Ten Gems at Art Stage Singapore
With record-setting auctions in Hong Kong, the high demand for Chinese artists—evident through the Rubell’s Art Basel in Miami Beach exhibition and the upcoming Armory Show’s focus on China—and a remarkable number of new art fairs in the Asia Pacific region since 2007, the contemporary art market in Asia is certainly one to watch. Art Stage Singapore, a major contender among newer fairs, is located at a pivotal juncture of trade and cultural exchange, where language, tradition, and global currents converge. For this selection, I highlight works from diverse regions including Indonesia, China, Korea, Japan, and Myanmar that mirror the hybrid narratives of these conflated societies, and represent the artists forging new identities for these regions.
The New York Times describes Heri Dono as a “Storyteller Ahead of His Time” and “arguably the first contemporary Indonesian artist of his generation to break into the global art scene, in the early 1990s.” A regular fixture in Hong Kong auctions, Dono creates works that appeal to political minds, yet he adds a poignant, whimsical edge through the traditions of animation, fantastical narratives, and puppet theatre.
Fusing poetry, design, and sculpture, Claude Lalanne’s waterlily table is a prime example of her elegant mastery of the bronze medium. The French artist has recently garnered widespread attention due to a 2010 retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and numerous public commissions around New York including Park Avenue and Getty Station. Her prices are poised to grow following her fall 2013 dedicated Selling Exhibition at Sotheby’s S2 space.
The preeminent Zhang Xiaogang holds the record for the most valuable work of Chinese Contemporary art sold by a living artist. He is known for his “Bloodline” series, haunting monochromatic family portraits that underpin every major Asian Art Evening auction. These etchings available at Art Stage Singapore capture the artist’s vision at a more accessible price.
Tun Win Aung and Wah Nu, Three Pieces (of White) [Left to right, White Piece #0138: Our First Cause (Facts), White Piece #0139: Our Second Cause (Slogan) and White Piece #0140: Our Third Cause (Signboard)], 2012, at Beam Contemporary
Myanmar’s husband-and-wife duo Tun Win Aung and Wah Nu create collaborative works that fuse historical and contemporary culture. Their triptych of a ubiquitous political gesture is painted over newspaper print overlaid on canvas. The couple was featured as part of the Guggenheim’s UBS Map initiative last summer, and their work can be found in the permanent collection.
On the heels of her recent solo show at MOCA North Miami “Angel Without You,” Tracey Emin’s neon scrawls have become a staple in any contemporary collection. Her works are found in every major museum’s contemporary collection, including MoMA, Tate, and Pompidou. Walking Around My World speaks to a personal grasp of geography of her mind and reads as an apt summary for the internationalism and homogenizing global culture.
Using a combination of digital and analog video processes, Hiraki Sawa taps in into a subconscious and underlying version of reality. In black-and-white, often slowed films, he captures a mundane and almost hypnotic state to create shifting narratives. This Japanese artist will be on everyone’s radar following his upcoming solo show at Tokyo Opera City Gallery. Now is an opportune moment to access video and new media art as it is still a relatively new collecting frontier.
Japanese-based Tatsuo Miyajima constructs complex circuits, installations, and digital sculptures of wires, LEDs, and hardware. The numbers, continuously flashing and cycling in random from one to nine, represent the journey from life to death, with zero as the absolute value in between. His high-tech, enthralling visuals, which stand as a product of the last decades of economic development in Asia, are based on ancient teachings of Buddhism and concepts of change, connection, and eternal renewal. Miyajima’s works are found in museums across the world including Tate, MOCA Chicago, SFMoMA, and Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst.
Scottish abstract painter and former Turner Prize nominee Callum Innes’s works are poised considerations of color and the polarity of additive and subtractive qualities inherent in paint. This pastel work is stunning in its simplicity and balance. At 6,500 GBP, this original work is available at fraction of the price of his larger paintings.
Yeesookyung has recently captured collectors’ attention at the 6th Gwangju Biennale, ARCO 07, and the 5th Liverpool Biennial. Her Translated Vases are hybrid sculptural forms which fuse discarded shards of contemporary Korean ceramics with epoxy and 24kt gold. The result is biomorphic, mutated objects imbued with cultural consciousness. Fragmented and detached from their original function, the vases become present-day artifacts, recalling the readymade as well as the ancient ceramics appropriated as art objects.
Haegue Yang represented South Korea in the 53rd Venice Biennale and is known for installations that warp geometric abstractions into a viewer’s physical space and use common materials such as venetian blinds and wallpaper. Her large scale piece at Documenta 13, featuring shifting geometry of the Venetian blinds, filled the large Hauptbahnhof train station.