Affordable Art showcases three young talents ahead of fair in November

Works by Hilmi Johandi, Lennard Ong and Noor Iskandar (above) will be shown as part of the Young Talent Programme. -- PHOTO: AFFORDABLE ART FAIR
Works by Hilmi Johandi, Lennard Ong and Noor Iskandar (above) will be shown as part of the Young Talent Programme. -- PHOTO: AFFORDABLE ART FAIR
Works by Hilmi Johandi, Lennard Ong (above) and Noor Iskandar will be shown as part of the Young Talent Programme. -- PHOTO: AFFORDABLE ART FAIR
Works by Hilmi Johandi, Lennard Ong (above) and Noor Iskandar will be shown as part of the Young Talent Programme. -- PHOTO: AFFORDABLE ART FAIR
Works by Hilmi Johandi (above), Lennard Ong and Noor Iskandar will be shown as part of the Young Talent Programme. -- PHOTO: AFFORDABLE ART FAIR
Works by Hilmi Johandi (above), Lennard Ong and Noor Iskandar will be shown as part of the Young Talent Programme. -- PHOTO: AFFORDABLE ART FAIR

Besides selling artworks, the Affordable Art Fair also wants to nurture young artists.

Ahead of its popular art fair in November, the organisers are showing the works of three young artists. It is part of an initiative called the Young Talent Programme launched in 2012 aimed at those aged under 35 who have no gallery representation.

The showcase opened for public viewing last week and is presented jointly with Ion Art Gallery.

Called the 2013/14 Young Talent Programme Winners' Solo Exhibitions, it features three fresh names: Hilmi Johandi, 27, Noor Iskandar, 25, and Lennard Ong, 29.

Hilmi's impressive large-scale paintings and video installations explore the curious intersections between painting and film and how one can inform the other.

Noor's compelling solo, Paradie, looks at mortality. The artist, a recent graduate from the Nanyang Technological University's School of Art, Design and Media, asked 130 people questions about death, such as how they would like to die. Most said peacefully or in their sleep.

The result is a mixed-media installation created using photographs, prints, fabrics and even a prayer mat.

"People are very spiritual when confronted with the idea of death," he says. "I wanted to also explore the idea of solace through my work."

For his work, Filament Forest, Ong, an architect, presents an enigmatic 3-D installation of linear sculptures produced by algorithm-based codes.

He entwines tree bark with a white plastic form to question, among other things, what human intervention means for the environment.

The exhibition also marks an open call for artists aged below 35 who are not represented by any gallery to show their work at the fair.

Now in its fifth year, it will be held from Nov 20 to 23 at the F1 Pit Building.

As per the practice since 2012, organisers say they will pick six to eight promising artists, who will be granted solo showcases at the fair.

So far, this programme has given 15 up-and-coming artists a boost.

For example, Lavender Chang and Alecia Neo, both winners of the 2012 Young Talent Programme, have gone on to show their art in competitions, as well as at museum shows.

The fair's marketing manager, Mr Alan Koh, says: "This initiative is our way of showing we are committed to growing the arts scene here. One way of doing this is by providing additional platforms such as these for emerging artists."

Launched here in 2010, The Affordable Art Fair, as its name suggests, offers art at palatable prices. The global Affordable Art Fair, which started in London in 1999, is known for its relaxed vibe which makes it less intimidating than regular high-end art fairs and often draws hordes of first-time buyers.

All artworks are priced between $100 and $10,000, with 75 per cent of the pieces costing below $7,500.

A record number of galleries, new artists and art-related initiatives have been lined up this year. More than 100 galleries have been confirmed, and they will present a diverse selection of contemporary artworks by 360 new and emerging artists, as well as 440 established names.

The event has grown in size, attendance and sales every year since its launch. The edition in May this year drew 13,300 visitors and rang up $3.7 million in sales over four days, exceeding the organisers' target of 13,000 visitors and $3 million in sales.

In November, expect to see works from home-grown names such as Cultural Medallion recipient Lim Tze Peng and emerging artist Ashley Yeo alongside those by top international names, such as British contemporary artist Marc Quinn, who is represented by Manifold Editions from Britain.

New galleries include Purpa Art Gallery from Indonesia and Art Square from Malaysia.

Art Square will be representing Ernest Zacharevic, a Lithuanian artist who has made headlines for transforming the streets of Penang with his lively and colourful murals.

Last year, the Penang-based Zacharevic caused a stir when he painted a mural of a Lego man with a mask and a knife lying in wait for a Chanel-bag toting Lego character around the corner in Johor Baru - a reference to the city's notorious crime rate.

The Johor Baru city council swiftly whitewashed the wall, but it garnered much international attention and he has been an artist to watch since.

deepikas@sph.com.sg