Singapore’s newest art fair, Singapore Contemporary, opened yesterday with a strong turnout at its vernissage, proving that amidst the already dizzying variety of exhibitions, art tours and screenings during Art Week, there is room for — or rather, demand for — another multi-exhibitor platform.
Primarily focusing on the mid-tier art market with works ranging from $10,000 to S$100,000 and up, the inaugural fair brings together more than 3,000 artworks from 60 exhibitors and installation art by 12 artists all housed within a 6,000 sqm exhibition space at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.
"This is an exceptionally interesting show — most of the artworks have never been seen in Singapore before and many are by artists who are just starting to break through on the international stage, winning prestigious prizes and achieving success at auction," says Show Director Douwe Cramer.
Themed A World of Art, the fair’s participating galleries hail mainly from across the Asia Pacific, including, Singapore, China, South Korea, Indonesia and Australia.
With contemporary art gaining traction with buyers across the region, some pieces have already been sold pre-event. This includes a Beijing Girl portrait by Chinese artist Zhang Xiangming, who is known for his series of paintings that feature various emotions portrayed elegantly by refined Beijing women, with candy hued cheeks and red lips.
Spotted painting live on opening day was Australian artist Emma Hack, who replicated a chartreuse Egret wallpaper by designer Florence Broadhurst on the bare skin of a model while cheerily explaining to all who dropped by her booth that it takes eight to 15 hours to finish painting.
This intense dedication to craft is shared by every artist represented at the fair, who each seek to engage intellectually and emotionally with the viewer.
French oil painter Henri Depardieu’s paintings of lakes in Taipei (where he resides) reflects his integration of eastern aesthetics and western techniques — a meeting of East and West that is similarly reflected in the works of Guang Zhou born oil painter Chen Ben and Zhang Haiying, who is known for his anti-vice campaign series executed in faux social realist style.
Also exhibiting is painter Ocean Wang, whose paintings of water droplets capture poignant memories and serve as a reflection of her journey as an artist. Believing that the fluent expression of self should be cultivated at a young age, she is keen to nurture the next generation. Her advice: "No matter what profession you are in, everything that is done well comes from passion and not just fashion."
On the inaugural Singapore Contemporary, Cramer sums up: "We think Singaporeans and overseas visitors here for Singapore Art Week are going to love it. And all visitors are invited to join an extensive programme of complimentary tours, live painting demonstrations and a fabulous children’s programme."