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Posts Tagged ‘Agus Suwage’

Tyler Rollins names top Asian artist line-up for new season

Posted by artradar on September 19, 2010


CONTEMPORARY ART SOUTH EAST ASIA ART PROMOTION EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

Tyler Rollins Fine Art has announced its 2010-2011 exhibition schedule. The gallery will present solo exhibitions by four of the most highly respected artists from the Southeast Asian region starting from 16 September, this year.

Tyler Rollins Fine Art is a gallery in New York’s Chelsea area that has a primary focus on contemporary Southeast Asian art; one of the art world’s most culturally diverse and dynamic areas. As the gallery says, its objective is to put the spotlight on some of the most exciting trends in contemporary art, drawing attention to the interconnectedness of today’s globalised art world and fostering inter-cultural dialogue between the East and West.

“Rollins’ timing is perfect: while prices for Chinese works dropped in the fall auctions, Southeast Asian art broke records.” Contemporary Art Philippines

The gallery will first show the Filipino artist, Manuel Ocampo, the most internationally-know contemporary artist from the Philippines. Ocampo has been a vital presence on the international art scene for over twenty years and is known for fearlessly tackling the taboos and cherished icons of society and of the art world itself. Marking his sixtieth solo show, Ocampo will be presenting new paintings and woodcut panels featuring traditional Christian iconography combined with secular and political narratives.
“The theme that comes up again and again is of figures that connect to a sort of myth-induced stereotype, rendered iconic but bludgeoned into a farcical conceptual iconoclasm made absurd by its exaggerated impotence as a carrier of meaning or the esthetics of politics. The paintings are a comment on desire, as painting itself is an object accustomed to this wish of being desirous, yet in the series they have a knack of providing some difficulty to the viewer as the conventions of painting are dismantled to the point of ridicule.” Tyler Rollins Fine Art

Following Ocampo, is Vietnam’s most prominent female contemporary artist, Tiffany Chung. Chung, noted for her sculptures, videos, photographs and performance work, will showcase her works at Tyler Rollins from 14 November to 31 December this year. Inspired by maps of urban regions, Chung’s solo show at the gallery explores the topographic after-images of some of the past century’s most traumatic conflicts.

'Berlin Wall', 2010, embroidery, painted metal grommets, and buttons on canvas. The maps that Chung is showcasing tell us about our relations with the past and our visions of the future. Image courtesy of Tyler Rollins Fine Art.

 

Moving away from Southeast Asian art, Tyler Rollins Fine Art will also present works by Tracey Moffatt, an Australian artist who is one of today’s leading international visual artists working in photography, film and video. Many of her photographs and short films have achieved iconic status around the world; Moffatt takes her inspiration as much from popular culture and the idea of fame and celebrity as she does from art history.
In January 2011, Tyler Rollins will be featuring her recent photographic series, Plantation, as well as Other, the final work in her video series inspired by Hollywood films.

'Plantation (Diptych No. 1)', 2009, digital print with archival pigments. 'InkAid', watercolor paint and archival glue on handmade Chautara Lokta paper. Tracey Moffatt's eerie pictures delve into a troubled history of exploitation. The man in the image is an alien, an outsider who is not welcomed into the colonial-style house. Image courtesy of Tyler Rollins Fine Art.

As a finale to this artist line-up, Tyler Rollins will be presenting Agus Suwage from March to April, 2011. Suwage is often named as one of the most important Indonesian contemporary artists. Although little of his work has been seen in the U.S., it has been exhibited around the world over the past few decades and is included in most major collections and surveys of Indonesian contemporary art.

Suwage's paintings explore the predominant theme of the self-portrait, employing the artist’s own body and face in a number of guises to address questions of identity and change in his surrounding socio-cultural condition. 'Playing the Fool' (2004) is the artist’s continuing exploration into violence, pain and joy. Image courtesy of Tyler Rollins Fine Art.

