Art SG, Southeast Asias Largest Ever Art Fair, Launches Successfully In Singapore

Art SG, Southeast Asias Largest Ever Art Fair, Launches Successfully In Singapore

After several postponements due to Covid-19, Art SG, the largest art fair in Southeast Asia, the largest art fair in the Asia-Pacific region in a decade, and one of the largest debut art fairs in the world, has finally begun. way. Singapore certainly has its moment with Art SG which attracts top tier art galleries from around the world as well as big local and regional players. The atmosphere at the Marina Bay Sands Exhibition and Convention Center is lively and art collectors are always on the move. I sit down with art fair veteran and Art SG co-founder Magnus Renfrew to discuss the origins of Art SG and its hopes for the fair.

How did the idea for Art SG come about? Why did you choose Singapore to host the region's first trade fair of such international scope?

Tim Etchells and Sandy Angus have been considering a trade show in Singapore for over a decade. I was hired as a co-founder in 2018. Together we shaped the strategy and direction of the exchange. We wanted to create a fair in Southeast Asia that could serve the growing contemporary art audience in the region. Singapore is the natural center of the region, with excellent infrastructure, hotels and restaurants. English and Chinese are widely spoken, it is the region's financial and wealth management center, it is considered "no man's land" and there is probably no place in the world where everyone would feel at home.

What is the essence of the scholarship and what impact do you hope to have on the Singapore art scene?

The purpose of the fair is to establish closer links between galleries, artists, collectors and curators in the region with their counterparts in other parts of Asia and the world. Singapore's natural footprint is Southeast Asia, a bit of Australia, a bit of India. Art SG is how we can bring these communities together in Singapore and enable them to connect with each other and with the rest of Asia.

What are the highlights of Art SG?

It's hard to choose favorites! The strength and breadth of our list of galleries will be the main attraction. It is the largest art fair in Asia in the last decade and one of the largest art fairs in history.

Why did you decide to focus on digital art and blockchain work?

We have a Reframe section dedicated to digital art. Much of the NFT talk over the past 18 months has focused on investing and speculation. We wanted to contextualize the work within the larger context of digital art production over the past few decades and have a meaningful conversation. Singapore is recognized as a major hub for the technology industry and has a strong blockchain community. We welcome the opportunity to promote greater dialogue between the worlds of art and technology.

What can we expect from large-scale, site-specific public art programs?

We will have several large scale installations at the fair to help showcase art outside of the traditional art fair pavilion.

What's going on with the gallery and artist curation at Art SG? What are your selection criteria?

We have a gallery selection committee whose role is to review all applications and decide which galleries to accept. Entries are judged based on the gallery's showing schedule, the level of artists the gallery represents, and the strength of the particular proposal submitted in relation to what they will present at the fair.

How is Art SG different from other art fairs? How would you give Art SG a Singaporean vibe by adapting it to local and regional markets?

Art SG is the largest art fair in Southeast Asia and the largest post-pandemic art fair in Asia. It differs from other art fairs in the region in terms of scale, quality and internationality. Foreign visitors will be interested in getting to know the city by traveling on the Art SG. We have put together a VIP program of events, gallery openings, museum exhibitions and studio tours so that visitors can experience the best of Singapore.

How do you collaborate with Sandy Angus and Tim Etchells at Art SG, bringing together years of experience, knowledge and extensive global connections?

Our diverse experience and knowledge has enabled us to successfully launch art fairs such as Art HK and Taipei Dangdai. Galleries around the world know us and trust our vision given our track record.

What lessons you learned at Art HK, Taipei Dangdai and India Art Fair will you apply to Art SG?

Build local and regional support, maintain strict selectivity standards, and focus on developing new audiences.

What is the potential for the development of contemporary art in Southeast Asia and its rising stars?

Great potential for the development of contemporary art in Southeast Asia. Exceptional work is created by artists from across the region that deserve a wider audience. Our goal is to play a significant role in this.

What are the expected attendance figures for Art SG and how many sales are expected at the fair?

We expect about 40,000 participants. Sales are private transactions between galleries and collectors, so we don't have access to these numbers.

Who is the largest buyer of contemporary art in Southeast Asia today and which collectors does Art SG target?

Artists from Southeast Asia are gaining more and more attention, and their work is being collected by major international institutions and private collectors. It is important to note that Art SG has a truly global reach and we will have over 150 leading galleries from 30 countries participating worldwide.

What have been the main challenges in organizing the fair so far?

The pandemic has been incredibly difficult and has resulted in the launch of the version being delayed. However, we prevailed more strongly and made one of the largest list of exhibitors, which compares favorably with any art fair in the world.

What are your plans for the next releases of Art SG? Where do you hope to hold the fair in 5 or 10 years?

We aim to make Singapore a permanent fixture on the global art calendar and create a strong and meaningful relationship between Southeast Asia and the rest of the world.

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