26/02/2024 4:47 AM


Adorn your Feelings

James lie Shares his Collection of Contemporary Works

3 min read


Making waves within the scene with his profound visual sense, young art collector James Lie shares with Stephanie Ip his dress sense, aesthetic and growing collection of contemporary works.

Initially, James Lie shopped for art to fill the walls at home, but this soon turned into a wholehearted passion that involved travelling the world to revel in old masterpieces and discover artists new. His profession might have nothing to do with the arts – Lie works for his family’s real-estate business – but the intersection of art and design deeply informs his collection.

Photography Alison Kwan

Read on below to find out more about collector James Lie’s art collection and aesthetic style.

Art by Daniel Sinsel
Art by Daniel Sinsel

How did you come to be interested in art and art collecting?

I’ve always been interested in mid-century modern architecture, and through architecture and design, I paid increasingly more attention to art.

Do you think the opening of M+ marks a new chapter for Hong Kong’s art scene?

Definitely. It’s Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture, a museum that’s comparable to the likes of MoMA, Tate Modern and the Pompidou. It has an unrivalled collection of collectible design and contemporary Chinese art.

What are you most excited about in the art world at the moment?

I’m most excited about going to Venice for the Biennale in April and Documenta in June.

James Lie
James Lie

Fashion, art and design are all interlinked in some ways. Can you tell us a bit about your own aesthetics in art and design?

My aesthetics are quite diverse. I appreciate Scandinavian design for its clean-cut, simple lines and craftsmanship. At the same time, I also appreciate contemporary design for its playful palettes. The same can be said about my preference for art. I love Dansaekhwa monochrome to hyper-realism. It’s about balancing and complimenting the two extremes.

My style is very simple. I’ve been going everywhere in athleisure wear. I’ll pair joggers by Vuori with an unstructured blazer by Sease.

Tell us about your style.

Comfort is key. A cotton and silk-blend T-shirt is my go-to.

You used to travel a lot to discover art pieces. Where were the best cities to go?

While cities like New York and London are great for museum and gallery visits, often I’d like to go somewhere off the beaten track to visit artist studios and foundations. Every year I’d choose a destination that I’d never been to. Last summer, I went to Taos in New Mexico to see the Agnes Martin room at the Harwood.

What do you look for when buying art pieces?

For established artists, I look at its historical context; for emerging artists, I look at its practice.

Paul Thek in Black t-shirt (1976)

Which are your favourite movements in art and why?

If I had to pick one that I’m fascinated by, it would have to be the Hi-Red Center, an anti-establishment art collective that questioned the centralised authority in Japan. Although the group only existed for a year, their performance work Cleaning Event is still being talked about today.

Which artists speak to you the most?

Robert Gober and Robert Mapplethorpe. I love a touch of melancholy.

What are your favourite pieces at home and what do they mean to you?

I love Paul Thek in Black T-Shirt, taken by Peter Hujar in 1976. The portrait is a highly emotional work that showcases an unwavering bond between the two during the Aids epidemic. Both artists subsequently died within a few years of one another at the peak of the epidemic.


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