4 art fairs here go head to head in the coming fortnight

Spot Art

There's The Ocean (2014) a wood, epoxy and stone inlay work by India's Lalitha Bandaru. -- PHOTO: SPOT ART

If you think you have an eye for undiscovered talent, head to Spot Art this weekend. All the artists exhibited are below 30 and some of them may not even be out of school.

Spot Art, an annual Singapore- based juried competition and exhibition, recruits these budding artists through an open call, which includes canvassing 25 art universities and institutions in the South-east Asian region.

The submissions are then curated by a panel of seven established artists and curators, including Singapore visual artist and Cultural Medallion recipient Milenko Prvacki as well as Canada- born, Singapore-based curator, lecturer and critic Iola Lenzi.

Mr Jerry Gunn, founder and director of Spot Art, says: "It is the mission of Spot Art to broaden the profile of young artists of exceptional talent who have limited exposure in the global art arena.

Momentary Escape (2014) a wood and paper work by Singapore artist Danielle Tay. -- PHOTO: SPOT ART

"It is an uncompromising platform from which top young artists can take the first or next step in their careers."

This is the second year of the competition and exhibition and more than 100 works by 48 artists from 12 countries will be on display. Mr Gunn says the review process is highly selective, with less than 10 per cent of submissions making the cut.

The artists work in a variety of disciplines, including drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, video and installation. The topics they tackle range from explorations in colour and form to topics of ecological, geopolitical and sociological interest to more personal notions of cultural heritage, gender and identity.

Artworks are available for purchase and the pieces range from $500 to $6,000. Highlights include a selection of wood and paper works by local artist Danielle Tay, who graduated with a diploma in fine arts from Lasalle College of the Arts in 2010 and was selected to exhibit at Art Experiment 3 at the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow last year.

Triumph (2013) a digital print work by Thai photographer Charit Pusiri. -- PHOTO: SPOT ART

The fair will also feature digital prints by Thai photographer Charit Pusiri, who was a gold award winner at the prestigious Prix de la Photographie, Paris competition last year.

Unlike regular art fairs, where galleries represent artists to exhibit their works, Spot Art cuts out the middleman, giving the young practitioners greater exposure to the industry, says Mr Gunn.

He adds of the exhibition: "It is a single spot where patrons and collectors alike can experience a highly selective collection of multi-faceted works from an often fragmented art scene in South-east Asia."

Lisabel Ting

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Where: ARTrium@MCI, 140 Hill Street, 01-01A Old Hill Street Police Station

When: Friday to next Tuesday, 11am to 7pm

Admission: Free

Affordable Art Fair

China-born artist Leo Liu's oil on board painting Instinc Zhong (2014). -- PHOTO: AFFORDABLE ART FAIR

More affordable art will be on offer in the fifth edition of the Affordable Art Fair Singapore.

Launched here in 2010, the fair has made new additions to its format over the years. These include the Young Talent Programme, which showcases selected artists aged between 18 and 35 who have not been represented by a gallery, and the Under $1,000 Wall, which highlights a selection of artworks in that price bracket from galleries exhibiting at the fair.

Fair director Camilla Hewitson says its mission is to "grow the market by offering quality contemporary art at affordable prices that everyone can enjoy and have access to". To that end, the fair is "introducing new names, continuing to make art accessible to everyone and by educating people who have never bought art before".

There are several artworks to look out for when the four-day fair opens on Thursday, including China-born, Singapore-based artist Leo Liu's realistic oil on board paintings that are inspired by local cultures.

Indonesian artist Dey Irfan's artworks, on the other hand, are a nod to the various media that can be used to create art. With calico - a plain- woven textile - as his base, he uses acrylic and embroidery to reflect on how canvases and artistic sensibilities can develop.

