Photo by Billy Chan.

James Lie is an art collector, currently based in Hong Kong, and is a new supporter of the Biennale of Sydney. He spent most of his life between China and Australia, and his frequent travels shape his worldly and dynamic perspective on contemporary art. 

Lie attributes his appreciation for contemporary art to his time in Sydney, Australia, observing modernist architecture. He specifically cites Harry Seidler’s Australia Square and Grosvenor Place projects, which include commissioned art by iconic contemporary artists, for prompting his passion for contemporary art. “When I was exposed to Seidler’s projects, notably the Sol LeWitt murals at Australia Square, and Frank Stella’s Cones and Pillars triptych at Grosvenor Place, is when I started paying attention to architecture and art, the Austrian-Australian architect was a master of incorporating art into design. Through extensive research into Seidler’s design principles and practice, I learned that he was not only influenced by other mid-century architects but also artists from his days at Black Mountain College. I started seeing the interwoven relationship between the two and how they not only visually complement each other but also serve a social purpose, which subsequently opened my eyes to contemporary art…” 

He has visited two editions of the Biennale, but Ten Thousand Suns will be Lie’s first edition in supporting the Biennale. He has been a longstanding supporter of Cosmin Costinaş, co-Artistic Director of the 24th Biennale, during Cosmin’s time as the Executive Director of Para Site in Hong Kong. “It’s a special year for the Biennale because it’s a crossover between the masterminds of both cities [Hong Kong and Sydney] and I think I’m obliged to support this edition because of the trusting relationship through the years.” Not only does Lie look forward to seeing the curatorial vision of Cosmin and Inti come into fruition, but he is also looking forward to seeing the works by artists duo Petrit Halilaj & Alvaro Urbano, Candice Lin and Nadia Taquary at the Biennale.  

As a supporter of the Biennale, Lie champions contemporary art as a “bridge for international diplomatic relations, cultural dialogue and international awareness of Australian art”. As a supporter of the Biennale, he believes that the Biennale of Sydney solidifies the art position of the region amongst the world as one of the “largest and longest running contemporary art events in the Asia Pacific Region”. In his words, the Biennale “brings in audiences from overseas for a chance to establish Sydney as a global art city to showcase artworks by Indigenous, local, and international artists.”