‘Catharsis’ & The Art Basel and UBS Survey of Global Collecting 2023 Findings

'Catharsis' & The Art Basel and UBS Survey of Global Collecting 2023 Findings

UBS, Lead Partner of West Bund Art & Design (9-12 November 2023), celebrates the 10th edition of Shanghai’s leading art fair with an immersive video work by Danish artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen in the UBS Lounge. Recently acquired by the UBS Art Collection, Catharsis (2020) transports viewers into a digitally reimagined old-growth forest to draw attention to our natural world, highlighting the importance of preserving and protecting our shared environment.

Concurrently, UBS shares key findings from the recently published The Art Basel and UBS Survey of Global Collecting 2023.

Authored by Dr Clare McAndrew, Founder of Arts Economics, the report revealed that high-net-worth collector spending on art remained strong in the first half of 2023, with more engagement in research-based collecting, as collectors remain optimistic about the art market in 2024.

Marina standing outside the UBS Lounge

Marina Lui (above), Head of Wealth Management China, UBS Global Wealth Management, said, “UBS is thrilled to continue our long-term support of West Bund Art & Design, returning for the fourth year as Lead Partner. Through our commitment to connecting art with people, we spark new ideas, inspiration, and perspectives.

We are proud to have published The Art Basel and UBS Survey of Global Collecting 2023 last week, with data on trade in early 2023 indicating that there continues to be a vibrant exchange of artworks. Fueled by substantial spending, especially from Mainland Chinese collectors, Asia sees a strong resurgence in art buying post-lockdown, surpassing Europe and the US in certain sectors.

While certain economic indicators point to potential slowdowns in the region, the appetite for art among Chinese and broadly Asian collectors remains steadfast, with a commitment to increased or sustained event attendance and plans to acquire artworks over the next 12 months.”

Two women watching the video artwork

Mary Rozell, Global Head of the UBS Art Collection, said, “UBS has a long history of supporting cultural endeavours across the world.

Committed to collecting the most relevant art of our time, Catharsis by Jakob Kudsk Steensen perfectly embodies the direction UBS has taken with its Collection and its larger social engagement over the last seven years: to highlight challenging perspectives and offer creative insights that address the developments affecting our society, including environmental, social, and technological movements.

We are thrilled to share this immersive work with audiences in Asia and provide a space for contemplation and wonderment.”

Kudsk Steensen calls attention to a myriad of details often overlooked in our environment, such as a forgotten bird, the soil beneath our feet, and trickling waters.

A still from the video artwork showing a stream flowing in a misty forest

Catharsis, a digital forest which has existed undisturbed for hundreds of years, free from human intervention and suffused with birdsong, reflects these unique elements in a continuous shot spanning watery underground roots to the forest’s canopy.

The work does not aim to recreate or replace nature but rather draws on the concept of ‘slow media,’ a philosophy and practice that uses digital technologies to spotlight the natural world, creating new narratives about our future environments.

Through highlighting perspectives that are beyond normal human perception, the artwork envelops senses and elicits emotional connectivity to our environment.

Key Findings from the The Art Basel and UBS Survey of Global Collecting 2023

UBS provides its clients with impartial insights into the art market through its research and publications, including The Art Basel and UBS Survey of Global Collecting 2023, co-published with Art Basel on 2 November 2023.

Conducted by Art Economics in collaboration with UBS, the survey provides insight into HNW collector behaviours from eleven key markets, including Brazil, Mainland China, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, UK and the USA. Key findings, with relevance to Asia Pacific, from the report include:

Increased cross-border trade in 2022 and early 2023: Imports of art and antiques across borders reached their highest-ever level of USD 30.7 billion in 2022, while exports were their second highest at USD 33.4 billion. While global imports across all industries were down in the first quarter of 2023, the value of inflows of art to key hubs continued to grow, including double-digit increases in Hong Kong SAR (50%), the UK (38%), and the US (15%).

Global imports: Hong Kong SAR has bolstered its position as a key trade hub in Asia, with its share of imports increased to 20% by value, its highest-ever level. Combined with Mainland China, the Chinese region accounted for 26% of the global imports by value.

The resurgence of in-person buying continued in 2023: 86% of HNW collectors purchased from a dealer, and of those, 84% bought in person from their gallery or premises (up from 73% in 2022).

HNW Collector Spending: Collectors from Mainland China reported a higher median expenditure on art and antiques in the first half of 2023 at $241,000 than in the whole of the previous year ($202,000), suggesting a strong return to spending from this region post-lockdown.

Mainland Chinese collectors also had the highest average expenditure on paintings in 2023, with an average of close to $400,000, nearly four times the overall average, and up by 20% in 2022.

Higher share of research-based collecting: When asked about their collecting behaviours and motivations, 44% of collectors identified themselves as “researcher”, engaging in significant amounts of research before acquiring works (up from 37% in 2021). There was a slight drop in “impulse buyers” (down by 3%).

Collector Motivations: When considering what specific works they might buy, collectors from Mainland China were among the most open to considering alternatives. 94% said they would consider alternative works by the artist they were interested in, and 28% reported that they would consider works by alternative artists, more than double the overall average.

This openness to discovery, along with higher-than-average spending, implies that Mainland Chinese collectors could be an increasingly important force in the international market in the coming years.

Purchasing plans: Some of the most active buying plans were reported by collectors from Mainland China, with 68% intending to purchase works in the coming year, along with large majorities in Japan, Brazil, and Italy.

Optimistic outlook: Looking ahead, 77% of HNW collectors surveyed around the world were optimistic about the art market’s performance over the next six months.

Despite the current challenges in the economy, when they were surveyed back in July and August, collectors from Mainland China had the highest share of collectors that were optimistic about the global art market in the next 12 months and in 10 years, reaching highs of 86% and 85% respectively.

Some of the most active buying plans were also reported by collectors from Mainland China, with 68% intending to purchase works in the coming year.

You can download the full report for free at www.ubs.com/collecting.

Read more art news and features here.

Marina and Jakob standing in front of the video artwork'Catharsis' & The Art Basel and UBS Survey of Global Collecting 2023 Findings 2

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