New fair ART SG a landmark global arts event

The highly anticipated launch of ART SG, the new international art fair for Southeast Asia, closed to significant critical acclaim amid reports of buoyant sales. Held across four public days, the fair featured a strong line-up of 164 galleries from 35 countries and territories worldwide alongside carefully curated talks and film programmes.

Hailed by many as the beginning of a new chapter for the art market in Asia, consensus has quickly built that ART SG will play a critical role in developing the audience for contemporary art in the region and in connecting Southeast Asia to the wider art world. ART SG brought together galleries, collectors, institutions, artists, organisations and art-lovers alike, fostering crucial opportunities for dialogue, discovery and exchange. Presented over two floors of the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, ART SG, organized by The Art Assembly, welcomed 42,706 visitors to its first edition.

ART SG’s rich programming, as part of the dynamic Singapore Art Week (SAW), has firmly placed Singapore as a key feature on the international art world map. Leading cultural institutions and galleries across the city held exhibition openings, artist performances, and special events, providing international visitors wide-ranging opportunities to explore Singapore’s diverse and vibrant cultural fabric in the lead up to and throughout the fair’s opening.

Magnus Renfrew, Co-Founder, ART SG, said: “The launch of ART SG represents the beginning of the next phase of the development of the art market in Asia. We are so grateful for the support of our galleries and partners who have come together for the inaugural edition of the fair. Amongst a diverse spread of arts events across the whole city, we are also deeply thankful for the support of the city and the people of Singapore for making the first iteration a highly attended and celebrated moment in a world-class art week. We firmly believe that the success of the fair through robust sales, exceptional presentations and curated programming has cemented Singapore as a vital art market hub for the Asia Pacific.”

Shuyin Yang, Fair Director, ART SG, commented: “It has been thrilling to launch an international fair of such high quality for Southeast Asia. One of the most exciting outcomes we have witnessed is that many galleries met new collectors at ART SG, fostering new relationships, as well as having the opportunity to reconnect with old friends. Additionally, it was great to see robust sales made to collectors from the Asia Pacific and beyond. The inaugural edition was a strong and dynamic start to the year, and we look forward to kicking-off the global cultural calendar year after year.”

August Hatecke, Co-Head Global Wealth Management Asia Pacific and Country Head Singapore at UBS, said “What an important moment for Art in Singapore! Having been to art shows around the world, I believe ART SG is on par with some of the best. As the nexus for Southeast Asia’s dynamic landscape, this is the time and place to hold an art fair of such scale and international significance; and UBS is delighted to be the founding and lead partner. We are proud to provide this new platform that encourages conversations about art and the dynamic growing cultural scenes in Southeast Asia; and to make further connections through art by sharing ideas, bringing opportunities to life to make a real impact.”

International and local institutional attendance

The fair attracted a truly global audience, including a significant number of private collectors as well as representatives from local, regional, and international art institutions. Thousands of VIPs attended the preview day of ART SG, including local and international collectors from Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Korea, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan as well as Europe and the United States.

The fair also welcomed leading local and international institutions and foundations, including National Gallery Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, ArtScience Museum, Tate Patrons, Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Mori Art Museum, Delfina Foundation, Museum MACAN, X Museum, M+, MOCA Bangkok, Samdani Foundation, Sunpride Foundation, Yuz Museum, Tai Kwun, M ART Foundation, OHD Museum and Ilham Gallery.

Sales reported across the market 

Throughout the fair week, galleries reported robust sales, with works placed in major collections. Galleries highlighted an enthusiastic response from both established and emerging collectors from all corners of the world, with many noting that ART SG had provided a great platform for meeting new collectors.

A snapshot of reported sales include: White Cube sold 17 pieces on the opening day totalling around USD 3 million, including a work by Anselm Kiefer for EUR 1,200,000 to Indonesia; Gagosian placed two works by Ashley Bickerton with Museum MACAN in Jakarta; Pace sold a number of works including an installation by James Turrell for USD 950,000, a sculpture by Keith Haring from USD 250,000 and a work on paper by Lee Ufan for USD 150,000.

