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Premier contemporary art fair draws record visitor numbers

Published on Jan 20, 2014 11:55 AM

The fourth edition of Art Stage Singapore ended on Sunday having drawn a record number of visitors.

A last minute crush of people in the last three hours of the fair added to the buzz and the numbers.

The four-day fair which opened with a private view last Wednesday evening drew 45,700 visitors, up from 40,500 last year.

At around 4pm, the halls at the Marina Bay Sands Exhibition and Convention Centre were packed - both inside and outside.

Though the fair was supposed to close at 6pm, several people were still in the hall and organisers had to make repeated requests so art movers and handlers could start moving the artworks.

Several strongly curated gallery presentations, country and regional platforms showcasing mostly art from Asia and a much improved fair layout appealed to collectors, gallerists and visitors alike.

A visibly tired but elated fair director Lorenzo Rudolf told The Straits Times that this is how he always wanted to see the art scene grow.

"It has been beautiful to see how things have come together in the arts scene. I have always said this - that the fair is a huge chance to create something big in Singapore.

"At the fair we wanted to try new things, explore new formats to ensure contemporary art is embraced by more people. The country-specific platforms were a catalyst. They added depth to an art fair format. We are more than pleased with the result and the response the fair has received."

Big ticket artworks sold at the fair included the late Chinese-French painter Zao Wou Ki's oil on canvas 1966 which sold for US$1.2million (S$1.53 million).

While the German contemporary great Gerhard Richter's 1982 oil on canvas painting titled Abstraktes Bild priced at S$14.45 failed to find a buyer, Michael Schultz Gallery sold another Richter painting for 580,000 Euros (S$1 million).

Japanese pop artist Yayoi Kusama proved to be a big draw again. OTA Fine Arts sold her colourful sculpture Flowers That Bloom Tomorrow for US$500,000.