|The Asia Art Archive has been collecting material related to contemporary Asian art since its inception in 2000 and currently holds one of the most comprehensive collections of material in the field, with over 20,000 titles accessible to the public free of charge, via the physical space, and searchable from the online catalogue.
Collection Scope and Development
While AAA is trying to build as comprehensive a collection as possible, the archive acknowledges that the scale and complexity of contemporary Asian art is beyond one archive’s capability and encourages the establishment of archives throughout the region, as well as working closely with existing ones.
Our definition of ‘Asia’ and ‘Asian art’ is not restrained to geographical location and includes artists of Asian descent living around the world, as well as artists of non-Asian descent living in Asia.
To date, the majority of our catalogued holdings relate to material on contemporary art from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Over the last three years, however, we have allocated resources to build the collection for Southeast Asia and from 2007 we have expanded our focus to South Asia.
As a library and an archive, we collect both primary and secondary source material. Currently, we classify our material into the following major categories: exhibition catalogues, monographs, reference books, periodicals, audio-visuals, AAA files, invitation cards, leaflets and clippings.
One of our main goals is to build up raw and primary source material so as to encourage new research in the field. This is achieved through projects initiated by the Research+ Department, and the donation of collections by individuals (see Collection Highlights).
AAA is currently looking to increase accessibility to its collections by building an image database to manage the large amount of images in our collection, and by digitizing highlights in the collection.
Material is acquired from various channels and includes donations and purchases from museums, galleries, bookshops and individuals. AAA researchers based in cities across Asia, including Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul, Manila, Bangkok, Tokyo, Lahore and New Delhi, collect material in their respective countries, which is then sent back to Hong Kong for cataloguing. By actively travelling to document events as they happen, and subscribing to the latest periodicals, the AAA collection is kept up to date.
The online catalogue can be searched in multiple ways, including individual’s name, media type, title, keyword, year, language, country of publication, publisher/organizer, and ISBN.
Search results are presented by their media type (monographs, exhibition catalogues, etc.), but can also be viewed in one list.
While the online catalogue is predominantly in English, we try and include names of individuals in their original language where possible (Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Thai). Titles, keywords and abstracts for material originally in Chinese can be searched using traditional Chinese script and plans are underway to develop additional sections of the website in Chinese.
For international exhibition catalogues whose focus goes beyond Asia, or general art books, we enter only artist, chapter heading and curator details that relate to contemporary Asian art.
We highly recommend reading the search tips before beginning your search.
Services and Facilities
The AAA provides a comfortable and relaxed environment, designed by K Plus K, from which to study or leisurely browse the collection. Equipped with computers for public use, one can access our online catalogue, browse the internet or work on a document. An audio-visual booth allows users to watch videos or DVDs in a quiet environment.
A self-help photocopy service is available and we offer a range of publications for sale. The AAA team is on hand to answer any questions you may have.
We also welcome email enquiries or recommendations for publications that can’t be found in the collection.