During the opening hours of the fair David Zwirner sold more than half the booth with a value totalling more than USD 2.5million; Lehmann Maupin sold a number of works including four new works by Mandy El-Sayegh for a combined total of USD 335,000 to different collections across Singapore and Asia, and three works by Lee Bul sold for a combined total of over half million dollars, to different institution and private collections throughout Southeast Asia; Xavier Hufkens placed a range of works including a painting by Zhang Enli for approximately USD 350,000 and two neon works by Tracey Emin for prices ranging between GBP 85,000 – 140,000; Meyer Riegger sold a work by Miriam Cahn for around CHF 200,000; Stephen Friedman Gallery placed a sculpture by Yinka Shonibare CBE RA for GBP 150,000.

Templon sold a sculpture by Chiharu Shiota to a private local collector for EUR 90,000; Sullivan+Strumpf placed major video works by Dawn Ng and Yang Yongliang to private collectors; Yavuz Gallery sold a mix of paintings and sculptures by Pinaree Sanpitak, the Aquilizans, Kawayan de Guia, and Abdul Abdullah; Sundaram Tagore Gallery made sales totalling a little more than USD 1 million, including a work by Hiroshi Senju for USD 245,000 and two works by Chun Kwang Young for USD 197,000 and USD 184,000; Eric Firestone Gallery sold a range of works to new buyers met at ART SG including large-scale FUTURA works for a range between USD 75,000-175,000; Eslite Gallery sold a number of works by Benrei Huang including a sculpture sold to a private collector in Southeast Asia for the price of around USD 60,000; DE SARTHE sold a painting by Mak2 for a price range between USD 30,000-50,000 to a private collection in Singapore; and Michael Ku Gallery sold a work by Wei Jia for USD 95,000 to a prominent Indonesian collector.

Gallery response

ART SG’s participating galleries across the fair’s four main sectors showcased ambitious presentations featuring exceptional art works by artists from throughout Southeast Asia, the Asia-Pacific, and the rest of the world. The main GALLERIES sector showcased outstanding presentations by leading international and regional galleries; FOCUS highlighted in-depth solo or duo artist programmes, or curated thematic presentations, with an emphasis on Southeast Asian and Asian artists; FUTURES focussed on nurturing young galleries under six years old showcasing never-before-exhibited work made in the last 18 months; and REFRAME celebrated art that is engaged with, made or presented using digital technology.

Galleries exhibiting at the fair applauded the launch of the first edition

“The first edition of ART SG offered an opportunity to explore the landscape of Singapore and Southeast Asia, and to engage with its growing collector base. During the week, we have been pleased to meet local collectors, newcomers to the city who have recently relocated to the city, as well as collectors from around the region. Amidst a rapidly evolving art scene in Asia, this has been a useful introduction to understand its key players and build lasting new connections,” Leo Xu, Senior Director, David Zwirner (New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong).

“We were delighted with the first iteration of the fair in Singapore. The local art community, combined with the arrival of expatriates from mainland China, Hong Kong and other parts of Asia, made the fair particularly vibrant. Collectors responded enthusiastically to our presentation and we placed works by Ashley Bickerton, Edmund de Waal, Mark Grotjahn,Thomas Houseago, Tetsuya Ishida, Jia Aili, Takashi Murakami, Nam June Paik, Spencer Sweeney, Sarah Sze, Anna Weyant, and we were thrilled to announce that two sculptures by Ashley Bickerton were acquired by the Museum MACAN, in the artist’s adopted homeland of Indonesia. We are looking forward to returning.” Nick Simunovic, Senior Director Hong Kong, Gagosian (New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Geneva, Basel, Rome, Athens, Hong Kong, Gstaad).

