After several delays, the first edition of ART SG, the world’s newest art fair, has finally arrived. Staged across two floors of the exhibition hall in Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands, the fair opened to VIPs on Wednesday.
The excitement was palpable, with visitors, including several who had traveled from China now that the country has loosened its pandemic travel restrictions, swarming several of the more than 160 booths at this fair. The first day of ART SG also marked the first time a major art fair had been staged in Singapore since 2018.
A few dealers reported first-day sales. Mega-gallery Gagosian placed two works by Ashley Bickerton, who died in November, with the Museum MACAN in Jakarta, Indonesia, the country where the artist was long based. Elsewhere at the fair, graffiti artist Leonard Hilton McGurr, known as FUTURA, signed autographs for fans at Eric Firestone Gallery’s booth.
Below, a look at the best on offer at the 2023 edition of ART SG, which runs until January 15.
Anila Quayyum Agha at Sundaram Tagore
One of the most striking installations at ART SG is by Anila Quayyum Agha, a 57-year-old Pakistani-American multi-disciplinary artist. Titled Hidden Diamond – Saffron, her 16-foot-square laser-cut metal cube and light sculpture quickly drew people in for its colorful, immersive projection that uses intricate floral patterns as well as Islamic motifs that reference the Alhambra palace in Spain. Tagore also had the artist’s intricate mixed-media embroidery and paper piece Kaaba (Blue and Pink) on display, as well as interesting works by Chun Kwang Young and Hiroshi Senju, the first Asian artist to receive an Honorable Mention Award at the Venice Biennale in 1995.
KEA TSAI at Whitestone
Several works from Taiwanese graffiti artist KEA TSAI’s 2022 solo exhibition at Whitestone are in view in the gallery’s booth that mix the motifs of stickers, capitalism, and corporate worship to dramatic and humorous effect. (The artist often signs their name to mimic the IKEA logo, with the “I” missing.) The street culture-inspired sculptures explicitly layer classic and famous visuals like Mickey Mouse, a torn Supreme logo, and a Costco membership card (here, “Cocaine Wholesome”) over anti-depressant medication, Jesus Christ on the cross, and a gun next to several bullets.
Park Minjoon at Gallery Hyundai
Painter Park Minjoon mixes classical painting techniques with dramatic and whimsical visuals. In X, Park recreates a German fountain to surrealistic effect, setting it against a colorful circus palette that ebbs from the sky to form fantastical columns. Other works on view in the booth include moody paintings by the South Korean painter Kim Sung Yoon of taxidermied animals and of John Singer Sargent as a zombie hunter.
Tseng Kwong Chi at Eric Firestone
Eric Firestone has brought a series of six striking images of 1980s New York by Tseng Kwong Chi. These intimate snapshots of American art history, printed at large scale, show the late photographer and conceptual artist’s contemporaries, like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Andy Warhol, in their homes, in the studio, and on the subway. Amid their larger-than-life personalities, Tseng captures quiet, private moments.
Guo-Liang Tan at Ota Fine Arts
Guo-Liang Tan’s large abstract works frequently use thin and translucent aeronautical fabric. Tan paints on both sides of the canvas, creating double-sided works that are propped up via custom-made wooden support structures. The result is an ethereal three-dimensional image with shadows, and color washes of different shades.
Zhao Zhao and Wang Xiyao at Tang Contemporary Art
At Tang Contemporary Art, two large canvases showcase bold color and movement. Zhao Zhao’s oil painting Sky, part of a series begun in 2009, presents the artist’s obsession with how the sky changes in the various towns he has lived in. For Zhao, the bright Prussian blue in this work represents energy and change and carries extra meaning for its rarity in Beijing, where frequent smog causes the sky to appear hazing. Hanging next to Sky is the abstract Autumn Wishes No. 1 by Berlin-based Chinese artist Wang Xiyao, which, by contrast, uses a variety of colors to convey frenetic energy.
Tursic & Mille at Almine Rech
Tursic & Mille’s Still life, eaten by the mouse cheekily depicts what would happen if a painting had been attacked and gobbled up by rodents. Nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2019, the duo began collaborating more than two decades ago and frequently reference movies, magazines, novels, and other interests in their work.