ArtMarketGuru Founder Frédéric de Senarclens on the South East Asian art market – interview

ArtMarketGuru’s founder Frédéric de Senarclens talks about his new research endeavour and the need for more region-specific art data.

ArtMarketGuru launches with South East Asian Market Intelligence Report. Art Radar talks to Frédéric de Senarclen about the report and its key findings.

Frederic de Senarclens. Image courtesy ArtMarketGuru.

Frederic de Senarclens. Image courtesy ArtMarketGuru.

ArtMarketGuru is a website that offers analysis and region specific research on the global art market. Founded in 2017 by Swiss art dealer Frédéric de Senarclens, ArtMarketGuru defines itself as an alternative source of art market research, analysis and statistics.

The first report released by ArtMarketGuru focuses on the Southeast Asian art market, a region the founder knows well (de Senarclens founded and ran Singapore’s Art Plural Gallery between 2011 and 2016, and in 2016 he founded ArtAndOnly, a platform for art collectors). The first release from ArtMarketGuru includes information on the sixty top South East Asian artists in whom to invest, as well as a comprehensive round up of the most important collectors in South East Asia. Art Radar talks to de Frédéric de Senarclens about ArtMarketGuru and the report’s key findings.

What motivated you to set up the ArtMarketGuru Project?

When you look for specific information, it is often difficult to find intelligence and comprehensive knowledge on certain regions. I therefore thought it would be interesting to set up a company that provides art market intelligence, launching ArtMarketGuru with the objective to focus on regional markets; our first reports focus being on Southeast Asia. After spending a number of years immersed in Southeast Asia’s art scene, we wanted to share our expertise and knowledge of the region with interested art lovers and collectors.

Installation view at "Transcontemporary" (solo exhibition by Egyptian artist Armen Agop) at Art Plural Gallery, Singapore, 2015. Image courtesy the artist and Art Plural Gallery.

Armen Agop, “Transcontemporary”, installation view at Art Plural Gallery, Singapore, 2015. Image courtesy the artist and Art Plural Gallery.

This is the first report to be released by ArtMarketGuru and it focuses specifically on the developing Southeast Asian art market. What are the main findings?

Eight years ago, a series of articles were published comparing the art markets in Hong Kong and Singapore. Singapore was taking the lead on many aspects, developing a Freeport, building museums, and inviting art dealers to establish themselves in the “Lion City”. My objective with this first ArtMarketGuru reports was to find out where the market stands now; where Singapore and its neighbouring countries are at the moment, and how has it developed, in order to try to identify where it might go. In the last eight years, the Southeast Asia markets have developed, with Indonesia and the Philippines really coming into their own on the art scene.

What findings particular impact your own field, as a collector and art business entrepreneur?

The report covers the sixty best artists, to collect and monitor as well as hints and tips as to what is likely to develop in future. These predictions are based on extensive knowledge gained through our experience and expertise. This content, more than any other, would likely guide my decisions as a collector.

I Nyoman Masriadi, 'Flag T-Shirt', 2014, Acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy the artist.

I Nyoman Masriadi, ‘Flag T-Shirt’, 2014, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy the artist.

Could you tell us about the process of research and how the information is verified?

Jane Peterson is the author of this particular report, and she interviewed artists, art dealers, collectors, auctioneers and other key market players. She verified every bit of information. Being an outsider to the art world, she looked at it all with a very genuine eye; as a journalist she chased after the facts, excluding comments that were irrelevant and cutting to the core. Also, being neutral she could say things that other art critics and consultants would not. The fact that it’s a journalist approaching the research makes it all the more engaging and direct.

The art market report is rising in demand. Since the mid-2000s various institutions have begun to publish market watch reports and they have been published and widely read. How do you explain the increasing need to understand the economics of the art market? Is there an intensifying relationship between finance and art, investment and collecting?

It’s true that there is an increased demand for art market reports as people are more inclined to understand the market they are working within, and in which they are choosing to invest. There are many scandals and complications within the art world that you need guidance to know where you are going and how to navigate through that world.

The sheer amount of information readily available online and in print about the art world means that it can be impossible to know where to begin without drowning in it all. There’s so much that you almost end up with nothing, with no specific information focusing in on an area. The purpose of ArtMarketGuru is to provide reports for people who want a good introduction to a sector or market before they invest.

What does Art Market Guru reporting style offer that your competitors who also offer information on emerging markets, do not?

ArtMarketGuru aims to look beyond the surface, remaining holistic yet with a specific regional focus. Combined with the instinctual knowledge gained as someone internationally immersed in the art world, this report provides expert tips and specific artists to watch. The objective is to produce more reports, always with a regional focus, always having an approach that looks beyond the surface.

Nan Qi, 'Dot', 2011, print edition of 50. Image courtesy the artist and Art Plural Gallery.

Nan Qi, ‘Dot’, 2011, print edition of 50. Image courtesy the artist and Art Plural Gallery.

Unlike the UBS and Art Basel or the TEFAF Art Market Report, the ArtMarketGuru report is accessed via a fee. Could you talk about your decision to make this a fee paying report?

ArtMarketGuru provides a unique point of view and specific knowledge of the art market with our reports, while UBS normally give a more general overview. We’ve already had a great review from someone who read both the most recent Art Basel report and the ArtMarketGuru report saying that ‘this provides a very tangible list of artists and useable data that can be directly utilised’. Rather than just providing an overview and having ambiguous data, ArtMarketGuru can directly impact a collector’s decisions, as well as confirm the validity of a collector’s investments.

Your upcoming reports will focus on areas such as Hong Kong, Africa and the Middle-East. What do you expect to find in comparison with your recent publication?

Having travelled in Africa, the Middle East, India and China, I’ve always been impressed by these regions and the artists that I’ve met there. Its’ very difficult to walk into those countries with little or no prior knowledge of what’s going on and it’s important to have a first hand understanding of the market and what’s happening. These upcoming reports will provide a similar approach to that of the Southeast Asia focus. One thing that I found particularly interesting is that the market is still very shaky in Southeast Asia so I’m looking forward to exploring any similarities in other regions.

Rebecca Close


Related Topics: market watchcollectorsbusiness of art, Southeast Asian artists

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