"This is my own corner. It’s one of my favourite places," Pearl Lam tells me. Certainly the view from the 49th floor over Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour is spectacular. It’s a grey day, though, and as I’d briefly waited for the gallerist and art collector at a secluded table in the luxurious Café Gray Deluxe, with its hushed breakfast clientele and its discreet muzak, I’d watched the angry early-morning clouds scudding past. As soon as she arrives, however, a birdlike five-foot figure in six-inch heels, there’s no time to gaze at the scenery. Somehow, we are straight into the serious stuff. I’d been the day before to the opening of the latest show at one of her five eponymous galleries — two in Hong Kong, two in Singapore, one in Shanghai. The gallery, in Hong Kong’s Pedder building, seems to encapsulate, with its flocking chic crowd, the meteoric rise of art in the region, which over the past decade has seen the Chinese market balloon into the world’s third-largest, with 19% of globa...

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