Southeast Asian art stole the spotlight at the 2014 edition of the Singapore fair.
The fourth edition of Art Stage Singapore took place between 16-19 January 2014, boasting a line-up of over a hundred galleries, the majority of which were from Asia-Pacific, and a new format that aimed to build bridges across the region.
A matchmaking and networking platform
Art Stage Singapore has established a reputation as an art fair with an international status and strong Asian focus, according to the fair’s website. During the fourth edition of the event, Singapore, sometimes hailed as Asia’s new art capital, hosted galleries, buyers and collectors from across the world for five days.
As in previous years, the fair maintained an approximate ratio of three to one Asian to western galleries, with an increasing number of young artists represented. Aiming to capitalise on the shift in interest toward Asian, and particularly Southeast Asian art, the fair positioned itself as a global event through its support for and cooperation with galleries, artists and collectors in the region and beyond.
A new format
The 2014 edition of Art Stage Singapore saw the introduction of a new format in the form of eight platforms representing specific countries or regions. The platforms, totalling approximately 20 percent of the exhibition space, were curated sales exhibitions featuring work by emerging as well as established artists, and presented in a museum-like layout that was non-segregated. The regions represented were:
The Southeast Asian platform was the largest, highlighting works by 36 artists from Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia and Cambodia. Fair Director Lorenzo Rudolf told Muse that the new format would be particularly advantageous to younger and smaller galleries from regions that were not established enough to have independent booths.
Ten artists who made an impression
Renowned artist Paresh Maity of India was invited to exhibit his work for a fourth consecutive year. He is the only Indian artist to have a solo show at the fair. Represented by Bangalore’s Gallery Sumukha, Maity’s show consisted of five large but minimalistic oil paintings in strong colours, and an installation.
Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima‘s sculptural works were represented by Lisson Gallery in the Japan platform. One of Japan’s foremost installation artists, Miyajima’s works are technological and employ gadgets such as LED counters, electric circuits, video and computers, symbolising the journey from life to death.
Acclaimed Indonesian artist Heri Dono’s paintings and sculptures were presented by Rossi and Rossi in a solo show. Dono’s work often portrays whimsical characters in absurd, fantastical situations and draws influence from a variety of sources such as manga, comics, reverse glass painting (lukisan kaca) and Javanese shadow puppetry (wayang).
British-born Ashley Bickerton, who moved to Bali in 1993 where he currently lives and works, is represented by Gajah Gallery. His sculpture Mitochondrial Eve Silver 3 was displayed in Asia for the first time, in addition to his first oil and acrylic painting which made its world debut at Art Stage 2014. These works mark a departure from Bickerton’s early work, critically exploring the “Mitochondrial Eve”, which is a gene recently discovered that is passed on only from mother to daughter.
Restaurateur Zhou Yinghua (Michael Chow) of China, who has returned to painting after 50 years and exhibited his first solo show at Hong Kong’s Pearl Lam Galleries in January 2014, presented a series of mixed-media canvases that use precious metals, silver, gold, cellophane, egg whites and other materials.
Also represented by Pearl Lam Galleries was American artist Jenny Holzer’s LED Chinese text series. Holzer is a neo-conceptual artist based in New York, addressing the politics of discourse through the medium of public information systems and writing.
Chinese artist Pu Jie’s works portray the lives of city dwellers in the face of the constant, unprecedented and sometimes disconcerting growth of cities in China.
London-based Singaporean painter Sherman Sam made his Art Stage debut with the first solo presentation of his work in his hometown, Singapore, in fifteen years.
Young and emerging artists
Nguyen The Dung of Vietnam uses the motif of human beings with the heads of cows to represent both a respect towards animals in Vietnamese culture, as well as the herd mentality of modern living.
Thai artist Manit Kantasak’s installation Milky Way was a part of the Southeast Asia platform. Using dissected tree parts in specimen jars, Kantasak depicts our intrinsic connection to nature.
Related Topics: Chinese artists, Indonesian artists, Japanese artists, Indian artists, Singaporean artists, Thai artists, Vietnamese artists, art fairs, picture feasts, connecting Asia to itself, events in Singapore
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- Singapore art scene booming? Gallerists give their opinions – June 2013 – three gallerists discuss Singapore’s art scene, comparing it to another prominent Asian art hub: Hong Kong
- Art Stage Singapore 2013 a success? What galleries, collectors told Art Radar – January 2013 – Art Radar asks visitors to the fair whether it has a future
- ART HK versus Art Stage Singapore: ART HK 11 dealers debate Asia’s top fair – June 2011 – Art Radar asks galleries to compare their experiences at the two competing fairs
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