2 December 2015

Art Stage Singapore returns in January 2016

Source: Art Stage Singapore.

Art Stage Singapore, Southeast Asia's flagship art fair, returns from 21 to 24 January 2016 (Vernissage on 20 January) with a new vision for contemporary art from the region. The fair's sixth edition will highlight the developmental role that Art Stage Singapore plays in Southeast Asia.

Through its latest programme, Art Stage Singapore references the Roman forum or the agora of ancient Greece, which will position the fair as an intersection that facilitates not merely the exchange of art, but also of ideas. "Our role as the leading art fair in Southeast Asia is not about dealing with square metres of space on the fairground. More importantly, it is very much about raising the awareness for contemporary art and its role in our societies. A strong art scene and a deep public understanding of contemporary art will engender a robust art market," says Lorenzo Rudolf, Founder and President, Art Stage Singapore. 

"This is why it is so important for us to continue our efforts to develop an active art ecosystem, to encourage a spirit of discussion and debate to foster a culture of curiosity about contemporary art in Southeast Asia. With its base in Singapore, Art Stage Singapore is committed to creating and growing a strong art market for the region." 

In its 2016 edition, Art Stage Singapore will introduce the Southeast Asia Forum, which aims to emphasise the balance between art, commerce and content. An extension of the Southeast Asia Platform exhibitions at the fair from 2014 to 2015, the Forum is a thematic programme that takes a more focused and deeper view into broad global issues that also affect our immediate region.

This initiative draws attention to contemporary art's significant place in the development of modern society and the central role the artist plays in the context of Southeast Asia. Moving beyond artistic discussions, the Forum will take a broader approach towards contemporary art.

The inaugural Southeast Asia Forum is titled Seismograph: Sensing the City - Art In the Urban Age. Comprising an exhibition and a talk series, it is centred how cities not only shape our environments, spaces and interactions, but also our roles, functions, ideas, beliefs and identities.

While the Forum's talk series will examine the challenges of urbanisation and how cities can be re-imagined, the Forum's exhibition component will survey the role of artists in the evolution of contemporary societies across Southeast Asia. Ten projects to be presented at the exhibition will focus on artists who relate to extremely rapid urbanisation in their countries. Among the featured artists will be Aliansyah Caniago from Indonesia, Norberto Roldan from the Philippines and Sherman Ong from Singapore.

Source: Art Stage Singapore. Titik Balik by Aliansyah Caniago, Indonesia. Image copyright and courtesy of the artist. Titik Balik (point of no return) is an ongoing art project that Caniago initiated in 2012 in response to the environmental and cultural devastation he witnessed in Situ Ciburuy, a lakeside town located around 20km from Bandung, Indonesia. Once a rich source of fish and shrimp, Situ Ciburuy built its livelihood and culture on the fishing trade. Today, many have moved to cities in search of new lives and half of its remaining population work in factories that pump mercury-ridden waste into the lake, resulting in severe pollution and the dearth of the town’s traditional form of industry and its people’s relationship to the water. Abandoned fishing boats lie strewn across the landscape, some buried in the water, others left rotting on the shoreline, a daily reminder of the town’s decline and destruction in recent years. Over a number of visits, this became a profoundly affecting influence on Caniago, for whom the fishing boat is a symbol of life. Caniago’s parents too were fishermen and made their living off the Sumatran coast. He grew up in a house by the water with fond memories of a familiar, traditional culture built around a fishing industry. The idea came to Caniago to reforge the lost identity and ties of Situ Ciburuy by ‘rescuing’ its forsaken boats and bringing them back into a new light. By pulling them from the sites where they had been abandoned and dragging them through the centre of Bandung City, Caniago aims to remind the people of their dying heritage and of the importance of keeping this awareness alive. Each performance on average lasts 8 to 9 hours and is participatory by nature. He invites locals, intellectuals and socially engaged individuals to participate, sometimes even inviting other artists to make new boats which they would then ‘return’ to the townsfolk as a call for renewal and regeneration. Caniago’s presentation in the exhibition is an installation of one such boat, accompanied by a video documenting the respective performance.    
!Roldan's 100 Altars pays homage to a rich history of simple and peaceful community life after the Second World War ended in the Philippines. Caniago will present Titik Balik (point of return), an ongoing art project started in 2012 in response to environmental damage caused by factory waste to Situ Ciburuy lake in Bandung and which resulted in the decline of the village's fishing trade and tradition. Ong will feature selected video works from his ongoing project Nusantara, which mingles fables of the Nusantara - an Indonesian word meaning archipelago - with contemporary dilemmas concerning migration and diaspora.

Art Stage Singapore will feature 143 galleries from 32 countries and 30 global cities. Around three-quarters of the exhibitors (112) are Asia-based. Galleries that will be exhibiting at the fair from Asia Pacific and the Middle East include those from Australia, mainland China, Indonesia, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and the UAE. Sixty-seven galleries are returning exhibitors and include Artinformal (Philippines), ARNDT (Singapore), FOST Gallery (Singapore), Ota Fine Arts (Singapore), Pearl Lam Galleries (Hong Kong/Singapore), Richard Koh Fine Art (Malaysia), ShanghART Gallery (China/Singapore), Tomio Koyama Gallery (Japan/Singapore), Singapore Tyler Print Institute (Singapore), and Sundaram Tagore Gallery (Singapore).

Sixty-five galleries will debut at Art Stage Singapore in 2016, including Aspan Gallery (Kazakhstan), Gallery Ward (UAE), Hafez Gallery (Saudi Arabia), Martin Browne Contemporary (Australia), Mo J Gallery (South Korea), and X-ist (Turkey).

Several notable regional artists will also be presenting works at the fair. Hailing from Singapore are David Chan, Ruben Pang, Donna Ong, Jane Lee, and Jimmy Ong; Shooshie Sulaiman and Ali Nurazmal Yusoff will be some of the artists representing Malaysia, while Mujahidin Nurrahman, Kinez Riza and Syagini Ratna Wulan will be part of the Indonesian contingent. Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Ronald Ventura and Raybeet Ramos will be some of the faces from the Philippines.

Several artworks will be exhibited in the public areas of the fairground. Dada on Tour is a multimedia installation celebrating the 100th anniversary of Dadaism in 2016. By entering a "nomadic" tent, visitors get the chance to discover the visions and actions of 165 Dadaists such as Jean Arp, Hugo Ball, Marcel Janco, Andre Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Francis Picabia, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Tristan Tzara, among others. Welcoming visitors to Art Stage Singapore 2016 will be the entrance artwork by Thai artist Ploenchan Vinyaratn (Mook), titled Netscape, executed in her signature style with handwoven textiles. Spanish artist Manolo Valdes' large-scale sculpture will also be presented as a public artwork.

In 2016, Art Stage Singapore will be introducing CATALYST, a reference guide for galleries, art collectors and industry professionals. CATALYST is conceptualised to provide insight and guidance on all major art markets and scenes in Southeast Asia. The core component of CATALYST will be the independently written Market Reports section. CATALYST will also present a curated selection of commissioned essays, interviews, profiles and event highlights, underscoring Art Stage Singapore's active role in the Asian and Southeast Asian art scenes.


Art Stage Singapore 2016 is the anchor event of Singapore Art Week and takes place from 21 to 24 January 2016 at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.


All artwork images are credited to the specific galleries representing the artists and the remaining images are credited to Art Stage Singapore.