Fair ending for Art Stage Singapore, drawing record number of visitors

Singapore's premier art fair, Art Stage Singapore got its groove back in the third edition.

Drawing a record 40,500 visitors, up from 32,000 last year, the contemporary art fair, closed on all the right notes on Sunday.

The open layout, stronger works by Asian galleries, attention to curation reflected in the healthy sales and generally happy faces.

The picture was quite different from the last edition, when fair director Mr Lorenzo Rudolf left with a group of key collectors for a tour of Indonesia hours before the fair closed.

Referring to the many side events anchored around the fair, Mr Rudolf said: "It is beautiful to see it happen in such a coordinated way. As fair organisers, we have learnt from the past too. With the third edition, we are clearly on the right track towards building a clear Asian identity for the fair and with it, growing the South-east Asian art scene."

Indeed, his much discussed Indonesian Pavilion turned out to be one of the highlights and it was Asian artworks that got seasoned art buyers interested.

Several international art collectors such as Swiss Uli Sigg, a prominent collector of Chinese contemporary art, Chinese-Indonesian Budi Tek, India's Lekha Poddar, and France's Dominique and Sylvain Levy, were in town for the fair.

Mr Levy stayed till the last hours of the fair and said he was "impressed" by all the arts events built around it.

Calling the third edition "outstanding", Paris-based Mr Levy, 59, said: "I have been most impressed by the South-east Asian art I have seen. There is a clear shift in the artistic narrative. There is rising self-confidence, the artists are more focused on their own societies and this is reflected in the strong works they have presented."

The fair's ending on Sunday capped a frenzied 10 days of arts events in Singapore. Multiple gallery openings, museum exhibitions, auctions, the first hotel art fair drew an unprecedent number of collectors, artists, dealers and art lovers going from one place to the next.

Painter Milenko Prvacki, who moved here 21 years ago from Yugoslavia, recalled he had "not seen anything like this in Singapore before".

"We had one museum and two to three art galleries. I never thought I would live to see this in my time," said the 61-year-old.