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Simon Chan is an individual of multifaceted talent and significant influence in the art community.
As the director of Art Atrium in Sydney, which he founded in 2009, he brings a wealth of experience to the table, not only as a gallery director but also as a seasoned architect and an art collector with over three decades of passionate engagement in the field.
Simon offered his Gallery, Art Atrium, in Sydney to host AIME’s first Puzzle event to open the IMAGI-NATION Art Fund. He was kind enough to sit down for a chat with us to talk about his motivation to be involved.
Simon on the value of art beyond commerce
“You don’t do everything just because you can make money. Of course, we’ve got to survive. But at the same time, it’s very good for your soul, for your spirit. A lot of art is actually a means for artists to express their opinion and thoughts in terms of political social issues as well. Sometimes the type of work artists do, may not be commercially popular among potential buyers. But, the work is significant in its own right in various ways, potentially both artistically as well as conceptually.”
On the relationship between galleries and artists
“For me again, when you talk about relations, I value the relationship between me and my artists a lot more than sales. It’s a long-term relationship. I want them to support each other by coming to each other’s openings and collaborating on works.”
Why he made a bid for Concrete Forest
“Ah Xian is one of those artists that is not represented by a gallery, I don’t know how he does it. He basically just represents himself. He won’t sell his work to anybody. He only sells work to people who are passionate collectors who are not buying his work and then offload it as soon as it goes up in value to make a profit. Concrete Forest is his message to the world that humans are destroying the environment. This is not a limited edition, it’s a one-off. So I thought, well, I’ll be the first off the mark. Hopefully that sets a good example for others to follow. And even if someone outbids me, that would be great. And I can buy something else.”
Simon also has special message to potential buyers in the auction of inspiration and encouragement.
“The IMAGI-NATION art fund is a “no-loss” proposition. Collectors gain the chance to own pieces by esteemed artists, which not only have intrinsic value but also the potential for appreciation. In a broader sense, they’re investing in the future—helping to underwrite an endeavour that seeks to cultivate connections capable of changing some of the broken systems in this world.”
Photography: Benjamin Knight