Budi Tek made it very clear that his new private museum in Shanghai is for nothing but art.
The Chinese-Indonesian has been an important collector of contemporary Chinese art for more than 10 years. In May, his Yuz Museum-housed in a renovated airplane factory-will open to the public in Shanghai.
"I have no business projects in China," he told the media after a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the reconstruction works on Jan 8.
"Yuz Museum is not related to any real estate development or anything else. We are here independently, purely for art."
Tek, 56, is the president director of Sierad Produce, a leading poultry company listed on the Jakarta stock exchange. His private Yuz Museum opened in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2008.
The new Yuz Museum in Shanghai sits on the west side of Huangpu River. The renovation of the building was designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, who is famous for building permeable enclosures in minimalistic structures.
Yuz Museum is one of the projects of Xuhui Waterfront, which stretches 8.4 kilometers along the west bank of the Huangpu River. Neighboring Tek's museum is the new building of Long Museum, also a private establishment, owned by Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei.
The main exhibition hall of Yuz Museum used to be an old aircraft hangar. The 3,000-square-meter space and 10-meter high roof is suitable to display the large installation works among Tek's collections, which includes an installation made with the frame structures of real planes by Adel Abdessemed, a conceptual artist based in Paris.
Tek declined to talk about the huge amount of money he invested in collecting art and building the museums. One of his big purchases was in 2010, when he paid $6.7 million for an early-period painting by Zhang Xiaogang depicting a yellow baby, titled Chapter of a New Century-Birth of the People's Republic of China II.
"It is a very very important piece. Maybe it will be one of the most important in a few decades when people write the art history of our time," he says.
"A collector will tremble in front of a great artwork. I am a poor man for art."
While most of China's established private collectors are keen on classical Chinese art and established modern artists' work, Tek is particularly enthusiastic about contemporary art.
"They are about our age and deal with our contemporary issues," he says. "It has infinite subjects and expressions that break all boundaries. That is very exciting to me."
Chinese-Indonesian Budi Tek says his Yuz Museum in Shanghai is built on the same level as large private museums in the world, such as MoMA and Guggenheim.
His interest in art collection started about 10 years ago and in the past decade he has built a systematic collection of contemporary Chinese art, as well as some works by important foreign artists.
"I have to be careful now that people keep their eyes on me and what I buy," he says. Art + Auction ranked him among the top 10 most powerful figures in the art world in 2011, and Art Review ranked him 76th in the 2012 Power 100.
"I have to discipline myself and learn to pick good works. I cherish my reputation more than anything else," Tek says.
A third-generation Chinese emigrant in Indonesia, Tek says: "We are eager to make unconditional contributions to the homeland."
His ambition is to build the museum "to the same level as large private museums in the world, especially in terms of the operation system of the museum-such as MoMA and Guggenheim".
"In the future when I am gone, the museum may become a public facility-not owned by the government, but collectively run by a group of individuals," he says.
"What I want is to leave a good reputation for my children. I want them to be cultural elites and spiritual nobles, respected by people. I am Chinese, too."
Attending the celebration on Jan 8 was Zhang Peili, a new media artist and director of the OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, a museum under the OCT Group, a State-owned enterprise of tourism and real estate industries.
Compared to those run by enterprises, such as Minsheng Art Museum and Himalayas Museum, private museums of individual ownership are in particularly good prospect, he believes.
"These private establishments don't have to go through the complicated corporate system to build their collections," Zhang says. "The museum will develop rapidly if the owner has broad vision and is very committed to art."