Entering Art Stage Singapore 2016 through Thai artist Ploenchan Vinyaratn’s Netscape (2015)—a passageway of black feathers, colorful appliqué and embroidery resembling giant nestling wings—over 7,000 VIPs attended the vernissage evening of the fair on January 19, where they were greeted with flowing champagne and art. Branded as Southeast Asia’s flagship art fair, Art Stage Singapore prides itself for its commitment to showcasing modern and contemporary art from the region and Asia at large. Open to the public until January 24, the fair, now in its sixth edition, once again is held inside the 17,000-square-meter Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, gathering 173 galleries from 34 countries.
Maintaining its regional focus, around 75 percent of exhibitors this year have locations or outposts in Asia—of these, 37 are Singapore-based galleries. In addition, Art Stage Singapore is welcoming 71 new participating galleries to its roster this year including: Aspan Gallery (Kazakhstan), X-ist (Turkey), Gallery Ward (United Arab Emirates), The Columns Gallery (South Korea), Taka Ishii Gallery (Japan), Giorgio Persano (Italy) and Martin Browne Contemporary (Australia), among others.
Solidifying the fair’s reputation, veteran galleries returning this year include: Pearl Lam Galleries (Hong Kong/Singapore), Nadi Gallery (Indonesia), Arndt (Singapore/Berlin), STPI (Singapore), ShanghArt (China/Singapore), Tomio Koyama Gallery (Japan), Sullivan+Strumpf (Australia) and White Cube (United Kingdom), among others.
Changing up its Southeast Asia Platform yet again, Art Stage Singapore is presenting an exhibition and series of talks under the title of Southeast Asia Forum. Using urbanism as its point of departure, the Forum is conceptualized around the premise that “contemporary art is a reflection of our time, and artists are instrumental to how we sense, measure and interpret perceived reality.” Encompassing most countries in the region, the exhibition showcases 19 artists from Cambodia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia. Also unique to the fair’s 2016 edition is the presentation of the special exhibition “Dada on Tour,” which celebrates the 100th anniversary of Dadaism.
Spread throughout the public areas of the fairground are sculptures by artists including Thailand’s Anon Pairot, who is presenting his “Sweet Word” series (2014) of four canvases, where the words “happy,” “love,” “life” and “faith” are each written out with plastic cockroaches on individual panels. Something more palatable is Italian sculptor Stefano Bombardieri’s mammoth-sized bronze rhinoceros, Il Peso del tempo sospeso – Rhino (2002), displayed in the foyer entrance to the Convention Centre.
Below are some other highlights from Art Stage Singapore 2016.
Denise Tsui is assistant editor at ArtAsiaPacific.