“The fair has really exceeded our expectations – the first night we came close to selling the entire booth, then we rehung and made good sales every day. It’s wonderful to be back in Singapore for what is shaping up to be a new and exciting chapter!” Ursula Sullivan, Co-Founder, Sullivan+Strumpf (Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne)

“After having been engaged with this region for many years, it’s great to be back in Singapore and participate in the inaugural ART SG – a pivotal fair for the Southeast Asia audience. It has been an excellent opportunity to re-connect with collectors and museums from across the region including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, and China among others. Sales have been strong across the duration of the fair and on the opening day alone, White Cube sold 17 pieces totalling around USD 3m including works by David Altmejd, Christine Ay Tjoe, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Marguerite Humeau, Anselm Kiefer, Danica Lundy, Gabriel Orozco, Danh Vo and Antony Gormley, whose major installation “Horizon Field” is currently in view on the rooftop gallery of the National Gallery of Singapore.” Daniela Gareh, Global Board Director, White Cube (London, Hong Kong, New York, Paris, West Palm Beach)

“Yavuz was delighted to be part of the inaugural ART SG. There was constant buzz throughout the week, creating fabulous opportunities to connect with local and international art communities. The week was a tremendous success for the gallery with strong sales for our artists showcased in our booth, with large-scale works by leading artist Pinaree Sanpitak being acquired by several institutions. Multiple works by Patricia Piccinini, Tom Polo, Alvin Ong, Grace Wright, Isabel & Alfredo Aquilizan, Kawayan De Guia, André Hemer and Abdul Abdullah were snapped up by private collectors on opening night. In all, an exciting launch edition of ART SG, and we look forward to sharing our artists with wider audiences from all over the world in future editions.” Can Yavuz, Founder, Yavuz Gallery (Singapore, Sydney)

“It’s an exciting time for Singapore’s art scene. At the inaugural ART SG we placed a number of works with important collections, including institutional and some new collectors we met at the fair. We were very happy to have been able to reconnect with people who we haven’t been able to see in person in the past few years, both from institutions and collectors from across the art community in Southeast Asia – particularly those based in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.” Thaddaeus Ropac, Founder, Thaddaeus Ropac (London, Paris, Salzburg, Seoul)

“One of the major takeaways from the opening day of the fair is that local collectors—although young and discreet—are incredibly sophisticated and have a massive appetite for international art. This comes as no surprise, as Singapore itself has quickly become a major hub for international investors, in part because of its proximity to Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia. We are thrilled to have placed artworks with important collections in Singapore and the greater Southeast Asia by artists Mandy El-Sayegh, Tammy Nguyen, and Dominic Chambers, among many others.” Ken Tan, Director, Lehmann Maupin (New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, London)

“Being in Singapore is emphasizing the idea that the city might be the new hub of the Asian art market. The doors are swinging open and it was great to meet so many new collectors from Singapore and Taipei in particular. Magnus Renfrew is a fantastic fair promoter and is firmly planting his flag in Singapore.” Eric Firestone, Eric Firestone Gallery (New York, East Hampton)

“We have loved coming to Singapore and saw a lot of clients from Hong Kong and China who we were happy to see here, plus we met many new potential clients. We are happy to report robust sales. The fair gave us space to have many meaningful conversations with people from Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Australia. We came to meet new collectors which we succeeded in doing and we look forward to coming back next year.” Wendy Olsoff, Co-Owner, P.P.O.W (New York)

“ART SG as a new fair serves as a key meeting point for the international art world. The Richard Koh Fine Art booth welcomed collectors from all over the region who were keen to discover our outstanding roster of Southeast Asian artists, and we are glad to have placed works in top tier regional private collections.” Richard Koh, Founder, Richard Koh Fine Art (Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur)

