SINGAPORE—Organizers of Art Stage Singapore, held Jan 12–16 at the Marina Bay Sands, said the fair’s inaugural edition exceeded all expectations, drawing 32,000 visitors to the four-day event and VIP preview. The show featured contemporary art from 121 galleries representing 26 countries.
Fair director Lorenzo Rudolf said he was pleased with the results, adding, “It was important that we created a quality fair with a strong Asian identity that would put Singapore on the art world’s map.”
Exhibitors praised the format and were impressed by the interest from the thousands of visitors. The exhibitors were mainly from Asia and the Pacific, and they showed high-priced international art as well as newer work by younger artists. This drew the attention of Asian collectors from Malaysia, Indonesia, India, China, Korea and Japan, among other countries. There were a number of exhibitors from Europe, who also said they were extremely pleased with the fair. These included Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna, plus several German galleries, among them Schuebbe Projects, Düsseldorf; Flo Peters Gallery, Hamburg; and Galerie Caprice Horn and Galerie Michael Schultz, both Berlin.
Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, reported selling a three-part series by Takashi Murakami, Snow Moon Flower, for $2.2 million, to a collector he flew in from Japan. Michael Schultz, who has been active in the Asian market for a long time, sold a monumental work by Chinese newcomer Huang He, Baby, 2010 for $80,000 to a Malaysian buyer and a 15-piece large-format painting, by Zou Cao, Che Guevara, 2010, to a buyer from Kuala Lumpur for $170,000. “Singapore, as a strategic fair location, will play a very important role in the future, as this is the market of the years to come,” Schultz said.
Pascal de Sarthe Fine Art, Paradise Valley, Arizona, had a solo show of American photographer David LaChapelle and sold all 18 pieces at prices ranging from $50,000/180,000. “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the fair, which provided us with a platform to meet many collectors from the Asian region,” said Pascal de Sarthe, who is set to open a new branch in Hong Kong next month.
A presentation of work by Pablo Picasso at the Galerie Malingue, Paris, marked the qualitative high point of the show. Two of the works were reserved, but no sales had been finalized as of the fair’s last day. Due to the extreme activity overall that day, fair organizers decided to extend the hours of operation.
Observers agree Art Stage Singapore is a destination event and said they plan to keep a close eye on how other Asian art fair organizers will react to this new challenge.