x 114.3 cm
Image Courtesy of Maria Taniguchi


Utai Nopsiri of Thailand creates beautiful hand-made sculptural installations from teak. Some of his works explore volume or space; others have a strong Buddhist imagery. I see his works having a deference to the work of Montien Boonma.  

An Exhibition of works made of Teak by Utai Nopsiri. 

Image Courtesy of 100 Tonson Gallery 


Htein Lin of Myanmar had a compelling solo exhibition at Yavuz Gallery in Singapore in January. I'm intrigued by his work and and curious to explore more about the art scene in Myanmar which has not been a country with which I am familiar.  

"Monument To My Mother" (2015) by Htein Lin. Textile installation, dimensions variable.

Image Courtesy of Yavuz Gallery


What advice do you have for young people who are beginning to look into starting their own collection? 

Before you buy your first "serious" work, 

  • See as much art as you can;  
  • Read widely and in depth about artists, techniques, movements, etc. 
  • Learn - Ask questions of gallerists, artists, curatorial talks, etc. 
  • Trust your eye and your opinion. You will be living with the art not some advisor. 
  • Buy works take your breath away and that make you think 'Oh my God'. Choose works that grow, challenge and continue to engage. 
  • Forgive your mistakes. Every collector makes errors:  whether it's the work they should have bought, the one that they bought but really didn't love (maybe it was due to the third glass of wine at the opening!) or chasing after a 'name' rather than 'the work' that you love.  

Collecting is a bit like dating and marriage except you can love with many works and many artists! 



Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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