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Young at art

By Deng Zhangyu | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-20 07:44

Young at art

Ying Qinglan represents the new generation of the elite art-collection world in China. She is more open to sharing their ideas with the public and buying works from both home and abroad than her predecessors. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Part of a lifestyle

Tomson Group's vice-chairman Tong professes that his collection is a reflection of his passion and love for art. He tries to spend whatever spare time he has outside of work commitments in Shanghai visiting galleries, art fairs and museums throughout the country and abroad.

"If I'm on a business trip to cities like London and Paris, I'll definitely visit local art museums. In fact, I have been to these museums many times," says Tong. He has a private art space, C+, in the city's downtown area along the Huangpu River. It displays his collections and occasionally invites artists to hold shows.

Tong owns more than 200 pieces of art. They're mainly abstract works by artists born after the 1970s and include paintings, sculptures, installations and videos.

He explains that he loves to buy the works of artists who grew up in his era. He can find emotional links or similar experiences.

He recently bought an abstract painting from Beijing-based artist Qiu Xiaofei and Colombian artist Oscar Murillo.

Works by international artists account for nearly one-fifth of Tong's collection. They include such big names as Tracey Emin and Yves Klein.

Tong spent his teenage years in the United States and was educated in Boston. He once visited a show in high school, featuring Pablo Picasso's works painted during the Spanish master's Blue period when his pieces were rendered with the namesake color. The works had such an impact on Tong that his collections are largely related to the same hue.

Tong started to buy art in 2009, beginning with an oil painting by Chinese artist Zhou Chunya. He could not take his eyes off the painting when he first saw it.

"I buy art according to my instincts. Works must touch my heart and move me," says Tong.

His busy work schedule means he has had to cancel several flights he booked for Switzerland's Art Basel and other major art events outside China.

In May, Tong set up his Artcare company in Beijing to offer art-related services, such as insurance, transportation and storage facilities, as well as consultations and projects to cooperate with artists.

"It's like services for my own collection," Tong says jokingly.

The idea behind Artcare actually stemmed from his online and offline conversations with collector friends, who made him realize there was a demand for such services.

Tong loves to share his passion for art online. He often posts his visits to art exhibitions on his Sina Weibo micro blog, where he has about 330,000 followers.

"Art is a lifestyle. It's part of my life, and I'd like to share it with others," he says.

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