Join Soho House at ART SG 2023, Southeast Asia’s biggest art fair
We spoke to ART SG director Shuyin Yang about what the fair means to Singapore, ahead of our events in the city
Thursday 5 January 2023 By Anastasiia Fedorova
In 2023, we are kicking off the year of art in Singapore. ART SG, the biggest art fair to launch in Asia Pacific in a decade, will showcase more than 150 global galleries between Thursday 12 and Sunday 15 January – and there’s so much to look forward to.
With Soho House’s art collection being one of the biggest private assemblages in the world, we always keep an eye on global art fairs – be it Frieze or Miami Basel. It’s a chance to connect with members and collaborators, and ART SG is no exception. This year, we’ll be hosting various experiences for members during the fair, starting with an invitation for our members to join its Vernissage preview on Wednesday 11 January.
On Saturday 14 January, Soho House and Valentino will host a special night ART SG: After Dark at The Warehouse Hotel (make sure you book your spot here). As part of the event, renowned Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak (who is part of the upcoming Soho House Bangkok collection) will show a new commission produced using fabric from Maison Valentino. This sculpture will be displayed alongside previous works, ‘Breast Stupa Topiary’ (2013) and ‘Black Dreams’ (2019).
Ahead of the art fair, we spoke to ART SG director Shuyin Yang about Singapore’s art scene, supporting emerging talent and what to expect from the fair.
Why is ART SG a destination for art professionals from around the world?
‘ART SG will be Southeast Asia’s most significant and largest ever art fair. Featuring more than 150 leading galleries from 30 countries and territories across the world, and over 1,000 artists, ART SG will invite the world’s leading collectors, art professionals and cultural thought leaders to experience Singapore and all that the region has to offer. It’ll also encourage a new generation of emerging collectors to be inspired by the rich diversity of art in the region.’
How would you describe the Singapore art scene and community to someone who has never been?
‘Singapore is home to one of the most vibrant art scenes and ecologies in Asia, acting as a key gateway to other regional capitals such as Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Hanoi. Anchored by major museums such as the National Gallery of Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum, cutting-edge work from Singapore’s artists thrive alongside a rich programme of international-level exhibitions.
‘A growing regional collector base provides strong artistic patronage and the foundation for a thriving gallery scene. Visual arts precincts such as the Tanjong Pagar Distripark, the current temporary home of the Singapore Art Museum and host to the Singapore Biennale 2022, as well as Gillman Barracks – a former military barracks now re-designated for arts and cultural usage – feature excellent international and local galleries.
‘The city is a nexus for the region’s extensive and knowledgeable collector base to connect with artists, curators and cultural stakeholders, and ART SG will play a major role in providing a stimulating venue for these exchanges to take place.’
Will the fair be representing and platforming local artists?
‘We are thrilled to have numerous galleries with spaces in Singapore and Southeast Asia participate in the launch of ART SG in January 2023, from regional stalwarts such as Richard Koh Fine Art, Yavuz Gallery, Gajah Gallery, FOST and The Drawing Room, to new emerging spaces such as Warin Lab and Cuturi Gallery who will be highlighting artists from Singapore and around the region.
‘In addition, Southeast Asian artists will also be featured by internationally renowned galleries who represent them, which testifies to the global interest in artistic practice from the region, such as Dinh Q. Lê featured by PPOW, and Sopheap Pich with Tomio Koyama, Mit Jai Inn and Sawangwongse Yawnghwe at TKG+.’
Could you talk a little bit about the different parts of the fair’s multi-faceted programme?
‘ART SG Perspectives: Reconnecting Southeast and Asia Pacific is a series of talks and panel discussions curated by Cosmin Costinas, the co-artistic director for the Sydney Biennale 2023 and the former executive director of Para Site Hong Kong. Featuring a line-up of important collectors, museum and cultural leaders, and biennale directors, this series of conversations is conceived as a platform for regions to come together in an effort to reimagine our common geography, ways of working, and future exchanges.’
‘ART SG FILM Fabricated Realities: Video Art and Film from Southeast Asia and beyond was curated by Thai curator Gridthiya Gaweewong, the artistic director of the Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, and recently appointed artistic director of the Thailand Biennale 2023. The selection of films in three different programmes will be screened in collaboration with the ArtScience Museum from 12 to 15 January, and is open to ART SG ticket holders and members of the public.
‘Finally, celebrating Singapore’s position as a city at the forefront of technological innovation, the gallery sector ART SG REFRAME will highlight new experimentations in digital art including NFTs, and feature eight galleries ranging from new media pioneers bitforms and Kate Vass Galerie, to galleries who have been closely involved in blockchain-based art making, such as Galerie Nagel Draxler and Gazelli Art House, and conceptually driven spaces like Vanguard Gallery.’
Are there any particular artworks showing at the fair that you’d like to highlight?
‘I could highlight two. The first work is ‘Kapok’ by Cambodia’s most internationally prominent artist Sopheap Pich, presented by Tomio Koyama Gallery. Comprised of a repurposed wooden boat redesigned as an installation based on the shape of the ‘kapok’ fruit, using the artist’s idiosyncratic mediums of rattan and bamboo, the work discusses Southeast Asian rural life, the history of Cambodia, and the artist’s relationship to his native region.
‘The second is a new curation of Isamu Noguchi’s “Octetra” sculptures especially created for ART SG PLATFORM. “Octetra” was conceived in 1968 as a modular, infinitely extensible play system based on the futurist Buckminster Fuller’s theories about the basic structures that can be derived from nature. The development of “Octetra” highlights Noguchi’s desire to be not just a sculptor but a shaper of space.’
Learn more about ART SG and how to visit here.