The global cross-roads of Southeast Asian art: ART STAGE Singapore – fair round-up

The 8th edition of ART STAGE Singapore ran a series of programmes from 25 to 28 January 2018 designed to promote Asian art to a global audience.

ART STAGE prides itself as the flagship show of the Southeast Asian art world. Art Radar
briefly rounds up the 2018 edition of the art fair.

 Manit Sriwanchipoom (Thailand), 'Pink Men vs. Pink Buddha', 2007, mixed medi, acrylic, resin, metal, wood, glass and four florescent lights, approx. 100 x 220 x 60 cm. Image courtesy ART STAGE.

Manit Sriwanchipoom (Thailand), ‘Pink Men vs. Pink Buddha’, 2007, mixed medi, acrylic, resin, metal, wood, glass and four florescent lights, approx. 100 x 220 x 60 cm. Image courtesy ART STAGE.

ART STAGE Singapore “acts as a catalyst for driving international interest in and understanding of Southeast Asian art and igniting heightened market activity”, making the Singapore-based event a key voice in representing the interests of Asian art in the global arena. 

This event serves as a platform to showcase the best art and ideas in Asia to local and international collectors alike. A key pillar of ART STAGE is bridging regional art scenes to create a stronger and more unified Southeast Asian market. One of the transformative ways it does this is by encouraging dialogue between markets and artists. ART STAGE hosted a series of talks and the third Southeast Asia Forum, which focused on cross-disciplinary practices in art and design. Over the four days, a slew of panels covered topics ranging from Fernando Botero’s works to Southeast Asian design. 

ART STAGE’s rich programme represents its efforts to not only create spaces to display diverse works but also to create opportunities to stimulate dialogue and critical thought in the region.

Agus Suwage (Indonesia), The Kiss #4, 2011. Oil and acrylic on canvas, 200 x 250 cm (Mai, I took this from their website).

Agus Suwage (Indonesia), ‘The Kiss #4’, 2011, oil and acrylic on canvas, 200 x 250 cm.

The key topic of the Southeast Asia Forum was “To see opportunity in diversity, and define identity through creativity.” A cross-disciplinary panel discussed practices in art and design. The panel, titledArt Meets Design: Cultural Trend or Fashionable Lifestyle?”, examined the growth of Southeast Asia’s design scene and dissected how each market is equipped for the future given its current context. Speakers from Hong Kong, the Philippines and Indonesia discussed creativity in their local contexts. The Global Creativity Index helped frame their discussion with talent, technology, and tolerance serving as indicators of creativity. Speakers shared insights on the regional art landscape including challenges and opportunities. They highlighted how regulation, infrastructure and labour differ across the region and identified opportunities for improvement. Panelist Suzy Annetta, Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Design Anthology magazine, critiqued the scope of Western influence on Asian art. She pointed out that

Asia is in and of itself a Western concept. It’s a word used to describe a region that’s highly and richly diverse, which is home to nearly half the world’s population.

Panelists at the Southeast Asia Forum discuss design and art trends in Asia, 28 January 2018. Image Courtesy ART STAGE.

Panelists at the Southeast Asia Forum discussing design and art trends in Asia, 28 January 2018. Image courtesy ART STAGE.

Regional and international galleries presented artists from across Asia and the world. Although the number of participating galleries was lower than previous years, with Singapore’s strategic location, ART STAGE serves as an effective crossroads of Southeast Asian and global art. Despite fewer participants, the fair saw stronger sales results in all price categories than previous years. ART STAGE attributes this success to “The selection of top quality artworks in this year’s edition.

Chen Fei, See for Yourself, 2013. Acrylic on canvas, diameter 240 cm. Image courtesy ART STAGE.

Chen Fei, ‘See for Yourself’, 2013, acrylic on canvas, diameter 240 cm. Image courtesy ART STAGE.

A rich array of programmes including performances, installations, tours of private collections and talks gave attendees a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in art. Both exhibitors and visitors were excited about their ART STAGE experiences. Mr Sundaram Tagore, Gallery Director of Sundaram Tagore Gallery, explained:

I am very pleased with the Fair this year. ART STAGE has exerted a prodigious influence on Singapore’s contemporary artistic life. It has become the anchor for the city’s annual art week, and Sundaram Tagore Gallery is proud to have been associated with the Fair since its inception.

Tours of private local collections were a highlight of the program. Image Courtesy ART STAGE.

Tour of private local collections. Image courtesy ART STAGE.

Yifei Xiao, a Singaporean attendee, commented:

ART STAGE is like walking through snapshots of galleries and art museums. You could be anywhere around the world because the artworks are so diverse. But take a closer look and you realize the subtle references and styles that are distinctive of different parts of Asia. It’s a technicolor oasis, Just like Fernando Botero believes in direct art, most pieces at ART STAGEspeak directly to the viewer—they delight and disturb, it’s a refreshing treat for the eyes.

ART STAGE’s refreshing experiences will be back in Jakarta from 7 to 9 September 2018.

Claudia Acha

2065

Related Topics: Asia expands, promoting art, forums, lecture and talks, conference, curatorial practice, round up, events in Singapore

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