“My impression of ART SG is that it looks like it has this amazing potential to become a real meeting point for collectors from not only from this part of Asia, but from the wider region. We have seen so many clients here from Korea, Thailand, Mainland China, and also from Hong Kong. For us, it has been a very successful start to the Fair, we’ve confirmed a number of sales already and we have others in the works so my initial impressions are that it is moving very strongly so far.” Javier Peres, Founder, Peres Projects (Berlin, Seoul, Milan)

“It’s been a surreal past few days at ART SG – to be part of a fair with this quality and scale, to witness the vibrant coming together of Southeast Asia’s exciting art scenes, and to have Singapore gain this kind of visibility on the global art stage – have been incredibly rewarding. It’s hard not to be inspired by the energy and momentum of it all. Of course, it’s been wonderful to witness the art market alive and well. Our sales were strong since the VIP day. We sold works by distinguished artists in our roster, such as Ashley Bickerton, I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih, Jane Lee, Yunizar, Han Sai Por, Erizal As, along with younger artists such as Uji ‘Hahan’ Handoko Eko Saputro, Ridho Rizki and Herru Yoga – to collectors both old and new. We feel this is the beginning of something bigger, and we’re looking forward to the possibilities these new connections will now foster.” Jasdeep Sandhu, Founder, Gajah Gallery (Singapore, Jakarta, Yogyakarta)

“The debut of ART SG marks a pivotal moment for Singapore as an epicentre for modern and contemporary art in Southeast Asia. We felt it important to participate in the first edition, and to continue to strengthen our connections with the teeming community of collectors and institutions in the region. We are delighted to have placed multiple works by artists from across our program, including Zhang Enli, Tracey Emin, Sayre Gomez and Thomas Houseago in important local as well as international collections.” Xavier Hufkens, Owner and Founder, Xavier Hufkens, Brussels

“We are so pleased to take part in the inaugural edition of ART SG. The fair is very well organized. There was good turnout on the opening day with visitors from all around the region. We sold several Fong Chung-Ray’s works and paintings by young Hong Kong artist Tang Kwong San as well as Malaysian artist C.N. Liew. The Wu Chi-Tsung works were reserved immediately after they are shown.” Kelvin Yang, Managing Director, Galerie du Monde (Hong Kong)

“We are thrilled to participate in ART SG’s inaugural edition and be part of the vibrant art scene of the Southeast Asia region for the first time. This reflects our ever-growing commitment to building bridges between East and West. The fair provided us a great opportunity not only to regroup with old friends from across Asia, but also to have in-depth conversations with new collectors and art lovers from Southeast Asia. I’m grateful to be able to share our gallery’s long-standing philosophy on collecting and living with art.” Boris Vervoordt, Founder and Director, Axel Vervoordt Gallery (Wijnegem, Hong Kong)

“This first iteration of ART SG has been a real success. I predicted it would be a good fair, and I was right. There was a lot of pent-up demand.  Clients have been isolated for a long time and they were eager to engage with art in a meaningful way and in person. We’ve been in Singapore full time for 10 years now, and we have deep ties here, so we couldn’t be happier to see a strong fair join the local ecosystem.” Sundaram Tagore, Founder, Sundaram Tagore Gallery (New York, Singapore, London)

“As an African gallery exhibiting works in a region that’s still relatively new to us, it’s proved rewarding on a number of levels to show at ART SG. Beyond healthy sales of several works by William Kentridge, Misheck Masamvu, Remy Jungerman and Walter Oltmann to strong collections which are all within Southeast Asia, it has been elucidating to initiate and reignite many valued relationships with great collectors, curators, artists and fellow gallerists who have been extremely welcoming and receptive.”  Roger Tatley, Senior Director & Anthony Dawson, Associate Director, Goodman Gallery (Johannesburg, Cape Town, London)

“It was an interesting experience to be here for the first time, to meet new collectors and to present artists to a new audience. We have been sharing a stand with Galerie Knoell who are presenting more historical artists, who for some people are new discoveries. It’s been great to see an engaged audience and to have conversations with new people. We have experienced dynamic debates and discussions, which has been different to a normal art fair experience.” Thomas Riegger, Meyer Riegger (Berlin, Karlsruhe, Basel)

