singapore contemporary art fair

Image: Emma Hack, Midnight Secret Garden, Australia, Booth-B13

A spin-off of Hong Kong’s popular Asia Contemporary Art Show takes place in Singapore for the first time this weekend. Presenting more than 3,000 works, the fair is made up of 65 gallery booths from around the world as well as a number of special exhibitions and projects like “China Encounters” where you can browse a range of Chinese works, or the “Indonesian Pavilion” featuring paintings and sculptures by some 200 Indonesian artists.

It’s the perfect way for beginner collectors and casual browsers to discover emerging artists and get introduced to the increasingly fashionable world of contemporary art. There’ll be big name international artists like Keith Haring and Andy Warhol, as well as highly collectable Asian artists like Filipino Ronald Ventura (whose work fetched the Southeast Asian artist record price of $1.5 million at auction in 2011). All the works will continue to be up for sale on after the event too.

Happening at the same time as the flagship fair Art Stage Singapore, some industry insiders initially wondered there was enough room for another art fair in a small Singapore art market, but it makes for a more diverse art scene. For us, it means more art, more champagne, and more after-parties.

Here, Fair Director Douwe Cramer shares what makes the fair different, some highlights and a few tips on collecting contemporary art:

Androgyny #7 by Kim Nampyo, atelier aki, South Korea, Booth C01
Image: Kim Nampyo, Androgyny #7, atelier aki, South Korea, Booth C01

How is Singapore Contemporary different to Art Stage Singapore?

“We are aiming for the fast growing mid-market where artworks of up-and-coming as well as more established artists sell for prices between $10,000 and $100,000. Many of the works are quite attractively priced below $50,000 and offering opportunity for appreciation. Art Stage (prices) are much higher and serve a slightly more expensive market segment.”

Keith Haring, Love, by Pop and Contemporary Fine Art, Singapore, booth B02 

What are some of the highlights to look out for?

“On a personal level, I am very much looking forward to our “Artist Dialogues” section, which comprises 20 solo exhibitions where the artist is present in the booth throughout all four days to engage with collectors. Both established as well as new collectors very much appreciate the engagement with artists – it’s a great opportunity. There will be some great works by some Singaporean artists such as Ernest Goh, Simon Wee, Jasmine Tan, Soh Ee Shaun and Yeo Chee Kiong. We also have two cool programmes for kids – if children experience art at a young age, it will enhance their creativity and hopefully be the beginning of a life-long love of art. (All programs are complimentary, and on a first-come, first-served basis).”

Future by Simon Wee, Tembusu Art Gallery, Singapore, Booth A05
Image: Simon Wee, Future, Tembusu Art Gallery, Singapore, Booth A05

What’s your advice for someone who might be interested to start collecting contemporary art?

“First of all, I would buy a work that I like and enjoy. You know the spaces you have in your home, so visualise how a certain work would fit. Doing some research is important too – both prior and during the process. In our case, we are providing buyers access to many of the artworks that will be at the show through our website Asia Contemporary Art Buyer, so collectors can come with a particular focus and better allocate their time at the show. During the buying process, it pays to do some research into prices for works by the same artist, reviewing the artist biography and having a good look at the background and track record of the gallery. These days, the internet can provide most information you need. And I always recommend buyers to talk a lot to other buyers and exhibitors during our shows.” Jan 21-24, Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, buy tickets here.


Like this? Check out our guide to surviving an art fair.