Above: (clockwise from top left) "The Bicyclist" by Zhu Jinshi, "Drift VIII" by Antony Gormley and "They" by Tamen.
When it was announced that another art event would be added to the already cramped arts calendar last year, no one thought that Art Stage Singapore would be a runaway success.
2011's inaugural event saw a total of 32,000 visitors who came to see contemporary artwork shown by 121 galleries from 26 countries over the four days. Not to mention that some of the contemporary art world’s biggest stars had a strong showing--Takashi Murakami’s "Snow Moon Flower" triptych sold for a staggering US$2.2 million while China sculptor Li Chen’s quartet of sculptures from his “Soul Guardian” series went for a cool US$480,000.
“We are glad that we had a very successful first edition of the fair. I don’t think that there were many new art fairs which had such a remarkable start,” enthuses Art Stage director Lorenzo Rudolf.
Rudolf adds: “I think the fair was also an eye opener for many visitors as to what contemporary art is all about and what it can offer. The fair is at the same time also a unique temporary museum. Probably nowhere else can you gain such a comprehensive overview of the artistic creativity of the Asian continent.”
“The 2012 edition will be the next step on the way of becoming an Asian world event. We did a lot to make the fair stronger, more impressive and more spectacular. Art Stage Singapore is definitely not a typical art fair showcasing only small and easily sellable art works. Nevertheless, we managed to attract new, prestigious international exhibitors this year, explains Rudolf who is no stranger to the world of art. He has helmed Art Basel from 1991 to 2000, founding Art Basel Miami Beach and later Shanghai's ShContemporary.
Rudolf says more than 50 special projects and presentations are being prepared for the fair, which will also feature works representing some of the world's most renowned galleries, among them the Galerie Eigen+Art (Leipzig/Berlin), Lehmann Maupin of New York, London's White Cube and Victoria Miro Gallery as well as Italy’s renowned Massimo de Carlo.
While last year’s major crowd-pullers were notably David LaChapelle’s fashion photography, Japanese artists Yoshimoto Nara and Takashi Murakami’s cutesy works as well as Ai Wei Wei's--the enfant terrible of contemporary Chinese art--installation, the focus this year is particularly more site-specific and MASSIVE. There will also be many fringe exhibitions on Asian art taking place at various galleries across the city.
It’s not all about international galleries at Art Stage Singapore. Local galleries such as Vue Privée, 2902and Gajah Gallery are also taking part. Art Stage newcomer Vue Privée will be staging three events during the fair—a solo exhibition at the fair, a fringe exhibition “Staging Art” in its gallery in Orchard Road and an art performance by China artists, Gao Brothers.
Above: "World Hug Day" by Gao Brothers.
“By introducing artists such as the Gao Brothers, and at a prestigious art fair, we are reaching the next level of our mission. By positioning ourselves in such a way, we are opening a dialogue with serious collectors and institutions”, says Vue Privée Founder, Olivier Henry in a statement. “We are steadily paving our way to becoming a major player in the international art scene. We are truly very excited for what lies ahead.”
The Singapore Art Museum on the other hand will be holding two shows in tandem with Art Stage. Future Proof presents artworks by a mix of exciting young Singaporean artists with innovative and original art practices within their disciplines, while The Collectors Show brings together notable works of Asian contemporary art from private collections around the world.
Art fans such as account executive Sean Liu can’t wait for the event: “I really enjoyed myself last year and I can’t wait to check out the works on display this year. I might even participate in the Gao Brothers’ ‘World Hug Day’.”