An Introduction to Art Stage Singapore and Southeast Asian Art
The countdown begins. In less than three months, Art Stage Singapore—the city’s preeminent art fair—will open its doors to the international public, creating a far-reaching dialogue not only between the East and West but also among neighboring Asian countries. In the upcoming fair, Art Stage Singapore will introduce new curated sections—Platforms—focused on regions including Southeast Asia, China, India, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Australia. Whilst eyeing flights to Asia and admiring the extensive programming, Artsy’s Chief Curator Christine Kuan caught up with Art Stage Singapore’s director, Lorenzo Rudolf, to learn about the Southeast Asian art scene and what to expect at the fair in 2014.
Christine Kuan: Given all the art fairs happening around the world, why is Art Stage Singapore worth the trip?
Lorenzo Rudolf: Being in the heart of Southeast Asia (ArtSS), Art Stage Singapore is the only art fair where you can enjoy a true Asian experience and authentic Asian identity.
ArtSS is also the only art fair in the world where there is not just one gallery booth after another: art is presented in context through curated sales exhibitions. We have created a totally new art fair experience that you can only find here.
CK: What is special about the fair this year?
LR: ArtSS adapted to an Asian environment, and so cannot be compared to Western structures. There is no one Asian scene; each country and region are fragmented and are unique in their individual cultures. Therefore this year, we are introducing “Platforms”—seven impressive curated exhibitions, each showcasing stunning and captivating art projects and works. The country/regional Platforms are Southeast Asia, China, India, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Australia.
CK: Southeast Asian art has become an incredibly hot area and Singapore is right in the middle of the action. Why do you think people are so enthralled by Southeast Asia right now?
LR: Due to the growing economy and social/political liberations in Southeast Asia, the art scene has grown to become one of the biggest and most vibrant art scenes and markets in the world, especially Indonesia. Singapore, being in the center of Southeast Asia and the only country in the region with the right infrastructures, is ideal to support the growing SEA (Southeast Asia) art market. This further strengthens the worldwide interest in SEA art. In this regard, Art Stage Singapore has become an ideal international platform for regional artists to shine.
CK: Which artists and galleries should collectors be paying attention to, especially if they are new to your fair and to art of this region?
LR: Southeast Asia Platform is no doubt a highly anticipated component for most collectors, as Art Stage Singapore is the only fair worldwide to feature projects from countries like Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam. With so much momentum going on in the regional market, ArtSS successfully acts as a catalyst where one can make new friends, be it with artists or gallerists, or like-minded art enthusiasts.
CK: Every time I am in Singapore, I enjoy sensational food, art, and shopping, and the people are lovely. What are your personal “can’t miss” destinations this year?
LR: No Signboard Seafood Restaurant at Geylang, Tiong Bahru Food Centre, Gillman Barracks, taking a walk at Botanic Gardens and admiring the trees unique to the region, Sky on 57 at MBS and taking a dip in the infinity pool, as well as shopping at Arab Street, Chinatown, and Little India—Singapore is the only multi-cultural place in Asia where you can find a bit of everything.
Lorenzo’s Singapore picks: No Signboard Seafood, 414 Geylang Road, Singapore, Singapore 389392; Tiong Bahru Food Centre, 30 Seng Poh Rd, Singapore, Singapore 168898; Gillman Barracks, 9 Lock Road, Singapore 108793, Singapore; Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Rd, Singapore 259569; Sky on 57 at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018956; Arab Street, between Victoria Street and Beach Road in the Kampong Glam area; Little India, Serangoon Road, Singapore, Singapore.