Asia’s global art fair returns to Singapore for a third time, creating an explosive platform and community space for collectors, artists, art lovers and art enthusiasts alike to complete Singapore’s art eco-habitat. With the recent opening of Singapore’s Gillman Barracks (touted as Asia’s latest contemporary art destination), as well as the Freeport in Changi and the upcoming National Art Gallery, the hardware to add some sizzle to Asia’s art appears to be well in place.

Art Stage Singapore 2013

Software wise, Art Stage Singapore is hot on the heels of Affordable Art in November 2012. Just as art becomes more accessible (and affordable) to the everyday man, Art Stage kick starts the mainstream world of premium art for 2013. A selection of over 130 galleries showed (over three quarters stemming from Asia Pacific). This includes 18 local galleries, making the local showing in this year’s fair greater than ever before.

Fost Gallery

Some galleries chose to focus on single artists, bringing a coherent narrative to their presentations. Local gallery, Fost Gallery brought the craft of SooKoon Ang under the spotlight, as she worked her magic to create crystals forms on loafs of everyday bread. Others brought together masters with contemporaries. Beside the Warhols and Picasso, Ai Weiwei’s “Aibudao” in collaboration with Eric So makes Ai a consistent guest at the fair, while Yayoi Kusama’s dots scattered across galleries.

Ai Weiwei’s “Aibudao”

While Hong Kong positions itself as the gateway to Chinese art, Art Stage Singapore sees an emphasis on South East Asian Art. In particular through the flagship presence of the Indonesian Pavilion. Touted as the world’s largest international showcase of contemporary Indonesian art to date, it features specially commissioned works by 36 of Indonesia’s top artists. The array of mediums range from paintings, installations, including Heri Dono’s animated art installation The Extraterrestrial Troops, to sculptures The Earth and the World (Series) by Rudi Mantofani.

Indonesian Pavilion

Whilst the international fraternity made their presence felt, Singapore platform brought up and coming local artists to the forefront. Commissioned by Singapore’s National Arts Council (NAC), works such as New Black City by Jason Wee, Jeremy Sharma and Khiew Huey Chian invite visitors to enter a monochrome world. Playing on scale, form and colour (or lack of), pyramids stacked on columns, white blocks stacked in an orderly manner. Participants lingered and pondered as their imagined world of landscapes, cityscapes or woodlands enveloped them.

Indonesian Pavilion – Heri Dono

Context and setting adds a new dimension to any piece art work. This year’s Art Stage creates an awareness of public art. Art Quest @ Marina Bay Sands bring visitors on an art trail around Art Stage and the venue, Marina Bay Sands. As part of enhancing Singapore’s public spaces, Marina Bay Sands is one of the developments partaking in the Public Art Scheme to introduce delight and wonder in the public realm through the integration of artworks in a space. With a combined value of S$50 million, the carefully curated collection by Architect Moshe Safdie include Antony Gormley’s 15 ton Drift suspended in the atrium of Marina Bay Sands, to the Chongbin Zheng’s Rising Forest along the lobbies of the hotel.

Indonesian Pavilion – Rudi Mantofani

What is a showcase without a dialogue? In conjunction with Art Stage Singapore 2013, the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) [housed at Gillman Barracks], organised a series of public talks. Presented in the format of Friends With Disagreements, The Short Forum and Art 101, international speakers including key agents of the art world debated and shared their take and direction on the art world.

What is art without an audience? Art Stage brings the international dialogue on art to the local forefront and fuels the journey on for Singapore’s quest to be the Asian Art destination.

Art Stage Singapore 2013
Date: January 24th – 27th, 2013
Place: Marina Bay Sands

Text: Fann ZJ
Photos: Fann ZJ

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