Helen Ho

Collection manager, writer and art consultant London, UK
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Helen Ho

Helen is a contemporary art specialist, with a focus on the Asian art market. In 2010, she joined dslcollection, one of the most prominent private collections of Chinese contemporary art in Europe, and is the author of the dslbook. 

Helen has also acted as consultant to galleries, art fairs and auction houses in UK, Europe and Asia, in addition to having published a number of articles and dissertations on art valuation and market trend analysis, as well as on Chinese contemporary art. 

A former specialist consultant to Bonhams London and Paddle8, Helen now operates as an independent researcher and adviser, collaborating with international collectors and institutions on major assignments including touring exhibitions, collection management, as well as general acquisition and sale of artworks.

Q&A

If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which would it be and why?

It’d be “100 years in 1 minute”, a video and sound installation spanning across 300 square metres by Hu Jieming, one of China’s pioneers in digital media and video installation art. http://www.dslbook.com/dslbook/#344 

Comprising 1,100 videos playing randomly on a one-minute loop and displayed in thousands of storage cubicles, each video is an animated deconstruction of iconic works throughout the history of Western art, such as Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, and Warhol’s Marilyn. 

The artist has basically compressed 100 years of art history into 1,100 artworks, while simultaneously decontextualizing the objects from space and time. The installation’s audio component, broadcast from 120 loudspeakers, consists of 30 pre-recorded sounds as well as a live soundtrack that is instantly replayed through omnidirectional microphones. 

The result is that you feel completely overwhelmed and immersed in this wild, noisy, almost psychedelic web of images. It is a truly mesmerising experience!

How will museums impact future cities?

I see museums as “sanctuaries” in the crazy world that we live in. They represent and present our cultural heritage, and have the unique ability to bring together people from all walks of life. Moving forward, I think museums would be crucial in promoting better understanding between different cultures and acknowledging everyone’s place in the global economy. With travelling exhibitions and online programmes, museums could serve as ambassadors of their own nations and encourage global education.

What are your favourite emerging cultural cities and / or organisations in the world and why?

I’m really excited to see how the art scenes in Asia continue to develop. A lot has been said about the Chinese art market but we can’t forget about the neighbouring countries such as South Korea and Indonesia. 

Today, Seoul is among the most vibrant and innovative cities in the world and its unusual fusion of influences from traditional Buddhist art to pop culture and anime has really shaped the new generation of artists. Artists to watch include Jeongmoon Choi, Sung Chul Hong, Do Ho Suh, just to name a few. 

Jakarta has its fair share of private museums, but in November this year we saw the opening of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum MACAN), Indonesia’s very first international museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art. The 800+ artworks in the museum come from the private collection of Haryanto Adikoesoemo, and what sets his collection apart from other Indonesian arts patrons is its diversity – roughly half of the artworks come from the West and other Asian countries. 

Personally I am particularly fond of Hong Kong and its art scene is slowly taking shape, with improved infrastructure and a growing number of local artists. M+ (scheduled to open in 2019) is a 40,000 square metre “Museum of Visual Culture”, which is set to rival the likes of Tate Modern or MOMA. What makes 

this even more exciting is the M+ Sigg Collection, which consists of over 1,500 of the most important artworks in the history of Chinese contemporary art. The collection is especially valuable as a historical “testament” of one of the most culturally dynamic periods in modern Chinese history.

Who do you think are the cultural innovators of tomorrow and why?

Technology has advanced exponentially over the past 20 years and the digital world has added multiple layers of experiences to the way we consume art and culture today. The prevalence of virtual reality in the art world is proving to be a game changer. Just 5 years ago, the ability to virtually access a major museum’s collection from halfway across the world was unheard of! I feel that we’re only at the beginning of this new revolution and things will change that much faster from now on. The cultural innovators of tomorrow are the ones who embrace this revolution and create memorable experiences.

What are you up to at the moment and where can we find it? (Please include a link(s) if possible).

I’ve just finished a charity auction event here in London and will be focusing on dslcollection’s VR project. We will have lots of exciting exhibitions and events in 2018. Watch this space: http://www.dslbook.com/dslbook/ www.dslcollection.org