“ART SG is clearly an important step in the development of Southeast Asia’s art scene. We have enjoyed meeting new collectors, advisors, colleagues and curators from the region and introducing Stephen Friedman Gallery and its artists to new audiences. Good sales were achieved each day across a range of artistic practices and interest in the gallery’s roster has been strong.” Mira Dimitrova, Director of Sales, Stephen Friedman Gallery (London)

“We enjoyed a successful inaugural edition of ART SG. Our FOCUS booth was a solo showcase of Daniel Boyd, the young Australian contemporary artist who focuses on the experiences of Indigenous peoples and seeks to restore perspectives often overlooked in historical discourse. Owing to Boyd’s reasonable market price and his recent participation in a group exhibition at the National Gallery Singapore last summer, we were able to sell most works that we had brought to the fair. The scale of and level of excitement at the fair was very different from what we had experienced when we participated in Art Stage Singapore years ago. I can for sure say that ART SG has heightened the art game in Singapore, which means that we are looking forward to subsequent editions of the fair.” Bo Young Song, Vice President, Kukje Gallery (Seoul, Busan)

“Everyone has been very interested in the market in Singapore as it is booming and vibrant. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to connect with the art world again in person. We have met our established collectors from China and Southeast Asia, as well as new audiences particularly from Korea and Japan, with whom we are excited to develop new relationships. We have made good sales for all three of our artists on the booth, and it has been wonderful to introduce the artists to new collectors. The ART SG team has been very helpful.” Lingzhi Zhuang, Founder and Director, LINSEED (Shanghai)

“ART SG has proven itself to be a game changer in the Singapore art scene, due to its networks and the gold-standard professionalism that it brings to the table. We saw a massive wave of interest and enthusiasm from international visitors at the STPI booth, where we sold out of the first hang of Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak, and have to do daily rehangs. With each new edition, ART SG will strengthen and create even more ripples in the local ecosystem. ” Rita Targui, Gallery Director, STPI (Singapore)

“We are thrilled to be back in Singapore seeing our friends and meeting new collectors from the Southeast Asia region. We are off to a good start with 9 artworks sold so far. ART SG is the perfect platform to promote our program within the southeast Asian art community.” Pascal de Sarthe, Founder and Owner, DE SARTHE (Hong Kong)

“ART SG is certain to grow into the largest and best-selling fair in Southeast Asia. I am happy to see the revitalization of the art market here in Singapore, the home of Mizuma Gallery for the past 11 years. With the recent shift of market and funds from China and Hong Kong to Singapore, it is inevitable that an art fair is born and takes root in this city, serving as a hub for the Southeast Asian art scene to flourish.” Sueo Mizuma, Founder, Mizuma Gallery (Tokyo, Singapore, New York)

“ART SG proved to be a very important hub for us in the Southeast Asian region. We are very happy that our artists received an enthusiastic response here and that we were able to place their art works in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Hong Kong.” Dr. Regina Fiorito, Director, Galerie Gisela Capitain (Cologne)

“We are excited to be able to meet new collectors from all over the world at ART SG, as well as many old friends who have travelled to Singapore for the occasion. WOAW Gallery has already placed most of the works on the first day. The city is full of energy and great vibes this week with the art community all coming in. ART SG is a key platform for visitors to connect with the local art landscape and explore the international art world. We look forward to joining this yearly.” Kevin Poon, Founder, WOAW Gallery (Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing)

“With a growing collector base in the region we have been looking forward to the inaugural edition of Art SG. The fair has had strong attendance and all works on our booth, priced between USD 35,000 – 70,000, were sold to both local and international collectors.” Jack Bell, Director, Jack Bell Gallery (London)

Details on the second edition of ART SG in 2024 will be announced in due course.

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