SINGAPORE - Art Stage Singapore, the company behind what was once Singapore's main visual arts fair, was placed under provisional liquidation on Jan 31, according to a press statement from the restructuring consultancy company appointed to wind it up.
This marks the end for Art Stage Singapore, considered the country's most influential art fair since 2011. It was cancelled abruptly on Jan 16, eight days before its preview opening at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.
A press statement from Acres Advisory on Feb 12 announced the provisional liquidation and that Mr Tee Wey Lih has been appointed the provisional liquidator. He is arranging to recover the company's assets and records.
A creditors' meeting has been scheduled for Feb 28 and the notice of meeting will be issued to the creditors shortly, according to the statement.
In an e-mail to The Straits Times, Acres Advisory said the liquidation process had been initiated by the directors of Art Stage Singapore and estimated that it will take between 12 and 18 months to complete, assuming no complexities develop.
Asked if all the creditors would be getting their money back, a spokesman for Acres replied: "We are still evaluating the situation and in the midst of recovering the company's assets. We would be in a better position to advise the creditors on the recovery prospect in due course."
Art Stage Singapore's fair director is company president Lorenzo Rudolf, and his wife Maria Elena is vice-president. The fair was backed by the National Arts Council, Economic Development Board and Singapore Tourism Board.
Mr Rudolf, a Swiss national, transformed Swiss art fair Art Basel from a quiet trade event into a glamorous, internationally esteemed art show in the 1990s. This led to him being invited by the authorities to set up a similar fair in Singapore.
Art Stage Singapore debuted in 2011 and notched million-dollar sales in its first few editions. However, Mr Rudolf said from 2017 onwards that poor local sales had led to most exhibitors from overseas refusing to take part more than once in the fair.
Last year, there were only 84 exhibitors at the fair, compared with 131 in 2017 and 170 in 2016.
Only 45 exhibitors signed up for this January's Art Stage Singapore and were left scrambling to find alternative space when Mr Rudolf pulled the plug days before opening.