STPI Emi Eu: Art Basel Application “Harder than Princeton's"

Having applied every year to participate in Art Basel, the Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI) finally got its golden ticket to join the prestigious art fair on its seventh attempt.

Come June, it will be presenting paper works produced in its workshops by the artistic duo Wu Shanzhuan and Inga S. Thorsdottir, Korean artist Haegue Yang, along with works by Singapore artists Heman Chong and Genevieve Chua.

“As this is our first time ever, and because we assume most of the visitors are from Europe and may not be familiar with us, we want to showcase what we’ve done with some artists that are well-known in Europe and also use this opportunity to promote young Singaporean artists,” explains STPI director Emi Eu.

Along with Chong and Chua, the STPI booth will also present a short video work by Ho Tzu Nyen, who was included in a recent Guggenheim show on Southeast Asia artists and he will also be showing a short film “GOULD” in Art Basel’s film section.

“When I first applied to Art Basel, it was harder than the college application for Princeton. I still remember I worked for a good solid week in preparing that the application,” recalled Eu, detailing how she had to give three years of exhibition schedules, a run-down of the other fairs the gallery has been attending, a list of the artists it has been working with and the all-important booth concept that “must align with a gallery’s usual programming.”

Over the weekend, Eu also found its application to Art Basel Miami had also been accepted this year for the first time.

Her advice to galleries dreaming of making the cut, “you have to take it very seriously, because the selection committee looks at every single line,” she said, while adding that a mistake galleries sometimes make, particularly in Asia, is to give much more information than is really needed. She would know; Eu is on the Art Basel Hong Kong selection committee and has looked at hundreds of applications for this year’s edition of that fair which start next week.

Eu acknowledgedbeing on the Hong Kong Committee “didn’t harmed” the STPI application for Basel, "Being asked to be on the selection committee for Art Basel Hong Kong is recognition for the work that we do and our role in today’s contemporary art landscape where we can help bridge galleries from the region and this international platform. Yes, we do file an application like everybody else and my team works continuously to ensure our programming is fresh and relevant.”

STPI is also participating in Art Basel Hong Kong where it will be showcasing works byRichard Deacon, Hong Zhu An, Chun Kwang Young, and Eko Nugroho, thus providing a sneak preview of Nugroho’s upcoming show to open at the STPI in July.

For Eu, participating in high profile international art fairs is extremely important to attract not only the attention of collectors, but also that of artists.

“I want to work with artists based in Europe. They can’t come here to see my workshop and the things we do, so we’re reaching out,” she said.

While participating at the Armory Show in New York, STPI took the opportunity to visit the studio of Pakistani artist Shahzia Sikander and is now likely to work with the artist next year.

“The fairs are the best and most direct route for our multi-pronged marketing to artist, to collectors, and to museums. In particular Art Basel, because we know many museum directors will take the time to go and see it. That’s why it’s so important for everybody to go there. The people that matter in our industry are all there,” she added.