Still Life With White Wine & Olives (2014) an oil on polar wood panel by British artist Jessica Brown. -- PHOTO: AFFORDABLE ART FAIR

Those seeking realism can look for artists such as Jessica Brown. The British artist's still-life works have been hailed internationally for her craftsmanship as well as skill in capturing even the tiniest details, so much so her paintings are sometimes mistaken for photographs.

Expect to see works from home- grown names such as Cultural Medallion recipient Lim Tze Peng and emerging artist Ashley Yeo alongside top international artists such as British contemporary artist Marc Quinn. More than 100 galleries will show artworks by more than 900 artists.

Prices range from $100 to $10,000, with about 75 per cent of the pieces below $7,500.

Galleries showing at the fair for the first time include Purpa Art Gallery from Indonesia and Art Square from Malaysia.

Art Square will represent Ernest Zacharevic, a Malaysia-based Lithuanian artist who has made headlines for transforming the streets of Penang with his lively murals.

Last year, he caused a stir with a mural in Johor Baru of a Lego man with a mask and a knife lying in wait for a Chanel bag-toting character coming around the corner - a reference to the city's notorious crime rate. The Johor Baru city council swiftly whitewashed the wall, but the art garnered much international attention.

The global Affordable Art Fair, which started in London in 1999, is known for its relaxed vibe which makes it less intimidating for first- time buyers than high-end art fairs.

It is this ambience which continues to draw galleries to participate. One such returning gallerist is Catherine de Dietrich of French gallery C2A.

She says: "I am happy to connect in this lively arena with passionate new art lovers and experienced collectors, weaving Eastern and Western cultures in a space where dreams are affordable."

Deepika Shetty

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Where: F1 Pit Building, 1 Republic Boulevard

When: Thursday to Sunday, noon to 9pm (Thursday), noon - 6pm (Friday), 11am - 8pm (Saturday), 11am - 6pm (Sunday)

Admission: $15, $8 (students and seniors), $50 (group of four adults), free for children under 16. Sistic advanced sales online (booking fees apply): $12 for general admission, $40 for group package (four adults). Tickets for Arty-Licious Evening on Friday from 6 to 10pm are at $35 at the door or $30 from Sistic. Go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555

Info: Call 6220-5682 or go to AffordableArtFair.com/Singapore

Singapore Art Fair

Tunisia-born artist Atef Maatallah's pencil, pen and acrylic on canson paper work Afala Yandhoroun (2014). -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE ART FAIR

The first edition of the Singapore Art Fair is focusing on curated platforms and gallery displays.

Among its highlights is a 300 sq m exhibition space dedicated to a pavilion showing art from the Middle East and North Africa.

It is curated by esteemed curator Catherine David, a former artistic director of the prestigious international art exhibition Documenta, and will present works by seven young and emerging artists from the region.

The Lebanese Pavilion will focus on the Lebanese contemporary art scene. The works will be curated around the theme Art Beyond Violence.

Lebanese artist Alfred Tarazi's mixed-media work A Nation's Inflation. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE ART FAIR

One work to look out for here is Lebanese artist Alfred Tarazi's politically charged mixed-media work titled A Nation's Inflation, a satirical representation of a 20,000 Lebanese currency note that reflects on the politics that influences the economy.

Another work is renowned Lebanese photographer and videographer Roger Moukarzel's video art piece. It will be the international premiere of his work titled So Far, So Close that, like the rest of his art, reflects on the landscape of his region as well as its culture.

Art from South and South-east Asia will also feature prominently in the 6,100 sq m fair that will have about 60 galleries as well as 20 smaller booths dedicated to solo shows. Prices start from $8,000.

Galleries from Europe, Asia and the Middle East are participating in the fair. These include Beirut's prominent family-run Emmagoss Art Gallery, Bangkok's Adler Subhashok Gallery and Singapore's Sana Gallery, which specialises in Middle Eastern art.

Adding to the cross-cultural mix is the Dato Ibrahim Hussein Pavilion presented by the late Malaysian artist and collector's daughter Alia Ibrahim Hussein.

