skip to Main Content

Art Collecting Strategies 

5 Ways to Start Your Own Asian Contemporary Art Collection

Takashi Murakami, Tan Tan Bo Puking - a.k.a. Gero Tan, 2002. Photograph by Chris Palomar
Takashi Murakami, Tan Tan Bo Puking - a.k.a. Gero Tan, 2002. Photograph by Chris Palomar

The rise of contemporary art collecting has become a cultural phenomenon. In recent years the global art market has attracted new collectors in droves, leading to record-breaking prices. Rapid economic growth in China over recent years has largely contributed to its presence in the global art market. This factor, alongside the United States and the United Kingdom broadening their collecting strategies, has solidified Asia’s influence on contemporary art and has proven that the strength of this category is here to stay.

Expressed in various styles, and ranging from the 1990s Political Pop movement in China, Takashi Murakami’s commercial practice, and Ai Weiwei’s more politically charged works, the term Asian contemporary art is a general category describing art produced since the 1980s in Central, East, and Southeast Asia.

In consideration of this growing category, YKLM Auctions staff have put together this collecting guide to assist you in discerning important works of Asian contemporary art.


The market for Asian art is no longer regionally focused, and Chinese collectors no longer buy works strictly by Chinese artists. Today, collectors choose to invest in works from a wide variety of regions or nationalities. Asian artists have also increased their presence on the international art scene in recent years, which has led to them enjoying greater attention from collectors all over the world.

The Vancouver-based photographer, Fang Tong, exemplifies this growing trend. She enjoys worldwide acclaim, having been published in both Canadian and foreign magazines including VOGUE. Her work has also won the first prize in the Nikon International Photography Competition of 2015.


Fang Tong, MARIONETTE #1 (2017), from the Marionette Series, available in various sizes

Fang Tong, MARIONETTE #1 (2017), from the Marionette Series, available in various sizes



Asian sculptors are constantly pushing the boundaries of their medium. Many artists in this category work conceptually and are often inspired by everyday materials and objects.

To learn more about this medium, visit exhibitions and attend gallery openings to familiarize yourself with the field and learn more about the growing potential of the medium.


Editions or multiples are a great place to start any collection. If there is an artist you particularly admire, purchasing a multiple is an accessible way to acquire a work by that artist.

Works on paper can enrich your understanding of an artist’s oeuvre, or creative process, while enhancing your appreciation of the medium.


Jihuan Long, 山花烂漫 (1981), Edition 5/50, 35 x 36.5 cm

Jihuan Long, 山花烂漫 (1981), Edition 5/50, 35 x 36.5 cm



Southeast Asia is composed of eleven countries, reaching from eastern India to southern China. Such a large region offers great cultural diversity, and the artistic expression originating there is making its impact on the globalized art market. Over recent years locally recognized artists have been able to exhibit their growing potential to wider audiences.

Southeast Asian art also tends to be more affordable, as it slowly gains recognition worldwide, making this a great entry point for new collectors of contemporary art from Asia.


Chinese and Western collectors alike are increasingly broadening their collecting strategies, moving slowly away from the more traditional genres and towards Asian contemporary. As the 2019 Art Market Report by The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) indicated in a survey of the top 20 Chinese collectors: they are most interested in collecting contemporary art in the next five years, with 70% of respondents choosing to focus on Asian contemporary art specifically.

While Asian, American, and European collectors have shown an increased interest in the market, a new wave of young Chinese connoisseurs-turned-collectors have emerged recently, defined as individuals in their mid to late 20s to 30s who enjoy travelling and collecting internationally.

The affordability of this market category is also a contributing factor, making this an ideal time to purchase works of Asian contemporary art. Discerning collectors are at the ready, so hop on board, go the extra mile and learn more about this growing market. We recommend attending gallery openings, speaking directly with artists and curators, visiting art fairs and exploring our upcoming Asian Contemporary Auction!


Visit our Online Store for a selection of artists working in various media. For a more personalized service, feel free to contact YKLM Auctions and speak to a member of our experienced staff.

Re-visit the YKLM Blog section to discover more Object Spotlights & Art Collecting Strategies.

To join our mailing list, please click here. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram.
Back To Top