Feature: Art Stage Singapore going “in right direction”: founder


by Chen Jipeng
SINGAPORE, Jan. 15 — Art Stage Singapore, a fair featuring the contemporary art of the Asia Pacific region, is close to being established as a leading event.
The art fair kicks off on Thursday and will run for four days through the weekend, featuring 158 galleries with 75 percent of them returning to the fair.
This is “normal” for art fairs and shows that it is “going in the right direction,” Lorenzo Rudolf, founder and director of the fair, told a press conference on Wednesday.
Art Stage Singapore was first organized in 2011 as part of Singapore’s effort in recent years to grow itself as the market place for art in the region. Other efforts included the creation of the Singapore Biennale, which also features mainly contemporary art, and the opening of a number of top museums in the city.
Art Stage Singapore launched a new initiative this year by inviting leading curators to put together shows for eight platforms that best represent the art scenes of different countries and regions in the Asia Pacific.
The platforms, which put Asian contemporary art in context with its museum-like exhibition layout, showcase a total of 70 projects from Southeast Asia, Australia, Central Asia, India, Japan, South Korea, as well as China and its province of Taiwan.
They are reminiscent of Art Unlimited, a platform introduced by Art Basel of Switzerland when Rudolf was involved as an organizer. The platform contributed to the huge success of the fair.
Pavel Pichugin, marketing manager of Hong Kong-based gallery AP Contemporary, which came to the fair for a second year, said Art Stage Singapore is “quite established” from a gallery’s point of view.
“They are trying to reach, I would say, the first rate status. They are probably not quite there yet, because I would not say it is of the same size as Basel, but they are going there,” he said.
Pichugin said his gallery operates from Hong Kong as its base but is also participating in events elsewhere.
The growing influence of the fair is reflected in the number of internationally renowned galleries that participate, too. Collectors are coming, especially for Southeast Asian contemporary art, he added.
However, Singapore has still some efforts to make to catch up with leading market centers of art, like simplifying the procedures to make it easier to manage transactions, a participant said.
The Chinese platform features ten artists invited by internationally renowned curator Huang Du. They include established artists such as Yang Fudong and Qiu Zhijie, as well as emerging artists such as Huang Jingyuan, Yuan Yuan, Zhang Xuerui, Chen Wei and Liao Fei. They make use of different media of art, such as painting, photography, video, sculpture and installation.
The art scenes in China underwent dramatic changes over the past ten years or so, and artists are explosively creative and diverse, perhaps thanks to a new generation of artists coming on stage, Huang said.
“The organizers asked me to select ten representative artists. It is difficult to be truly representative. So what I could do is that I invited ten artists that encompass different generations of artists, different media and different themes, for example, works inspired by the daily life and one of those on the theme of the urban and the rural. There are politics, too,” he said.
“I think it reflects the diversity and pluralism of Chinese art and the life in China,” Huang added.
Huang also said that it is a great move for the Art Stage Singapore to introduce the country and region platforms.
“It is the trend to integrate the academic, represented by the museum-like layout, with the commercial side of the art fair,” he said.[db:内容2]