JAS/KN/HH

Related Topics: promoting art, Southeast Asian artists, gallery shows

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Posted in Art spaces, Australian, Filipino, Gallery shows, Indonesian, International, Lists, Painting, Performance, Photography, Promoting art, Southeast Asian, Video, Vietnamese, Wood | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Singapore Tyler Print Institute – international art collaboration at world-class print studio – profile

Posted by artradar on November 4, 2009


CONTEMPORARY ASIAN ART ORGANIZATIONS

STPI

Metal Bull Year I, by Chang Fee Ming at STPI. Watercolor, acrylic, etching, gold leaf, on STPI handmade paper. 77 x 62 cm.

Art Radar remains devoted to sharing important and unique Asian arts institutions with readers, and few are as exciting as the Singapore Tyler Print Institute. Regular art fair goers may already be familiar with the institute, which is a fixture at many Asian art events. STPI is based (you guessed it) in Singapore, and stands alone in all of Asia as the only fully-equipped, artist’s printmaking and papermaking workshop. It was established in 2002 under the guidance of the American master printer Kenneth Tyler with support from the Singaporean government, and is a non-profit organization specializing in the publishing and dealing of fine art prints and remains dedicated to collaborating with extraordinary international artists. STPI boasts the foremost print and paper making facilities in the world for all the major printing techniques- lithography, intaglio, relief, and silkscreen printing, and continually attracts some of the most respected working artists to its studio.

Visiting Artists Program

One of the more interesting aspects of this organization is its Visiting Artists Programme, which offers residencies to 6 exceptional international artists each year, lasting 4 to 6 weeks. During this time, artists live on the premises in fully furnished apartments and can freely experiment with different print and papermaking techniques while enjoying unbridled creative freedom. This dynamic environment has produced a wide range of works, including ‘paper pulp’ paintings, paper assemblage, and mixed media pieces. At the end of the residency, each visiting artist’s new works are curated and shown in a solo exhibition at the STPI gallery.

Participating Visiting Artists

STPI strives for diversity in its range of visiting artists, and has hosted artists from the United States, China, France, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore. Renowned artists, including Donald Sultan, Ashley Bickerton, Zhu Wei, Atul Dodiya, Lin Tian Miao, and Chun Kwang Young have particpated in this Visiting Artists Programme.

Artists who have or are currently participating in the residency program in 2009 include:

Agus Suwage (Indonesia)   Tabiamo (Japan)   Chang Fee Ming (Malaysia)   Thukral & Tagra (India)
Trenton Doyle Hancock (USA)   Guan Wei (China/Australia)

State-of-the-art Facilities

The STPI 4,000m2 facility is also extraordinary, featuring a modern printmaking workshop, a paper mill, an art gallery, an artist’s studio, and 2 fully furnished artists’ apartments. Many of the printing presses are customized to print on large format papers, and were designed and customized personally by Ken Tyler.

Collaboration with New York’s Asia Society

STPI participates in special projects each year in addition to its main programming. The most notable of these ‘special projects’ was a rare collaboration of New York’s Asia Society and STPI in 2006 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Asia Society. The effort produced  ‘Asian Contemporary Art in Print’, a limited edition portfolio of nine prints by respected Asian artists working in Asia, the United States, and Europe. This portfolio of works, curated by the Asia Society’s Museum Director and Curator Melissa Chui, was the first of its kind published by the Asia Society.

Artists featured in ‘Asian Contemporary Art in Print’ include:

Nilima Sheikh (India), Lin Tian Miao (China),  Amanda Heng ( Singapore), Wong Hoy Cheong (Malaysia), Navin Rawanchaikul (Thailand), Wilson Shieh (Hong Kong), Michael Lin (Taiwan),  Jiha Moon (Korea), Yuken Teruya (Japan), and Xu Bing (China).

Regarding the selection of artists, Melissa Chui comments:

“I wanted a selection of leading artists from across Asia as a representation of what’s happening today in contemporary Asian art.”

