Singapore ‘Connection’ Brings New Hotel Art Fair to London

Art Apart Fair 2014, a Singapore hotel art fair, is planning to launch a London edition from September 16 to 19, at The Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green, one of three properties in the U.K. capital owned by Singaporean hotelier Loh Lik Peng.

Fair founder and director Rosalin Lim said, she chose London over Hong Kong because she felt the latter already had a crowded calendar for hotel art fairs and Asian art while London has none to her knowledge. “There are many other art fairs, and so I think a hotel art fair there will be more pocket-friendly for emerging artists and smaller galleries. London is also English speaking, so I think it will be very comfortable to expand there,” she explained. She reached out to fellow Singaporean Loh, who has a well-known interest in art having commissioned several site-specific art installations in his hotels.
“I think it’s quite a unique concept and in the East End we’re near many art galleries, so we’ve always had close connections to art and it made a lot of sense. So for us it’s a natural fit,” Peng quips. The Town Hall Hotel has several site-specific artworks by artists based in London’s vibrant East End and curated by Arts admin. They range from sculpture and collage to film and keycards.

The Art Apart Fair is holding its third edition in Singapore next week at the Parkroyal on Pickering and the event coincides with the established Art Stage Singapore. The hotel fair, which has a strong focus on emerging artists, brings together only 33 galleries, but will offer more than 1,500 works from countries including China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Russia, Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, South Africa, Australia, Taiwan, Germany, Switzerland, Indonesia, as well as works from Singapore.

The fair will offer two special feature exhibitions, an installation titled “The Destruction of the Readymade Everyday Vol.1: How to “Trash” the Hotel Room without a Mass,” which is curated by Justin Loke and Joshua Yang (two of the three members of the art collective Verticale Submarine). The two curators selected a series of new works by painter-sculptor Chiew Sien Kuan, Samuel Chen, artist designer LIYU, architect Ian Tan and fresh names such as Yang Jie, Ben Yap, Lim Cheng Jun, and Associate Dictators. All works are made using materials from destroyed, deformed, old, and malfunctioning readymade objects as a reaction to rampant consumerism and mass reproduction.

The fair is also presenting “The Artists’ Garden” in the Presidential Suite of the hotel, a selection of 100 pieces from the participating galleries especially curated by Rosalind Lim and Joo Lee.

Lim says she wants to keep the fair in Singapore small at around 45-40 galleries, but hopes to improve each year on the quality of the artworks presented. “We’re working more and more towards helping young emerging and mid-career artists who are really good and could become more established one day, because all established artist s were at one time emerging,” Lim said.

She also plans to take the fair to New York in April 2015. While Singapore is a biannual event the fairs in London and New York will only take place once a year, she noted. She added that five galleries participating in the Singapore fair have already expressed interest in participating in London. “Ideally, I would hope for half Asian and half European/American,” she said.

Art Apart Fair 2014 is running January 17 to 19.

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