The pavilion will feature seven artworks - mostly acrylics on canvases - done by the widely recognised artist who has been hailed for his complex abstract artworks.

The artist, who died of a heart attack in 2009, is also known for creating his own museum-in-the-rainforest - the Ibrahim Hussein Cultural Foundation Museum in Pulau Langkawi.

Iranian artist Amir Hossein Zanjani's oil on canvas Conductor (2013). -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE ART FAIR

Cedralys, organiser of the five- year-old Beirut Art Fair and MP Singapore, a local exhibitions and conventions organiser, are the partners behind the Singapore Art Fair.

Mr Jason Ng, executive director of MP Singapore, says: "We believe there is room for a dedicated art fair such as ours to establish itself in the region. The Singapore Art Fair has a unique niche and that sets it apart from other fairs."

Ms Laure d'Hauteville, founder and fair director of the Beirut Art Fair and Singapore Art Fair, hopes its showcases of Middle Eastern and Asian art will help strengthen cultural dialogues.

She also points to the increased interest worldwide in art from the Middle East. "Things are politically charged in the Middle East and, across the world, people are watching the artistic responses to the situation in the region."

Deepika Shetty

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Where: Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, Level 4, Halls 401 to 403

When: Nov 27 to Nov 30, Nov 27 is the Vernissage and admission is by invite only from 6 to 10pm, open to public from Nov 28 to 30, from noon to 7pm

Admission: $20 a day (single admission), $40 (season pass for three days), $10 (for students). Tickets are available at the door. Free admission for children below 12 and seniors above 60

Bank Art Fair

Arrival (above) by Norway's Elling Reitan. -- PHOTO: ELLING REITAN AND ASHOK JAIN GALLERY

This weekend, alongside fluffy bathrobes and travel-sized bottles of shampoo, the seventh and eighth floors of Pan Pacific Singapore's hotel rooms will also house an array of artworks for sale.

The pieces will be laid out on plush hotel beds, propped up on nightstands or balanced on sofas.

Bank Art Fair's hotel-as-a-gallery concept was launched last year at the Island Shangri-La Hotel, Hong Kong and has since travelled to China and South Korea.

Founder and director of the fair, South Korean Tomy Kim, says: "The idea was to create a refreshing visual experience for visitors who can connect to the pieces in a more intimate setting, in comparison with the traditional showrooms with cold white-walled cubicles."

Mr Kim has been in the art business for more than a decade and is particularly interested in young, emerging artists "who do not have access to the market due to political and economic barriers".

"I hope to help guide them to the global art market by organising art fairs and thus engaging the promising artists with art lovers."

The fair will feature 1,000 artworks by about 300 artists, curated by 53 galleries from 15 countries and territories including Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India, Russia, the United States and Hong Kong. Some of the pieces will be on sale, priced from US$100 to US$20,000 (S$130 to S$26,000).

Singapore-born photographer Billy Mork's work, Going Forward - Home Sweet Home. -- PHOTO: BILLY MORK AND IMMAGINI ART GALLERY

Highlights include a wide range of Korean art - more than half of the participating galleries are from South Korea - and photographs by Singapore-born photographer Billy Mork. He specialises in black- and-white analogue photography and has exhibited in cities such as Los Angeles and Busan.

Although there will be other art fairs clustered around that period, Mr Kim says that rather than viewing them as competition, he sees them as generating more buzz and visibility for the art as a whole.

"Exhibitions used to be held by individual galleries, where only a limited number of artists and artworks were shown at one time," he says.

"One of the key objectives of Bank Art Fair is to create visibility for emerging artists and with other exhibitions around the corner, we aim to take the opportunity by unofficially joining forces with other exhibitions in creating an impactful art movement in Singapore."

Lisabel Ting

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Where: Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard

When: Friday to Sunday, 6 to 8pm

Admission: Free

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