10 great artists at Art Stage Singapore 2014 – picture feast

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.

Heri Dono, 'Octopusation', 2012, acrylic on canvas, 160 x 200cm. Image courtesy the artist and Rossi and Rossi.

Heri Dono, ‘Octopusation’, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 160 x 200cm. Image courtesy the artist and Rossi & Rossi.

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.

Ashley Bickerton, '2CWE2 P.G.2TW', 2013, mixed media, 219 x 244cm. Image courtesy Gajah Gallery

Ashley Bickerton, ‘2CWE2 P.G.2TW’, 2013, mixed media, 219 x 244cm. Image courtesy Gajah Gallery.

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.

Paresh Maity, 'Wedding Bell', 2013, oil on canvas, 80" diameter. Image courtesy Gallery Sumukha.

Paresh Maity, ‘Wedding Bell’, 2013, oil on canvas. Image courtesy Gallery Sumukha.

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.

Tatsuo Miyajima, 'Life (Corps sans Organes) No. 19, 2013, LED installation, 329.2 x 161.4 x 161.8cm. Image courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery.

Tatsuo Miyajima, ‘Life (Corps sans Organes) No. 19’, 2013, LED installation, 329.2 x 161.4 x 161.8cm. Image courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery.

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.

Heri Dono, 'Riding a Scapegoat', 2013, fibreglass, electronic and mechanical devices, cable, automatic timer, 120 x 100 x 50cm. Image courtesy the artist and Rossi and Rossi.

Heri Dono, ‘Riding a Scapegoat’, 2013, fibreglass, electronic and mechanical devices, cable, automatic timer, 120 x 100 x 50cm. Image courtesy the artist and Rossi & Rossi.

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).

Ashley Bickerton, 'Mitochondrial Eve Silver 3', 2013, aluminium, 71 x 50 x 220cm. Image courtesy Gajah Gallery.

Ashley Bickerton, ‘Mitochondrial Eve Silver 3’, 2013, aluminium, 71 x 50 x 220cm. Image courtesy Gajah Gallery.

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.

Michael Chow aka Zhou Yinghua, 'Rose Garden II', 2013, mixed media: household paint with precious metals and trash, 243.84 x 182.88cm, framed. Image courtesy Pearl Lam Galleries.

Michael Chow aka Zhou Yinghua, ‘Rose Garden II’, 2013, mixed media: household paint with precious metals and trash, 243.84 x 182.88cm, framed. Image courtesy Pearl Lam Galleries.

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.

Jenny Holzer, 'Pearl's Truisms and Survival', 2013, horizontal LED sign. Image courtesy Pearl Lam Galleries.

Jenny Holzer, ‘Pearl’s Truisms and Survival’, 2013, horizontal LED sign. Image courtesy Pearl Lam Galleries.

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.

Pu Jie, 'Buddha Said No.0 佛说No.0', 2009, acrylic on canvas, 65 x 55cm. Image courtesy AP Contemporary.

Pu Jie, ‘Buddha Said No.0 佛说 No.0’, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 65 x 55 cm. Image courtesy AP Contemporary.

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.

Sherman Sam, 'The Sound of a Gentle Word', 2011, oil on panel, 26.5 x 17.3cm. Image courtesy Equator Art Projects.

Sherman Sam, ‘The Sound of a Gentle Word’, 2011, oil on panel, 26.5 x 17.3cm. Image courtesy Equator Art Projects.

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.

Nguyen The Dung, 'Music of Love', 2013, oil on canvas, 105 x 135cm. Image courtesy AP Contemporary.

Nguyen The Dung, ‘Music of Love’, 2013, oil on canvas, 105 x 135 cm. Image courtesy AP Contemporary.

Manit Kantasak, 'Milky Way', 2013, wood engraving and 194 jars, 310 x 170cm. Image courtesy Whitespace Gallery Bangkok.

Manit Kantasak, ‘Milky Way’, 2013, wood engraving and 194 jars, 310 x 170cm. Image courtesy Whitespace Gallery Bangkok.

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.

Kriti Bajaj

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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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