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Chinese Whispers Contemporary Chinese art makes a noise in Bern

Significant works of art from the collection of Uli Sigg, the former Swiss ambassador to China, will be on display in a joint exhibition by Kunstmuseum Bern and the Paul Klee Centre in Bern from February 19 until June 19.

“Chinese Whispers”, which will feature some 150 works, provides an opportunity to explore the vastness of China through the eyes of Chinese artists, from Ai Weiwei to Zhuang Hui, and gain an insight into the Chinese art scene of the past 15 years.

The exhibitions will document the ways in which Chinese artists have carved out their positions between east and west, between tradition and progress. It will also reflect their attempts to bridge the gaps and to define their own identities in a global art system. 

The works on display express the impact of recent sweeping changes on China’s urbanism, use of resources, criticism of the political system and the documentation of its most recent history as well as personal introspection.

In the late 1970s, Uli Sigg – a Swiss business journalist, entrepreneur, former ambassador to China (1995-1998) and art collector – became interested in contemporary Chinese art and was its first systematic collector. Boasting more than 2,200 works by some 350 artists and representing various genres across 40 years of Chinese art history, Sigg’s collection of contemporary Chinese art is considered the largest in the world.

(Text: Thomas Stephens/

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