SINGAPORE - Celebrated London-based collaborative duo Gilbert & George will present new work for the fifth edition of Art Stage Singapore next year.
While details of the work are not available yet, the Turner Prize-winning duo who believe in "art for all" will create a large installation specially for the fair.
Gilbert Proesch, 71, and George Passmore, 72, cut distinctive figures in the contemporary art scene in their tweed suits, and their art has attracted media attention because it has featured nudity and bodily excretions.
Other public artwork highlights include a monumental 3.5m Standing Woman sculpture by Colombian artist Fernando Botero, an installation of 8,000 brass bells titled Mystic Abode by leading Indian artist Paresh Maity and Indonesian artist Titarubi's installation Imagao Mundu, which presents a large robe made of gold-plated nutmegs.
The fair, which will be held from Jan 22 to 25 at Marina Bay Sands, returns with 153 galleries from 29 countries. These are largely from the Asia- Pacific region and 34 are Singapore galleries.
Among the new exhibitors are two established galleries from the United States, Paul Kasmin and Marc Strauss.
Singapore works to look out for include Suzann Victor's red pendulous installation of chandeliers titled Contours Of A Rich Manoeuvre, which will be displayed in a prominent space at the fair.
Other highlights include a curated South-east Asia Platform, the introduction of a Russia Platform and a Video Platform. Each of these will feature works selected by curators appointed by the fair. The idea is to have curated sections alongside works from commercial galleries at the fair.
Asked about the introduction of the Russia Platform, director Lorenzo Rudolf says: "As Asia's most innovative fair, Art Stage Singapore continues to focus on new regions as well as countries not showcased before. Geographically, a large part of Russia is in Asia."
The Russia Platform is curated by Olga Sviblova, director of the Multimedia Museum, Moscow, and curator of the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and 2009. It will present contemporary art from Russia.
As in the past, the main focus remains South-east Asia. The fair has appointed independent Singapore curator Khim Ong for the South-east Asia Platform. Titled Eagles Fly, Sheep Flock: Biographical Imprints - Artistic Practices In South-east Asia, the platform will feature 15 artists from the region.
Of these, five are Singapore artists: Zaki Razak, 35, multi-disciplinary artist and 2013 Young Artist Award recipient; Chong Weixin, 26, who graduated with a master's in printmaking from London's College of Art; performance and installation artist Mike Chang, 32; painter Hilmi Johandi, 27; and multi-disciplinary artist Choy Ka Fai, 35.
Art Stage is also strengthening art partnerships and networks in the region.
To this end, it has appointed prominent Indonesian businessman and collector Tom Tandio as its regional director for Indonesia. Mr Rudolf says this is a step forward as "Indonesia is South-east Asia's biggest art market and a prominent market for us".
"We also need to connect and matchmake the South-east Asian art scenes."
Asked about "competition" with Art Basel Hong Kong, which has moved its dates from May to March, making it closer to the Singapore fair, Mr Rudolf says the fairs are "complementary".
He calls Art Basel Hong Kong "a big classic brand".
"It is a global brand coming to Asia. It is like Gucci opening a Gucci store in Tokyo and selling Gucci bags. We have to be small, young, innovative, always a step ahead.
"But that is the challenge and the risk of every young brand, and that is also what makes us innovative. In other words, we are the place where you can discover Asia and see young fresh art you do not see in other places."
This article was first published on November 6, 2014.
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