Singapore Contemporary Art Show: Inaugural Edition Review

PHOTO: Courtesy of Fabrik Gallery | ‘The Paradox of Beauty’ | Oil on canvas | Myoung Jo Jeong

Singapore Contemporary Art Show made its debut in Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.

No, there aren’t any cockroaches or rhino installations here. But there’s Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, and a whole ensemble of some of Asia’s most talented artists represented here. New kid on the block, Singapore Contemporary Art Show is no greenhorn. Having run 7 successful shows in Hong Kong, their inaugural Singapore edition themed ‘A World of Art’ presents more than 3,000 artworks and art installations from 65 exhibitors and artists.

Showcasing quality contemporary artworks and installations of successful established artists, as well as works from some of today’s most promising emerging artists in the lacking mid-tier art market, visitors can expect to find works ranging from S$10,000 to S$100,000 and up. Tickets were priced at S$30 for single day and S$54 for a three-day pass.

Despite taking place alongside Singapore Art Week anchor Art Stage Singapore and a pre-show controversy, Singapore Contemporary Art Show attracted a respectable number of attendees – more than 16,000 visitors visited over four days (The Straits Times, 26 Jan 2016).

Reuelwrites got into the thick of the action and discovered that Singapore Contemporary Art Show is more than just ‘another art exhibition’.

Artworks

Artworks by Asian artists made up about 70% of the exhibits at the show, this arrangement probably owing to its parent show, the Asian Contemporary Art Show in Hong Kong. Art enthusiasts who have walked the ground in other art exhibitions would have found some familiar faces (galleries) participating in this year’s show.

In spite of this, there is a rich diversity in the artworks curated and there’s something for everyone. More than once I found myself impressed and even captivated by some of the artworks presented at the show. Below are some of the works that caught my eye.

The Paradox of Beauty #13-04

PHOTO: Courtesy of Singapore Contemporary Art Show | The Paradox of Beauty | Oil on canvas | Myoung Jo Jeong

I am a big fan of hyperrealism paintings and why South Korean artist Myoung Jo Jeong wasn’t in my radar is beyond me. Even though it wasn’t the most expensive artwork (approximately S$38,000), Myoung Jo Jeong’s artwork (the first image in the blog) left me with the deepest impression.

I absolutely love Myoung’s idea of capturing the beauty of his subject from the ‘back’. While beauty in realism is often expressed through the subject’s facial features, I like that Myoung’s painting transcended popular conventions. I can imagine this being the show piece at the dining room in my house. Represented by Fabrik Gallery, Hong Kong.

V.Host

PHOTO: Courtesy of Singapore Contemporary Art Show | V.Host (2013) | Acrylic on canvas | Wang Min

Morbid, dystopia, and indifference. These are the words one could use to describe China artist Wang Min’s works. Step into Wang Min’s imagination of humankind’s not so distant future where cloning is a norm and we become homogeneous as a species.

For this rather depressing artwork, I was told by the gallery representative that the artist was quite the opposite. Definitely a striking piece although I can’t imagine seeing this anywhere in someone’s home. Represented by The Dragon Year Gallery, China.

Inner Wisdom

PHOTO: Courtesy of Singapore Contemporary Art Show | Inner Wisdom | Acrylic on linen | Simon Wee

Traditional Chinese calligraphic art is very underrated. I love this artwork by our very own Singaporean artist, Simon Wee. It’s not just a mere stroke of the brush. Trained by master painter Chen Wen Hsi himself, Wee’s work exudes unrivalled strength and energy.

I remember accepting a consignment of Wee’s ink on rice paper paintings and having such a hard time convincing people to purchase it. It’s one of those artworks that’s perfect for the office and Wee deserves more credit. Represented by Tembusu Art Gallery, Singapore.

March

PHOTO: Courtesy of Singapore Contemporary Art Show | March (2015) | Oil on canvas | Zorikto Dorzhiev

Back when I was working in an art gallery, one of my big ticket sale was an artwork by the young established artist, Zorikto Dorzhiev. Was delighted to find his artwork exhibited in the art show. Represented by Khankhalaev Gallery, Russia.

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Acrylic on canvas artworks by South Korean artist, Yoo Sun-Tai

What many people don’t realise is that art doesn’t just improve the aesthetics of one’s home, they can also create conversations. Such is the surrealism artworks by South Korean artist, Yoo Sun-Tai. Back in my gallery days, Yoo’s artworks were the crowd favourites. Represented by Galerie GAIA, South Korea.

Tours and Activities

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Complimentary art tours are available for art enthusiasts and members of the public.

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Indonesian artist Awiki doing a live painting.

Hats off to the entire Singapore Contemporary Art Show team for putting up such a pleasant, family-oriented show. There are so many activities going on for the four-day art show to which all guests and ticket holders get to enjoy. Get up to speed with the rising stars in the arts world by joining the many art tours, or get inspired by live painting demonstrations by the artists.

Visitors with children could also sign up for the complimentary kids art tours and art studio workshops.

Meet the Artists

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UK artist Jeff Murray introducing his artwork to members of the public. Murray also

One of the things I enjoyed most about the art show was being up close and personal with the artists behind the artworks. Beyond simply enjoying the intricate paintings and sculptures, what completes an art show experience is hearing from the artists themselves on their inspirations and their stories, et cetera.

Singapore Contemporary Art Show trumps Art Stage in this regard. The art show – which took place at the spacious 6,000 sq/m Suntec Convention Centre – is not overcrowded and there are ample opportunities for members of the public to interact with the artists many of which are present at their booths.

Overall, to term the Singapore Contemporary Art Show experience as mere pleasant is an understatement. Singapore Contemporary Art Show is for the art collectors who wants to acquire more art but isn’t ready to move into the top-tier art market, and for art enthusiasts who value an enjoyable art expedition without being overwhelmed.

If you are feeling gutted for missing out on the show, mark it down on your calendar and don’t miss next year’s show. Singapore Contemporary Art Show will return with its 2nd edition on January 19 to 22, 2017. For more information, visit their website here. RW

Disclaimer: Reuel Writes attended the Singapore Contemporary Art Show on media pass. However, Reuel Writes retains full editorial direction of this blog entry.

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