Art Stage is upon us again. I bring you my top picks below including the insightful conversations I had with the artists exhibiting at Art Stage this year:
This year at the entrance we are presented with the UOB Painting of the year showcase – exhibiting this year’s finalists as well as previous finalists. Do make time to talk to the artists, many of whom are present. I was struck by the swirling paint of Pannaphan Yodamanee from Thailand:
Also at the UOB wall I had the pleasure of talking with the 2015 Gold Award Winner, Aaron Gan. His new works, requested by UOB especially for this showcase show his progression into iconic images of bird cages and birds, in a traditional watercolour style. He tells me that as well as progressing his new work, it is also a constant theme that he goes back to in his practice as a painter. This is shown alongside his more contemporary use of the traditional watercolour medium: abstract, square brush-stroked designs made up of soft, yet vibrant colours. These, to me, hinting at tumbling, crumbling landscapes, or perhaps cascading piles of biological cells, ideas, dreams, stars.
Another Thai artist Anon Pairot shows a room full of toy guns made from textiles, questioning the growing importance of the military spending in Thailand’s national budget at the expense of social protection such as healthcare and education. At once playful and dangerous, the artist invites you into the forest of guns:
The Myanm/art booth is showcasing a talented artist from Myanmar, Emily Phyo. When speaking to Emily she told me that there are 365 photographs displayed, one for each day over a year, in which she took photographs of strangers, asking them to blindfold themselves and ‘hide’ their identity with a measuring tape. The tape displays that individual’s age, and the images become a curious archive of faces, people, moments, captured secrets and unknowns. Do keep a watch on this exciting gallery who are giving an important platform, long overdue, to the arts in Myanmar.
Of course I had to pop by our local Fost Gallery, and was pleased to spot one of my favourite artists, Wyn-Lyn Tan with an evocative painting:
At the Intersections booth, another selection of exciting artists from Myanmar are being showcased. Speaking with the artist Chan Aye who has used these bells and objects from Burmese temples and everyday life to create an installation, I could feel that poetry and music run deep in his visual works. As the bells chimed, he passed me one of his poems, translated into English, which I add below:
Next I visited Gallery Sun, to meet Huang I-Ming,renowned for his creative calligraphic and ink was artworks in Taiwan. His works resemble both painting and calligraphy, playing with both histories and narratives:
Huang I-Ming artworks, shown at Gallery Sun at Art Stage
An unexpected surprise lay in wait at the other end of the collectors Stage – Moffat Takadiwa from Zimbabwe has created this massive wall sculpture, which looks like stone or mosaic. However, the artist is uses the most unexpected material: keys from an old-style, chunky grey keyboard. He has said that he used these found materials back in 2007 because there was a lack of traditional materials available. It also it highlights the dirty, dusty environment, plagued with a culture of waste that Harare had become at the time.
He plays with ours senses, bringing us close and making us stand back. Many visitors will miss the real impact of this work if they walk by at a distance – as ever, my advice is to always zoom in on an artwork. In this case, as shown by the image below, it’s imperative,
Over at the Collectors Stage, understated but iconic, I stumbled across the Remember me Series by Steve McQueen. See if you can spot the typo… whether it is deliberate or not, that piece has become a more unique version
Italian sculptor and spirit ranger Robert Pan, also at Gallery Sun, caught my eye with these colourful panels:
Visit the fair yourself – Southeast Asia’s flagship art fair, opens its seventh edition from 12 to 15 January 2017 (Vernissage on 11 January) at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.
12 – 15 Jan 2017, Sands Expo & Convention Centre, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956