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Sep 02 2019

Roundup from Art Jakarta 2019

by Chloe Chu

Congratulatory floral plaques were lined up opposite the entrance to the convention center, where Art Jakarta 2019 was held, contrasting the fair’s sleeker branding, seen in the banners behind the plaques. All photos by Chloe Chu for ArtAsiaPacific.

The threat of a global economic recession cast no shadows over Art Jakarta (August 30–September 1). Presented annually from 2008 to 2017 as Art Bazaar Jakarta—and known thereafter as Art Jakarta—by Harper’s Bazaar Indonesia, the event underwent a near-complete rehaul. The 2019 edition was spearheaded by a new management team comprising collector Tom Tandio and curator Enin Supriyanto, and rebirthed with major upgrades to the venue. Gone were the gaudy carpets and chandeliers of the Ritz Carlton ballroom; galleries hung their wares in concrete-floored booths across two halls of the Jakarta Convention Centre.

Art Jakarta’s nimble adjustments appealed to galleries, many of which had been spooked by the recent collapse of Art Stage Singapore and Jakarta. Art Jakarta 2019 included a total of 70 participants, 40 of whom hail from Southeast Asia, an increase from the 46 mostly local exhibitors in 2018. Galleries such as Anomaly (Tokyo) and TKG+ (Taipei) had previously exhibited once or twice at Art Stage Jakarta or Art Bazaar Jakarta, but returned to Art Jakarta to expand their collector bases. Likewise, Arario Gallery (Seoul/Cheonan/Shanghai) stated that following the fall of Art Stage Singapore, they were looking for a replacement fair in the region, and decided to test the waters at Art Jakarta, despite lukewarm experiences at Art Stage Jakarta 2017. Art Jakarta’s restructuring paid off in other ways. Jan Manton Art (Brisbane), Art Porters Gallery (Singapore), and Gajah Gallery (Singapore/Yogyakarta) all highlighted the fair’s outstanding support for installation, promotion, and logistics.

The true performance measure for a fair, however, are the sales. Before the opening night, Jan Manton Art sold two of Jumaadi’s pigment-on-buffalo-hide paintings to a Singaporean buyer, for IDR 92,000,000 (USD 6,500) each. At Art Porters Gallery, Naufal Abshar’s satirical painting-installation was snapped up by a Hong Kong collector before doors opened. First time participants Nova Contemporary (Bangkok) placed Nipan Oranniwesna’s installation with ground-up coins encased in pills, and a triptych by Aracha Cholitgul, in private collections before the end of the first evening. TKG+ sold Mit Jai Inn and Sawangwongse Yawnghwe’s canvases to local, Singaporean, and Taiwanese collectors, while Sullivan + Strumpf (Sydney/Singapore) reported high demand for Irfan Hendrian’s brick-based sculptures among local and Hong Kong buyers. Though international, blue-chip galleries were absent from the exhibitor roster, directors of major establishments were seen stalking the fair and the surrounding events, perhaps laying the groundwork before making more substantial investments. With the majority of the participating galleries planning on returning next year, the fair proved to be a success regardless. Here are some highlights.

Art Jakarta launched new sectors this year, such as “Spot,” where galleries highlighted a single work by one artist. Here, YOU JI IN’s installation from her North, K2 (2017) series comprises reproductions of the K2 rifle, which are traditionally passed down generations of South Korean men as they serve their mandatory military terms. The artist intends for the mirrors to implicate viewers in this phenomenon and prompt critical reflections on the customs that surround warfare. Presented by The Columns Gallery (Seoul).
Art Jakarta launched new sectors this year, such as “Spot,” where galleries highlighted a single work by one artist. Here, YOU JI IN’s installation from her North, K2 (2017) series comprises reproductions of the K2 rifle, which are traditionally passed down generations of South Korean men as they serve their mandatory military terms. The artist intends for the mirrors to implicate viewers in this phenomenon and prompt critical reflections on the customs that surround warfare. Presented by The Columns Gallery (Seoul).
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Chloe Chu is the managing editor of ArtAsiaPacific.

To read more of ArtAsiaPacific’s articles, check out our Digital Library.

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