Art world sensation Ai Weiwei credits him with launching his international career. Renowned pianist Lang Lang describes him as a mentor to Chinese artists. Chinese art curator Victoria Lu says his influence has been felt around the world. But when Swiss businessman Uli Sigg first went to China, art was far from his mind. It was 1979, and Sigg was negotiating one of the first joint ventures between the Chinese government Western company on behalf Schindler, a firm that made escalator and elevators. But when he wanted to better understand Chinese culture and the changes it was undergoing, he sought out contemporary artists—changing his life, theirs, and the international art scene in the process.
The Chinese Lives of Uli Sigg is a history of China’s opening to the West, and of the West’s embrace of Chinese contemporary art, through the eyes of Sigg and the dazzling array of contemporary Chinese artists whose work he he championed. Artists including Ai Weiwei, Cao Chong’en, Cao Fei, Gang Lijun, Feng Mengbo, Shao Fan, Wang Guangyi and Zeng Fanzhi are interviewed along with curators, diplomats, architects and business colleagues in this colorful documentary survey of contemporary Chinese art.
Event artwork includes use of a photograph of 'portrait of Uli Sigg by Zeng Fanshi, provided courtesy of Icarus Films