Australian Gallerist: Singapore Fair Could Trump Hong Kong

Australian Gallerist: Singapore Fair Could Trump Hong Kong
The Brenda May Gallery booth featuring a buddha sculpture by Will Coles
(Brenda May Gallery)

The general consensus regarding the 2013 edition of Art Stage Singapore is that the fair was a great success – much more so than the 2012 edition. Sales were strong and buying trends reflected the dominant presence of knowledgeable and discerning collectors and investors who were  interested in more than just big names.  All the Australian galleries that took part in Art Stage Singapore 2013 found success in one way or another.  Those galleries that didn't make sales during the fair were at least able to develop valuable connections and leads.

Ursula Sullivan of Sydney’s Sullivan + Strumpf Fine Art had a successful exhibition of works by Australian hyper-realist sculptor Sam Jinks.  “Art Stage Singapore was brilliant this year. After 2012, we almost did not come back as it was a bit of a tragedy, but thankfully we did,” Sullivan said. “Opening night was full of great collectors and active buyers who truly engaged with the work of Sam Jinks. We took three works to the fair and sold six, with a combined total of $300,000 AUD.”

Sydney gallery Utopian Slumps sold six works from their exhibition of works by Austrailan painter William Mackinnon totalling $30,750 AUD.  “We sold mainly to Australians, perhaps due to this being our first art fair participation in Singapore, thus limiting our market reach,” said Utopian Slumps Director Melissa Loughnan

Paul Greenaway of Adelaide’s Greenaway Gallery was particularly upbeat stating that “Art Stage Singapore has such potential that it could do better than Hong Kong.” Greenaway sold a number of pieces from their solo show of videos by Iranian/Australian artist Nasim Nasr. The first, “Beshkan,” a single channel work screened on the floor, was an edition of five of which two were sold and one put on reserve. One was sold to a German gallerist while the other was sold to a French collector living in Singapore.

The second work from Greenaway’s Nasr show, a ten-channel work titled “What to do,” was even more successful with all but one of the edition of five going to new homes. One was sold to a Dutch Museum, one to a major collector from Qatar, one to a Swiss collector living in Singapore, and one to an anonymous client who purchased through a consultant. “So the bottom line is ... we did extremely well and the artist will have other opportunities as a result of this showing,” Greenaway said.  “Art Stage Singapore has such potential that it could do better than Hong Kong. There is an art literate audience willing to embrace contemporary art and not just buy a big name.”

Melbourne gallerist Anna Pappas managed to fine new homes for a number of pieces by Berlin-based Armenian artist Sam Grigorian that were not part of her Art Stage show and reported that Australian sculptor Ewen Coates was particularly well received with two works by the artist put on reserve.  Ms Pappas was also able to confirm that Ewen Coates' entire “Overground” installation will be exhibited at the Residency of Australia’s High Commissioner  to Singapore, Mr Philip Green.  “For us as always, the fair has had a very positive outcome; we love it and we would like to return. Many of the Australian galleries recorded sales, and the ones who did not, had other positive connections or outcomes,” said Pappas.

A sculpture of a gold buddha by street-sculptor Will Coles created so much interest at the Brenda May Gallery booth that a poster featuring the sculpture was pinched on the opening night from the Australian Art Collector booth.  The Sydney-based gallery also attracted plenty of attention with their exhibition of works by Sydney-based artist Mylyn Nguyen.