Other Services: Education, Art Collection Management, Studio Rental, Contract Publishing

In addition to hosting international leading artists and publishing their artworks, the institute also enriches the Singaporean community with public art education programmes. Furthermore, the STPI curatorial team offers a collection management service for private art collectors, and will digitally archive a collection, provide reports on the value of the artworks, recommend how to best preserve the art, and source new works for a collection. The print studio and gallery are available for rent on a daily basis. Also, if a gallery or artist needs to publish a series of prints, this can be achieved by collaborating with STPI’s professional printmakers.

Art Radar is pleased to see an innovative organization fostering creative dialogue with the international community, and suggests readers keep their eyes open, because you will likely see the Singapore Tyler Print Institute at Asian art fairs!

EW/KCE

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Posted in Art spaces, Connecting Asia to itself, Melissa Chiu, Nonprofit, Profiles, Singapore, Uncategorised | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Luck for Sothebys at Southeast Asian auction 2009 in Hong Kong

Posted by artradar on April 7, 2009


SOUTHEAST ASIAN ART AUCTION

Summary:

  • 138 lots, 106 sold, sell through rate 77%
  • Cheapest lots (under US$15,000) were overlooked in favour of more expensive works by better known artists
  • 95 contemporary, remainder modern
  • Thin attendance
  • Prices slashed by Sothebys – estimates drop more than 50%
  • Sale dominated by Indonesian works
  • Ronald Ventura and I Nyoman Masriadi drew surprisingly frenzied bidding
  • I Nyoman Masriadi achieved the highest prices, albeit much lower than in 2008, 3 of his works appeared in the top 10 for the sale. His not dissimilar sale-topping works (Negotiation 2009 and The Final Round 2008) showed more than 75% drop between Spring 2009 and Autumn 2008.
I Nyoman Masriadi Negosiasi

I Nyoman Masriadi Negosiasi

Empty seats

Half the seats were empty at the start of the thinly attended the 138 lot auction of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art which kick-started the Sotheby’s series of 2009 Spring sales in Hong Kong. As the 18 or so grim-faced Sotheby’s staff at the telephone bank surveyed the 60 or more empty seats, there was a gluey air of tension.

The first 12 lots of the 95 contemporary works on sale, most at estimates of well under US$15,000, saw gentle bidding but thanks to much coaxing by veteran auctioneer Quek Chin Yeow, all but two ( works by Indonesian artists Eko Nugroho and Dikdik Sayahdikumullah) scraped the estimates and sales were achieved.

The room relaxed and bidding picked up for the next 20 or so lots (13-33) with particular interest shown in:

  • Rodel Tapaya (b 1980) Donsadat and the Magic Dog which sold over estimate for HK$90,000 (excl premium) after a tussle between 2 phone bidders and the room
  • M Irfan (b 1972) The Artifact of Magic which attracted 4 bidders and achieved a price of HK$235,000 (excl premium) against a top estimate of HK$180,000.
  • Yunizar (b 1971) Texs III sold at HK$210,000 against its higher estimate of HK$180,000.

In a dramatic twist this was followed by a run of half a dozen passes and barely-made sales. The first lot called My God offered by  heavyweight Agus Suwage (b.1959 Indonesia) almost fell victim to the new twitchiness but just scraped by to achieve its lower estimate of HK$220,000.

Catalogue-featured lots

Lot 40, the first of the 5 catalogue-featured lots, Lost Notes by Rudi Mantofani, a stunning sculpture of two guitars curved to form a circle, more than met expectations by achieving a price one third higher than estimate. In a testament perhaps to the power of deeper catalogue marketing, the other featured works also did well:

  • lot 58 I Nyoman Masriadi‘s (b 1973 Indonesia) painting Negotiation – this acrylic featuring two cowboys facing off,  turned out to be the star lot  and achieved the highest price in the sale when 4 phone and 2 room bidders pushed the price up to  HK$1.4m against a top estimate of $800,000. However this was a mighty fall of over 75% compared with the price achieved for a similar work The Final Round autumn 2008. Negotiation  fetched just HK$1.7m (US$217,000) including premium, less than a quarter of the US$1 million price tag for the Boxers.
  • lot 67 FX Harsono (b 1949) Tracing the Past achieved its estimate at HK$175,000

