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Art Stage unveils the crowd-pullers
GLOBALLY, not enough is known about South-east Asian art. Curators, critics and collectors outside the region don't pay attention to it and that limits the long-term sustainability of the region's art market.
To redress this situation, Singapore's biggest art fair Art Stage is launching the Southeast Asian Forum at its next edition in January 2016. It will see the participation of global intellectuals within and without the realm of art - such as leading architect Rem Koolhaas and celebrity auctioneer Simon de Pury - who will engage in a wider discussion on art and urbanisation over the four-day event.
Art Stage fair director Lorenzo Rudolf says: "We're inviting well-known figures in sociology, history, architecture and urban planning to the forum to discuss the role of contemporary art in the larger development of cities. We want to bring the discourse to a higher level and integrate it with our understanding of urbanisation.
"South-east Asia is an emerging art region where art is appreciated by a relatively small percentage of its people. The forum aims to expand people's perspectives of how art is an integral part of our daily lives."
Ten Asian artists have been selected to present artworks that complement the forum through their focus on urbanisation. They include Singapore's Sherman Ong, Indonesia's Aliansyah Chaniago and the Philippines' Norberto Roldan.
Another new addition of the fair is the publication of Catalyst, a magazine that will report on major trends in the regional art market written by independent researchers. It will also have essays and features on the most important personalities and institutions in the region, such as the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre, Vietnam's San Art and Singapore's soon-to-open National Gallery.
Meanwhile, the main fair will continue to have a strong selection of public artworks around the fair area. The highlight is the Dada On Tour multimedia installation celebrating the centennial anniversary of Dadaism, an art movement that rose in response to World War I and led by important artists such as Jean Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Andre Breton, Francis Picabia and Hugo Ball.
Art Stage director of exhibitor and show management Gil Schneider says: "Dada was founded in Zurich in 1916, which makes 2016 its 100th year anniversary. We thought it meaningful to bring an exhibition that educates our visitors on the significance of a movement that changed the face of art. We have a film that runs on a loop as well as other exhibition pieces."
At the main fair, 143 galleries from 33 countries are bringing their heavyweights, including Ronald Ventura at Primo Marella, Jane Lee at STPI, Kishio Suga at Tomio Koyama and Jimmy Ong at FOST, as well as bright young stars such as Ruben Pang also at Primo Marella and Reybert Ramos at Galerie Stephanie.
Since debuting in 2011, Art Stage has steadily generated buzz for the visual arts scene of Singapore. Two years ago, the government helped launched the Singapore Art Week in conjunction with the fair, featuring more than 100 events around the island.
Mr Lorenzo says that despite the recent closures of a few galleries in Gillman Barracks, Helutrans and other key areas, the National Gallery Singapore and Pinacotheque de Paris are welcome arrivals to the art scene as they will generate greater appreciation of regional and international art and help boost the market.
Art Stage is from Jan 21 to 24, 2016 at Marina Bay Sands' Sands Expo and Convention Centre