Collectors snap up works by Singapore artists

Collectors snap up works by Singapore artists
Huang Po-chih from Taiwan mixing an alcoholic lemon drink in his performance art.

It was once taken for granted that sales for Singapore artists' works would pick up only in the dying hours of Art Stage Singapore.

This time though, collectors were snapping up artworks by the likes of Jane Lee, Suzann Victor and Henry Lee at the vernissage, the fair's opening night for invited guests.

The changing fortunes of home-grown artists contributed to the buoyant mood at the annual contemporary art fair, now in its fifth year and held at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre from last Wednesday to Sunday.

It ended with visitor numbers at a record high of 51,000, up from 45,700 last year.

The fair was packed on most days.

Students clutching Singapore Art Week pull-outs done by Life! rubbed shoulders with art collectors on the prowl.

The Straits Times is the official media partner of Singapore Art Week - a blockbuster week of art events coinciding with Art Stage.

Key international and regional collectors who were checking out the artworks included not just Art Stage regulars such as Switzerland's Uli Sigg, British-Italian art lovers David and Serenella Ciclitira and Indonesia's Dr Oei Hong Djien.

New faces included media baron and prominent Swiss art collector Michael Ringier and Jorge Perez, one of America's leading collectors and the brains behind the Perez Art Museum Miami.

The fair's show-stopper though, was singer T.O.P. of Korean band Big Bang, who created quite a flutter when he showed up for the vernissage last Wednesday. He was in town for the Prudential Eye Awards, a regional arts award organised by the Ciclitiras.

The presence of many collectors from around the world and Asia was reflected in the fair's sales.

British artist Damien Hirst's 2008 artwork Amorous, made up of actual butterfly wings stuck onto a surface of wet paint, hit the headlines after it sold for $2.15 million to a regional collector.

London's White Cube gallery, which made the sale, also sold a work by another controversial British artist Tracey Emin, for £75,000 (S$151,216).

Sundaram Tagore Gallery, which has branches in New York, Hong Kong as well as Singapore's Gillman Barracks, sold several artworks including one by Japanese master Hiroshi Senju for US$410,000 (S$551,357).

A monumental sculpture by famed Colombian artist Fernando Botero sold for an undisclosed amount.

Botero's representative, International Art, was tight-lipped about the price though Botero's large sculptures have in the past set auction records.

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