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Nissa Kauppila's untitled watercolor and ink on paper (2015, 111 x 81cms, unique) is priced at S$4,750 and will feature at the upcoming Affordable Art Fair.
Jim Farrant's Exmouth Light (oil on canvas, 2015, 63x68cm) is priced at SG$8,750 and will be on sale at the next Affordable Art Fair.

AAF ups price cap to grow with artists

Sep 9, 2016 5:50 AM

FOR the past six years, the popular Affordable Art Fair Singapore (AAF) has maintained a price cap of S$10,000 for all artworks. But beginning with this November edition, the price cap will be increased to S$15,000 to reflect a changing art market and the need for the fair to expand and grow with its collector base.

Camilla Hewitson, AAF's regional marketing director Asia, points out: "We know from our analysis that 36 per cent of our visitors are art-lovers or first-time buyers who will spend under S$1,000, 55 per cent are occasional buyers who will spend about S$5,000, and 9 per cent are seasoned collectors, half of whom will spend above S$10,000. It's that growing 9 per cent which we are making room for."

While the cap may be higher, the medium of works may not change much. Sculptures and installations, which tend to be pricier, will not necessarily make a bigger feature in booths.

Ms Hewitson notes: "Returning galleries know what sells well at the Affordable Art Fair and the type of audience we attract. We know that sculptures, video works, large installations and so on are quite hard to sell so while you may see some more of them, most works will remain similar in terms of painting, prints and mixed media works."

The price cap increase, however, will allow the return of some artists who in recent years have increased their prices to over S$10,000.

Ms Hewitson adds: "That is very interesting for us as it is important to educate people on why an artist's works increases in value and also inspire people to find the next hot talent."

The move may seem counter-intuitive at a time when the art market is going through the doldrums. Many galleries say that business has been particularly slow this year, in line with a generally lacklustre economy.

Ms Hewitson explains: "The market is tough for galleries at the moment. But having a well-curated, buzzy fair that is not too over-crowded often lends itself to solid sales. What we are finding is that many galleries are interested to increase their stand size so as to present a more curated booth which means our total number of galleries will drop or stay level from our last edition."

The concept of selling affordable art was first started by Will Ramsay in the UK in 1999 and quickly became a global phenomenon. The fair now takes place in 10 countries around the world, with Singapore being one of three cities in the world that holds the fair twice a year - the other two being New York and London.

To stay true to its mission of reaching out to as many new collectors as possible, however, 75 per cent of the artworks at the Singapore fair will still remain priced below S$7,500 - a rule that the fair has kept to since its inception here in 2010.

Compared to Singapore's new price caps, the price ceilings for the fair in other cities are as follows: Hong Kong stands at HK$100,000 (S$17,345), Seoul at 10,000,000 Korean won (S$12,345), London at £5,000 (S$9,000) and New York at US$10,000 .

  • The November edition of the Affordable Art Fair Singapore will run from Nov 18 to 20 at the F1 Pit Building