Affordable Art Fair: A Peculiar Exhibition

Interesting, and otherwise unusual artworks can all be found in the 2016 Spring Edition of Affordable Art Fair.

Held once again at the F1 Pit Building from 21 to 24 April, this year’s Affordable Art Fair showcases an assortment of artworks from 41 local and international galleries representing 300 artists.

As with past year’s theme, the objective of the biannual exhibition was to make contemporary art accessible to the general public. Find artworks from paintings and sculptures to photography priced between S$100 to S$10,000. Also in line with this is the popular Charity Feature Wall ‘Let Art Speak’ which showcases artworks priced at S$500 – half of the monies raised goes to charity partner Woodbridge Hospital Charity Fund. Catering to both the young and old, there are plenty of art tours for the adults and hands-on workshops for the little ones.

Despite just returning from an overseas trip on Saturday and nursing a [really] bad cough, I decided to head down to review Affordable Art Fair on the last day nevertheless (hence, I was not in top form when visiting the exhibition).



A visitor admiring an artwork by Bui Van Hoan.

I love this oil-on-canvas paintings (~S$7,000) by Vietnamese artist Bui Van Hoan (above). There does not seem to be anything going on in the painting above but if you look closer, you can see Bui’s subject (a fisherman) subtly placed in the background. According to Bui’s bio published by representing gallery ArtBlue Studio, Bui’s work is inspired by his serene and peaceful approach to life, often referred to in Vietnamese as ‘Thien’, roughly translated as a particular Vietnamese school of Zen Buddhism.



PHOTO: AAF | Visitors getting introduced to Gary Pereira’s artwork

Why wouldn’t anyone want to glaze out into beautiful landscapes? English artist Gary Pereira makes this possible, transporting us to his hometown in Norwich England through his ‘window’ paintings. Pereira is inspired from the waves and dunes of his native Norfolk coast. Pereira is represented by UK-based gallery Quantum Contemporary Art and is priced around S$3,000.


PHOTO: | ‘Asphyxiate’ | Photograph on Print | Ted O’Donnell & Nicki Lee

Australian artists Ted O’Donnell and Nicki Lee prove that two is indeed better than one through this utterly gorgeous photography series ‘Asphyxiate’. A collaborative piece between the two, Lee dons the flowers in colours and emotions while O’Donnell captures that in one single shot – no retakes as I was told by O’Donnell. Obsessed with the rhythmic movement of nature and passion, the two were first inspired by Robert Browning romantic-tragic poem,  ‘Porphyria’s Lover’. Interestingly, the two lovers first met at a organic fruit and vegetable store in Spring 2011. Comes in editions of 10 or 20, and priced at approximately S$2,500.

PHOTO: | ‘Wilton’ | Acrylic on Canvas | Monica Dixon

I love this simple painting that exudes serenity by American artist Monica Dixon. Dixon is represented by Singapore based art gallery, Barnabas Huang.

In my opinion, the most important mindset an art buyer should bring to an exhibition is that of whether we like the painting, and whether we are comfortable with these paintings as decorative pieces in our homes. Every art connoisseur and expert agree that we should never buy art sorely for the potential investment value, or simply because we were intrigued by it at the whim of the moment.


PHOTO: AAF | Featured artist, Max Zorn creates stunning lightbox artworks using nothing but packing tapes and a scalpel.



PHOTO: AAF | A great place to see beautiful people.. I mean art.

That said, I do question AAF’s curatorial direction. While there are some interesting artworks exhibited, it is puzzling how some artworks actually make the cut to exhibit at the AAF to begin with. Some of the artworks go from peculiar to downright awful. I cannot imagine people putting [some of these] artworks in their homes. Similarly, I was not very impressed by the artworks presented at the Charity Feature Wall (S$500 artworks) – but it could also be because the nicer artworks have previously been snapped up by art buyers.

Maybe I am not sophisticated enough to appreciate the exquisiteness of these artworks, but I do feel that the AAF curatorial team should step up a notch in the choosing of galleries and artworks to be represented here. After all, visitors may flock to AAF to find affordable artworks, they should not have the feeling that the artworks presented are in any way substandard to the likes of bigger art shows like Art Stage and Singapore Contemporary Art Show (see my review here).


PHOTO: AAF | Fun art tours for the children


PHOTO: AAF | Art buying starts early for this young one.


Amazingly, I was told by AAF insiders that some of these questionable artworks were bought up by art buyers very quickly. Well, whatever rocks your boat.

Overall, I do feel that AAF is a good place for new art enthusiasts to get acquainted with art and to understand the various art forms that they either like or dislike. Art collectors may also find one or two artworks that they fancy. Because of its ‘affordable’ branding, artworks found at the AAF are generally cheaper than those exhibited at other Singapore art fairs. But don’t write off a visit to AAF just yet, you might just unearth an exquisite piece of art there. RW

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

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