Strong showing by Singapore artists at contemporary art fair Art Stage Singapore

SINGAPORE - The sixth edition of Art Stage Singapore got off to a promising start on Wednesday evening, with some Singaporean artists making solid sales at a by-invitation-only preview event.

Among them were Singapore painter Jane Lee, who sold an acrylic and heavy gel on fiberglass painting titled Portrait #11 for US$33,000 (S$47,470).

She was joined by Ruben Pang, who sold all four of his oil and alkyd paintings exhibited with Chan Hampe Galleries for $46,000, and artist, Wyn-Lyn Tan, who sold her acrylic on plywood artwork for $17,000 with Fost Gallery.

Gallerist Sundaram Tagore, who sold Lee's painting, said: "There's been a lot of people looking at art, and some strong interest, even on the first day, when we normally don't sell that much." He also sold a mixed media work by Korean artist Chun Kwang Young for US$175,000.

Often billed as Singapore's premier contemporary art fair, Art Stage Singapore is held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, and opens to the public from Thursday.

The ticketed annual event anchors Singapore Art Week,a nine-day festival of visual arts events held at various venues, and is part of efforts by the authorities to position the Republic as a leading art destination.

This year, Art Stage Singapore will showcase art from 173 galleries from about 33 countries. Out of these, 32 are Singapore-based galleries.

It has also organised a slew of talks and forums on the topic of urbanisation. Speakers range from Swiss celebrity art auctioneer Simon de Pury to renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, a professor with Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.

The fair is held around the same time as a new rival fair, Singapore Contemporary Art Show, organised by Hong Kong company Asia Contemporary Art Buyer.

Held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, Singapore Contemporary opens to the public on Friday and runs till Sunday.

Collectors whom The Straits Times interviewed said they are likely to check out the new fair.

Indonesia-based curator and art consultant Claire Thibaud-Piton, who has been here four times, said that Art Stage was "getting more commercial".

"I'm surprised that some big-name galleries, like Ikkan Art, are not here, " said the 51-year-old.

Art collector Amish Mehta, 50, also noticed the absence of some galleries but added:

" Things are still buzzing here, thanks to the Art Week. There's so much to do."

Art Stage Singapore is open to the public till Sunday. For opening hours and admission information, go to www.artstagesingapore.com

jianxuan@sph.com.sg