Handiwirman Saputra, Soap, Aluminium, 20x100cms

Handiwirman Saputra, Soap, Aluminium, 20x100cms

  • lot 75 Handiwirman Supatra‘s pink-painted aluminium sculpture Soap achieved a price (HK$300,000) double its top estimate. Originally conceived as a commissioned group of works for Novotel Hotel in Indonesia this was Supatra’s first large-scale sculpture project. Aside from the artist’s one-off, there are 4 versions of the work each in a unique colour.
  • lot 88 Ronald Ventura‘s (b 1973) Oh Boy painting – this lot saw the most exciting bidding . The fast-paced overlapping bids keeping the ever-ebullient auctioneer Chin Yeow on his toes and prompted a happy quip about there being ‘no recession’ now.
Ronald Ventura Oh Boy

Ronald Ventura Oh Boy

Lucky 88 for Ronald Ventura

8 is a lucky number in China and it was certainly lucky for Sotheby’s because the lot marked a turning point. After a poor 12 lot run (lots 76-87) in which there were 6 passes and the remainder just meeting the lower estimates, Ronald Ventura‘s lot 88 galvanised the room with its spray gun pre-recession-style bidding from more than a dozen bidders. The remainder of the contemporary artworks in the sale – lots 89-95 – all sold well despite having some of the highest prices in the sale (all over HK$100,000). Ahmad Zakii Anwar Silent City 8 (8 again!) sold at estimate despite a previous pass for a work located earlier in the sale. The other 6 lots by heavyweight artists – Geraldine Javier, Handiwirman Saputra, I Nyoman Masriadi and Yunizar with prices considerably higher than most of the works earlier in the sale (estimates in the HK$100,000 to HK$400,000 range) – all sold with comfortable margins over estimates.

No upsets

Other lots which drew notable interest included lot 13 Jumaldi Alfi‘s painting The Falls which saw goood bidding and achieved a price of HK$270,000 against estimate HK$230,000 and  lot 75 M Irfan‘s (b 1972) Maneuver. 3 room bidders pushed up the price to HK$130,000 against its top estimate of HK$90,000.

There were no major upsets but some passes were surprising including lot 19, an untitled work by Handiwirman Saputra, lot 46 Putu Sutawijaya‘s untitled painting and lot 50 Dadang Christanto‘s work Pilgrim Project 2. Agus Suwage had 2 works in the sale, both did sell but only just.

Happy faces

The auctioneers were clearly happy and entertained the room with  jaunty banter. When Kevin Ching, CEO of Asia – known for tongue in cheek bawdiness – placed a bid on Vasan Sitthiket‘s ‘American Wet Dream’, the irrepressible auctioneer Chin Yeow who jokingly refused to refer to the painting by name because it ‘is too rude’, cheekily teased his colleague saying “Not a surprise from Kevin Ching”. “What do you mean?” deadpanned Ching right back.

And happy they deserve to be. Although this sale had one of the lower sell-through rates of the Sothebys 2009 Spring sales due to an excess of cheaper works by lesser known artists, the strategy of presenting predominantly Indonesian works by preferred artists was clearly aimed to please and did please an established clientele: a small number of deep-pocketed Indonesian collectors of Chinese origin and other hard core collectors. And what might the future hold?  Maybe deeper catalogue marketing, fewer works by lesser known artists and perhaps we will see a few more 8s sprinkled amongst the lot numbers next autumn.

Notes:

  • prices exclude buyers’ premium.
  • Exchange rate HK$7.7 = US$1.
  • All artists named are Indonesian except Ronald Ventura and Geraldine Javier from the Philippines

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Posted in Auctions, China, Filipino, Hong Kong, Indonesian, Market watch | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Overview Indonesian art – Only 5 of 50 auctionable artists today will have lasting value

Posted by artradar on March 2, 2009


INDONESIAN CONTEMPORARY ART HISTORY

This long – save it for lunch-time! –  informative reportage piece written in 2008 is about the history of Indonesian contemporary art up to and including the 2008 art boom. Michael Vatikiotis employs anecdotes, artist interviews and on the ground research to describe  key influences and players. A surprising finding is that dealers and collectors are saying that only five artists will have lasting value which Vatikiotis points out ” is not a legacy in a country of more than two hundred and thirty million people”.

