Contemporary art fair Art Stage returns for its seventh edition

Visitors at the Art Stage Singapore held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre on Jan 20, 2016. Art Stage Singapore is set to return for its seventh edition this year.
Visitors at the Art Stage Singapore held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre on Jan 20, 2016. Art Stage Singapore is set to return for its seventh edition this year. PHOTO: ST FILE

Contemporary art fair Art Stage Singapore returns for its seventh edition amid a sluggish economy and with fewer galleries, but the fair organiser remains upbeat about the event.

This edition features 131 galleries from 27 countries as compared with the last fair, which drew 170 galleries from 32 countries. The fair is open to the public from Jan 12.

At a press briefing today, ahead of the VIP preview, the fair's founder and president Lorenzo Rudolf said Art Stage Singapore has remained a part of the art scene even as galleries have come and gone because of its "special" position as a platform for showcasing South-east Asian art and placing it in the international spotlight.

He said the opening of new galleries and museums owned by private art collectors in the region is further reason for his optimism about the fair.

"I'm not afraid about our future as long as we play our strength together," he said.

Close to 35 per cent of the galleries at the fair are from South-east Asia and 75 per cent of the total galleries are from Asia.

The fair includes the Southeast Asian Forum, which comprises an exhibition and a series of lectures that explore topics such as the value of art and the art market.

Speakers at the forum include Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam's director Beatrix Ruf and Brussels-based art collector Alain Servais.

Another feature of the fair is a showcase of works owned by six Singapore-based collectors including Mr Hady Ang, Mr Michael Tay and Mr and Mrs Michelangelo Samson, which aims to pay tribute to collectors.

The fair is part of Singapore Art Week, an annual round-up of visual arts events that runs till Jan 22.

A joint initiative by the National Arts Council, Singapore Tourism Board and Singapore Economic Development Board, the 12-day event features close to 100 activities including exhibitions, workshops and talks.

lijie@sph.com.sg