Art Stage - A few final thoughts

Zeng Fanzhi in front of his "covered"sculpture

Was Art Stage a success? yes. Could it have been better? yes. Will it help Singapore get on the art map? possibly, much will depend on next year...

The fair was cohesive in its approach and there was some good quality works (and some not so good either, but that's to be expected everywhere). Interestingly, the latest works by established Asian artists showcased shifts in their career. MAD presented Zeng Fanzhi's wooden covered Madonna sculpture, a clear departure from the artist's "disordered brush" painting. Most people walked by having clearly no idea this was a piece by the top Chinese artist at auction. Li Chen now uses wood planks to "construct" his sculpture (see previous post). I saw some very interesting Masriadi paintings that seem to have a clearer, more pointed message.

More importantly, some of the world's top collectors (with big pockets) did make the trip. Lekha & Anupam Poddar, Don & Mera Rubell from Miami and Guy Ullens (all ranks within the top 10 most influential collectors in contemporary art attended, and so did other important Asian collectors like Robert Chang and Budi Tek.

Three paintings by Takashi Murakami (who made a very brief appearance) sold for US$2.2 million, four bronze sculptures by Li Chen sold for US$480,000. Several galleries I talk to were "quite" happy by their results, having sold several pieces.

Shock factor: The Indian artist T.Vankanna sat on a bench in the nude and took picture with visitors seating next to him. Indonesian artist Ronald Manullang's monochromatic works focusing on Hitler (pregnant) got the strongest reaction (some loved them , some hated them). One painting of Hitler with a baby in his lap and Holocaust victim Anne Frank standing next to them with a Mac in her hand reportedly sold for $33,000. Frankly I didn't get it and I wonder why an Indonesian artist has to use Hitler image to express himself, beyond the shock value (which he got).