Firms offer free space after Art Stage cancellation

Works of Eddy Susanto at Art Stage Singapore 2017. This year's fair, the ninth edition, was supposed to run from Jan 25 to 27 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, but was cancelled nine days before it was due to start.
Works of Eddy Susanto at Art Stage Singapore 2017. This year's fair, the ninth edition, was supposed to run from Jan 25 to 27 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, but was cancelled nine days before it was due to start.ST FILE PHOTO

Grocery shoppers might get to admire some new world-class art as they browse the shelves of food at Habitat by Honestbee next week.

The high-tech supermarket in Pasir Panjang is among the commercial entities that have stepped forward to help galleries affected by the sudden cancellation of Art Stage Singapore, the biggest contemporary art fair here.

"We will take into consideration the subject matter, context and size of the works to determine how we can collaborate with the artist and gallery," said managing director Pauline Png, adding that it is offering its space for free.

The fair's ninth edition was supposed to run from Jan 25 to 27 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, but was cancelled nine days before its start.

Art Stage's founder Lorenzo Rudolf cited a "difficult market situation" and "unequal competition" from another fair at Gillman Barracks - referring to the new boutique fair S.E.A. Focus which runs from Jan 24 to 27 - as reasons for cancelling the event.

Since then, there has been a groundswell of support from the community, with galleries, artists and even home owners offering to host exhibitions.

Many posted their offers on a Facebook group called Art Stage SOS, started by online art magazine Plural Art Mag.

 
 
 
 

Corporates have also come forward - Far East Organization is offering space in its properties along the Orchard Road area, while Volvo is willing to convert a 120 sq m space - previously home to its art gallery Volvo Art Loft - at its showroom in Alexandra Road into gallery space.

Big Tiny, a start-up promoting the tiny house movement, has offered its 2,000 sq ft office space, which also has two 150 sq ft mobile homes.

All three companies are offering their spaces for free.

Container storage space Le Freeport in Changi North Crescent has 18 showrooms available, each 75 sq m to 82 sq m and equipped with hanging systems and lighting. It will charge $80 a day for each one.

Fair participants were livid after receiving news of the cancellation, as many had shipped in artworks, booked hotel rooms and paid for plane tickets.

Gnani Arts had planned to stage a protest by destroying artworks at its gallery in Tanglin Shopping Centre yesterday, but cancelled it after advice from friends and collectors.

It will now hold an event called My Art Stage on Jan 26, where director P. Gnana will create a new painting "to look forward to new and brighter things that are to come".

• People who would like to help can visit www.facebook.com/groups/467867243743976/

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2019, with the headline 'Firms offer free space after Art Stage cancellation'. Print Edition | Subscribe