Placing Asian Contemporary Art on the map

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Art Stage Singapore, the flagship Southeast Asian art event, closes its successful fifth edition with stronger sales than ever before , demonstrating that it is the leading art fair in the region. This year, the Fair drew 51, 000 visitors over five days from 21 January (Vernissage) to 25 January 2015. Visitors ranged from the most respected international collectors to art enthusiasts from all over the region, among them professionals such as Mr Ho Hanrou, Artistic Director of MAXXI, Museo Nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome, Mr Philip Tinari, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (UCCA), among others.

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More than a market platform, Art Stage Singapore is a temporary museum offering, among others, the most comprehensive overview of the best contemporary art from the region presented by 197 galleries. Art Stage Singapore is the catalyst for the entire Southeast Asia igniting heightened market activity in the region. In Singapore, the Fair has become the focal point for contemporary art, attracting all art scenes of Southeast Asia and beyond to the city-state and generating more than 100 art related activities during the Singapore Art Week. The Fair has also served to be the necessary unifying force in the region, bringing together the segmented national art scenes in Southeast Asia and acting as a bridge between Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. Since its inception in 2011, Art Stage Singapore has brought international standards to the region, which had resulted in the development of infrastructure and artistic practices of the galleries and these were clearly demonstrated in the top-level presentations and performance of the exhibitors at the Fair.

The fifth edition also saw a high level of activity with many sales transactions already concluded at the Vernissage, which continued strongly throughout the rest of the Fair days.

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Top sales include Amorous , an artwork featuring butterflies stuck onto a surface of wet paint, by Damien Hirst was sold to a regional collector by White Cube for USD1.6 million.

Galleries were extremely positive about this year’s Fair. First time exhibitor, Mr Paul Kasmin of Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, said,  “I met a lot of my existing collectors but also many new ones. I was excited to be at Art Stage.” Echoing this sentiment, Mr Richard Koh of Richard Koh Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur said, “This is the best year of Art Stage Singapore.”

Art Stage Singapore 2015 also saw a rise in the number of collectors, some visiting Art Stage Singapore for the very first time, such as collectors Mr Michael Ringier from Switzerland and Mr Jorge Perez from Miami, U.S.A. On his first experience at Art Stage Singapore, Mr Jorge Perez said, “It’s really fantastic and it’s very new for us because Asian art is not something we’re knowledgeable about so we’re learning…We have already made a couple of purchases and hopefully we’ll do some more.”

“Art Stage is a fantastic platform to not only learn about Asian art, but collecting art on the whole and meet the most wonderful collectors and friends. Art Stage showcases a wide range of Western and Eastern art and features some of the most amazing galleries, platform and showcases. It is a privilege to be able to see this in Singapore,” added Mr Ryan Su, an energetic and passionate young Singaporean collector who is actively building his collection focused on western art when he was based in London and Paris and is now learning about Asian art, since his move back to Singapore.

Beyond the commercial, Art Stage Singapore is also unique as a platform for the exchange of ideas, concepts and dialogue. It is the meeting point for artists from the region and beyond to gather annually where they can learn from each other.

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Turner Prize winner, Gilbert & George, were one of the highlights of the Fair.  On their first encounter with Art Stage Singapore, Gilbert & George commented, “It’s wonderful to see different parts of the world bursting out with visual culture. It’s completely new.”

Several artists exhibiting at the Southeast Asia Platform were also at the Fair and reported positive feedback about their participation.

“I was happy to be in great company, to be with artists whose works I’ve always followed and loved – it somehow felt like a mini biennale or a reunion with some really close artist friends who, even though I rarely see, I feel a strong kinship with,” said Gary-Ross Pastrana, Artist, Philippines, commenting on his participation in Art Stage Singapore.

“Coming from Myanmar, Art Stage Singapore 2015 gave me a unique exposure. It also gave me the opportunity to see artworks from Europe and from the USA. Art Stage Singapore makes me feel that We Are Asia ,” said Nyein Chan Su, Artist, Myanmar.

With the conclusion of the fifth edition of Art Stage Singapore, the Fair has further strengthened its role as the bridge between Southeast Asian and other Asian contemporary art scenes as well as between the larger Asian art scenes and the West.

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“It is beautiful to see the cooperation between the Fair, museums, art spaces as well as government agencies, all functioning seamlessly together. January in Singapore has become the focal point of the international art calendar. We are looking forward to building up the fair even more. As the flagship fair of Southeast Asia, we take this responsibility very seriously to grow the fair and forge ahead in the interest of the region.” says Mr Lorenzo Rudolf, Founder and Fair Director, Art Stage Singapore.

Art Stage Singapore was on at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre from 22 January (Vernissage on 21 January) to 25 January 2015. It is the pillar event of the Singapore Art Week.

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