Dayu Yang

Dayu and my husband Giorgio have been friends since they were both living in Scandinavia. Now we are in Beijing and Dayu is living and working in Bangkok (I actually was there a couple of weeks ago and met him for pizza – read more here) but they are still very close. Every time he comes back, we meet to eat delicious food and to catch up.


This time I booked Dayu’s time in advance and we agreed I would interview him about his passion for art, how it started, where it is bringing him.


How did you discover your interest for art? 

I think it has always been in me, since I was a child. Even at primary school, I would follow those painting workshops and loved them. Then of course my life took another direction, I went abroad to study at college at then started working first in Europe, then in US, than I came back to China. But the art passion was inside me: no matter where I were, I kept reading and studying.

Yu Aijun, Play Fire No. 4, Mixed Media and Ink on paper, 37x26cm 2011

What was the first artwork you purchased? 

One day, my mentor Wang Xinyou called me in a room and showed me a painting of a lonely woman standing at the bank of a lake (see the picture here below for reference). When staring at it, something inside me changed, I felt I had to own that painting. Back then, I had just come back from Europe and I felt very isolated in Beijing; this is why I felt connected to that lonely woman. I had to buy it and until now I never get tired of looking at it. Since then, I haven’t been collecting simply paintings, but rather the emotions that those paintings aroused inside me.

Wu Haizhou, Bench, Acrylic on Paperboard  64x84cm 2010

Tell me more about Wang Xinyou. Why is a mentor so important?

The mentor is an essential figure in every collector’s life. He gives me advices about what to buy and which artist to follow, but at the same time he lets me express myself. But there is much more than this. Very often we discuss about other aspects of our lives, and he understands me deeply. I feel I can trust him 100%.


In 2006 he founded Pifo, an art gallery in 798, the most vibrant art district in Beijing. His gallery is dedicated to discovering and training new artists, including young artists who have been neglected by the traditional market. This is the place where I keep my pieces.


Also, Wang has a great collection of books from everywhere in the world. This is how curious he is about every form of art, from jewellery to food to photography.


Is there a theme in your collection? 

I collect only pieces by young Chinese artists. This way it’s easier for me to relate to them, as we share the same cultural background, we are living in the same social era.


How important is it for you to meet the artist who created the artwork?

I normally do my homework before buying a piece: a read a lot about the artist and try and go to the opening of their exhibitions. If I get a good feeling, and if I’m interested in buying the art piece, I try and meet the artist in person. Only this gives me the ‘go-ahead’. Very often it happens that is the artists themselves who want to meet the buyer; so the need of knowing more goes both ways.


Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopefully I will be managing my own art gallery, I will have art pieces around all the time – I’m sure it will be tiring and stressing, but at least I’ll be following my passion, and living it completely!


The chat with Dayu was really nice, and it was a pleasure to see the passion shine in his eyes while he was talking about art. I hope I was able to translate his passion into words, so that you readers can share it as well with us!


Conosco Dayu da molto tempo: lui e’ uno dei migliori amici di Giorgio, e ci ha aiutati a scoprire le bellezze (e soprattutto le delizie) di Pechino quando ci siamo trasferiti qui. L’ho incontrato in una soleggiata giornata invernale e mi ha raccontato di come sia nata la sua passione per il collezionismo di pezzi d’arte, di come ancora si impressioni quando guarda la prima opera che ha acquistato tanti anni fa, e di tutti i suoi progetti futuri.


For the chat with Dayu I was delighted to wear:

Camel coat: Max Mara

Leather gloves & cachemire hat and scarf: Capua (Rome, via di Campo Marzio 32/33)

Bag: Alexander Wang 

Sunglasses: Dior

Silk shirt: Max Mara

Velvet shorts: Zara

Boots: Stuart Weitzman 5050

Earrings: designed for me by Gianni Martinis

Feel love ring: Carmen Chan

Nail color: Chanel Le Vernis 445 lotus rouge


Pictures were taken with my white Sony NEX-5T.

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