Fewer galleries at Art Stage Singapore 2018

Art Stage started in 2011 as a flagship art fair helmed by Swiss national Lorenzo Rudolf, who transformed the Art Basel fair into a major event.
Art Stage started in 2011 as a flagship art fair helmed by Swiss national Lorenzo Rudolf, who transformed the Art Basel fair into a major event. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Less than 100 galleries have confirmed a presence at Art Stage Singapore 2018, which runs from Jan 26 to 28 at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

This is a fall from 130 galleries at the art fair this year and 170 in 2016.

There were only 33,200 visitors to the fair this year compared with 40,500 in 2016.

Art Stage started in 2011 as a flagship art fair helmed by Swiss national Lorenzo Rudolf, who transformed the Art Basel fair into a major event.

Mr Rudolf said the gloomy economic outlook worldwide was only one factor in the decline of his fair's popularity.

His team had brought in more than 500 galleries to the Singapore fair since 2011, but many refused to return, citing poor sales and sales only to those already established as collectors.

"We have a market that's very, very weak and in eight years it has not grown," he said during a press event at the ArtScience Museum on Thursday (Nov 30).

He would not speculate on the future of the fair, which anchors Singapore Art Week, a 12-day visual arts extravaganza in January, organised by the National Arts Council, Singapore Tourism Board and Economic Development Board.

Art Stage hopes to woo buyers next year with a focus on Thai artists. Ten galleries from Thailand will exhibit the works of art stars such as Natee Utarit and Kamin Lertchaiprasert.

Mr Rudolf has also organised private tours to the homes of Singapore-based collectors, open to VIP art enthusiasts in the Art Stage database.