ART HK versus Art Stage Singapore: ART HK 11 dealers debate Asia’s top fair

ASIAN ART FAIRS INTERNATIONAL ART GALLERIES

While at ART HK 11, Art Radar asked a number of galleries at the fair two questions: Did you attend the inaugural Art Stage Singapore in 2011? How do you compare your experience of this first edition of Art Stage Singapore to that of ART HK 11?

Tokyo Gallery+BTAP showed Miki Taira at ART HK 11. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

Tokyo Gallery+BTAP showed Miki Taira at ART HK 11. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

In 2011, two art fairs have been battling it out for the title of top Asian show, now-Basel-owned ART HK, which started in 2008, and the fledgling Art Stage Singapore, founded in 2011. Will ART HK move into the international arena while Art Stage Singapore sticks to a focus on local Asian galleries and art?

Many of the galleries we talked to at ART HK, both internationally and Asian-based, felt this to be the case, with one Hong Kong gallery going so far as to say that the Singaporean market is not suitable for Hong Kong art. A number of the galleries from Europe and America were attending a fair in Asia for the first time, and when faced with a choice between Art Stage Singapore and ART HK, ART HK was seen as the better option with regard to audience and collector base.

Douglas Young‘s 'The Red Lantern Banquet' (interior view) was shown at ART HK 11 by Hong Kong's Para/Site Art Space. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

Douglas Young‘s 'The Red Lantern Banquet' (interior view) was shown at ART HK 11 by Hong Kong's Para/Site Art Space. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

Scroll on to read for yourself what the galleries had to say…

We visited [Art Stage Singapore] but … we didn’t exhibit. We’ll probably exhibit next year [2012]. … I think the Singapore fair was great. There were nice wide aisles (01:33); it’s obviously a lot smaller [than ART HK]. I think that it was well supported by institutions in Singapore. But I certainly think that Hong Kong is a more exciting fair [with] bigger ‘heavy weight’ galleries.

The Cat Street Gallery (Hong Kong)

We researched in terms of choosing an Asian fair [to attend] and Hong Kong seemed to be the most practical and also the most interesting fair. We were interested in coming to Asia but specifically we chose to come to Hong Kong.

ROKEBY (London)

I read a report about … Art Stage … and I heard that it was quite successful, but I think Hong Kong has its advantages. As you know, this is only the first year that [Art Stage] Singapore has been open. This is now the fifth or sixth edition of the Hong Kong art fair and also Art Basel has recently bought it [ART HK], so hopefully things will only improve from here. I think traditionally Hong Kong has always been a more established international art hub than Singapore and we think that that’s the advantage that Hong Kong has.

Plum Blossoms Gallery (Hong Kong)

No, [we didn’t participate in Art Stage Singapore.] The gallery is young, it’s just two and a half years old and we do a lot of art fairs. We’ve just come back from Dubai and also from New York. We can’t [go to] every fair. It’s important for us to have a presence in Asia so we had to choose one and we decided to come back to Hong Kong.

Pilar Corrias Gallery (London)

Chen Longbin, 'Book Face (Plum Blossoms)' (side view), 2011, mixed media sculpture with plywood and Plum Blossoms Gallery exhibition catalogues, 110 cm x 76 cm x 80 cm. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

Chen Longbin, 'Book Face (Plum Blossoms)' (side view), 2011, mixed media sculpture with plywood and Plum Blossoms Gallery exhibition catalogues, 110 cm x 76 cm x 80 cm. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

We feel that this fair [ART HK] is a great opportunity and Singapore isn’t really something of interest at this moment.

Leo Castelli Gallery (New York)

No, [we didn’t participate in Art Stage Singapore]. We are considering it but we already participate [in] quite a lot of international fairs.

Kukje Gallery (Seoul)

We didn’t join [Art Stage] Singapore. The Singaporean market is not suitable for Hong Kong artists.

Grotto Fine Art (Hong Kong)

[We didn’t participate in Art Stage Singapore]. I think for us, we’re based in London, fairs are expensive, both in terms of money, but also time and energy, and in terms of doing something in this part of the world, you know, we’re a young arts organisation and for us to be able to do two art fairs close to each other is very difficult.

Green Cardamom (London)

We joined it [Art State Singapore]. If we talk about internationalisation, this fair [ART HK] is more international. As for Singapore, it emphasises Asian art. The positioning of the two is a bit different. Hong Kong art fair is international because it includes works from not only Asia but all over the world. That’s why the Singapore art fair [Art Stage Singapore] showed more Asian galleries while this fair includes [more] European and American galleries. Many large European and American galleries now come to Hong Kong.

Gallery Grand Siecle (Taipei)

Work by Liu Zhuoquan was shown by China Art Projects in the ASIA ONE section of ART HK 11. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

Work by Liu Zhuoquan was shown by China Art Projects in the ASIA ONE section of ART HK 11. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

Yes, we did [attend Art Stage Singapore]. I think after two, three years it’s now clear that it’s really Hong Kong that is the hub between Asia and Europe, and I think, of the three cities, Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong, Hong Kong is the most important art city now.

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (Paris / Salzburg)

No, [we didn’t attend Art Stage Singapore]. This [ART HK] is the only fair we do in Asia. We know about [Art Stage Singapore], but we can’t go to every fair so we had to make a choice.

Van de Weghe Fine Art (New York)

Yes, I went to Art Stage. This [ART HK] is more international and Art Stage is more local with many Indonesian and Chinese galleries. I think 80% of the galleries at Art Stage Singapore were from the Asian countries so may be if Art Stage can find their own market for Asian art they can survive. This fair [ART HK] will be catering to the international art market.

Nanzuka Underground (Tokyo)

This is the first time we are taking part in any fair in Asia, so I think we’re going to see how this goes and maybe keep on coming here for another three years and then maybe decide to expand from that.

Galerie Bruno Bischofberger (Zurich / Moritz)

Yes, [we attended Art Stage]. I think, with the way that this fair [ART HK] is progressing, that the fairs are very complimentary. I’m very happy to have two top quality art fairs in Asia [to attend].

F2 Gallery (Beijing) and Fabien Fryns Fine Art (Los Angeles)

Ufan Lee, 'With Winds', 1991, oil on canvas, 226.1 x 181.9 cm. Shown at ART HK 11 by Kukje Gallery  (Korea). Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

Ufan Lee, 'With Winds', 1991, oil on canvas, 226.1 x 181.9 cm. Shown at ART HK 11 by Kukje Gallery (Korea). Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

Readers, did you attend ART HK 11, Art Stage Singapore 2011 or both? What did you think? Do you agree with the opinions expressed above? We’re interested to hear from more art dealers or fair attendees, so share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

KN/HH

Related Topics: art fairs, Hong Kong art events, market watch – galleries and globalisation

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