Four S'pore artists to create new works for high-end show

Four Singapore artists will be highlighted at the top-end Art Stage Singapore, as part of the new South-east Asia Platform.

Artists Jane Lee, Sarah Choo, Chun Kai Feng and Jolene Lai will create new works for the contemporary art fair.

Painter Lee, who made a splash with her massive Raw Canvas - created with squiggles of paint - at the 2008 Singapore Biennale, will present another large-scale work. Titled 50 Faces, it will include 50 paintings presented on a 10m-long wall. Some of them will be created in such a way that they will reflect viewers' faces, to add an element of interactivity.

Fair director Lorenzo Rudolf announced these attractions yesterday at a briefing held at the ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay Sands. The fourth edition of the fair will be from Jan 16 to 19 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

Mr Rudolf said the fair is introducing country-specific platforms after the success of this year's Indonesia Platform.

The Indonesia Platform caused controversy when it was announced last year because gallery owners were initially unhappy that the fair organisers were approaching artists directly to programme the showcase. But the pavilion turned out to be the strongest element of this year's fair.

To avoid any controversy for the upcoming edition, Art Stage is working with curators and experts who will pick works by both established and emerging artists from India, China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Central Asia.

The largest platform by size and number of works will be South-east Asia's. Expect newly commissioned projects from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand.

Mr Rudolf, 53, said: "You have to innovate at the fair. You cannot offer the same things each time. We also need to see what exists regionally and see how we can do things differently."

In his opening remarks, he said "there are many Asias" and that, given Singapore's location connecting many parts of the world, there is a chance to "build bridges" through art. The intent is also to go beyond "a classical art fair format" by trying something new.

"The idea is really to look at Asia as a whole, and at South-east Asia in particular."

These platforms will take up about 2,000 sq m or about 20 per cent of the fair's space.

This means there will be fewer galleries - 100 next year against this year's 130 - to make room for the country platforms. Mr Rudolf said the platforms are meant to complement the more traditional art fair gallery offerings.

The art fair, which stumbled a little last year after a splashy debut, got its groove back in January. It drew a record 40,500 visitors, up from 32,000 last year, and ended on all the right notes, receiving rave reviews from visitors, critics and galleries alike.

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