Like so many artists, Dr Jie Li-Elbraechter has cultivated an air of mystery.
The Mysterious VIP Art Treasure Stewards Exhibit, an invitation-only exhibition she staged in a black-and-white Mount Pleasant bungalow in August, was attended by guests wearing masquerade masks. The exclusive art collector’s club she founded, whose members loaned works for display – such as Chen Wen Hsi’s Gibbons and a cabinet by Italian artist Mimmo Paladino – doesn’t have a name either.
But the Singapore-based Chinese-German does have a clear mission. She wants to spread the message that all collectors, not just museums or institutions, play a vital role in preserving art heritage, encouraging dialogue, and in sharing a love for art with the wider community.
An artist, curator and collector, Li-Elbraechter earned a PhD in art anthropology from China’s Fudan University and a Master in liberal arts from Germany’s Münster Academy of Art. Her work in “exploring works of art across various cultures” eventually brought her to Singapore, after years of organising exhibitions and arts exchanges in China and across Europe.
“Singapore has been great and I think it is a place with undiscovered talents, where there is a lot of potential for more collectors and artists around the world to congregate and share ideas,” she says in this interview with The Peak, during which the artist also gives us a glimpse into her oeuvre.