Putu Sutawijaya

Putu Sutawijaya

Riding the Indonesian art boom

Jogjakarta a city of artists

Jogjakarta is a city of artists. On every corner of Central Java’s ancient royal city there is an aspiring painter with good reasons to be hopeful. A handful of painters have sold their work at auction for tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Used to Being Stripped, a painting by Nyoman Masriadi, a native of Bali who lives in the city, fetched US$538,000 at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong in May 2008. ‘It used to be that parents cried when their children said they wanted to be artists, well not anymore,’ says Agus Suwage, a local artist whose works have been shown internationally and now command hundred thousand dollar prices at auction.

Indonesian art holds its value

Jogjakarta’s art boom is part of an Asia-wide trend that has seen the value of contemporary art from countries like India, China, Vietnam and the Philippines as well as Indonesia soar to phenomenal heights on the back of fears
about inflation and the security of more liquid assets. In May last year, the hammer went down on a painting by the popular Chinese artist Zheng Fanzhi for US$9.7 million at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong. The global financial crisis
that set in towards the end of 2008 has badly affected the Chinese art boom, but dealers in South-East Asia say that so far prices for Indonesian art have held up well because art remains a refuge for investors fleeing stocks.

Jogja’s bizarre political landscape

Jogja is a sprawling medium-sized Indonesian city of three million people steeped in the tradition of Javanese kingship. Sultan Hamengkubuwono X rules the city and its immediate area in one of the more bizarre autonomy
arrangements – a feudal king holds sway over a tiny part of a modern republic. Indonesians don’t see a contradiction; the current Sultan’s father, Hamengkubuwono IX, played a central role in the anti-colonial struggle and was briefly
vice president of the republic. The current Sultan has presidential aspirations.

Jogja produces avant-garde art alongside traditional

Although a thoroughly modern ruler in many ways – he is very fond of square dancing – the Sultan presides over a culture that resists change. The people of Jogja revere him, wearing traditional long batik sarongs with delicately decorated daggers placed in the small of their backs on formal occasions. They believe in the dark mysteries of Javanese mythology – that the Sultan communes with the Goddess of the Southern Seas to keep the forces of nature in
balance. Yet this exquisitely preserved-in-aspic city produces some of the more avant-garde modern artists of South-East Asia and has turned some into relative millionaires.

Colonial past sustains Indonesian artisanship

Jogja is more than a relic. The city is one of the very few cities in the region with a heritage that is preserved – under royal patronage – with tourism in mind, of course. Restored Dutch colonial era buildings and old royal residences
have become offices and hotels. This has helped sustain a lively artisan community.
Mas Sugeng, who has meticulously created wayang kulit shadow puppets out of buffalo hide since he learnt the art from his father as a child, considers himself ‘a craftsmen rather than an artist’ as I admire the breathtaking handpainted colour and carved detail on his delicately created images of Rama and Sita.

The modern artists reflect a transition from the talent of artisans like Mas Sugeng to the modern art the world seems to want to buy – at ridiculous prices.

Ten years ago, Jogja visitors were led down narrow alleyways to view stacks of unspectacular batik paintings gathering dust in disorderly garrets hugging the whitewashed palace walls. The motifs veered wildly from the earthy traditional to lurid pop; Hanuman and Arjuna rubbed shoulders with Bob Marley and Che Guevara. Serious painting was something young people went to Bali to pursue. Today, Balinese artists flock to Jogja, where artists’ studios are now on the tourist map.

Early interest in Indonesian contemporary art dates to beginning of 90s

The boom came suddenly. Early interest in contemporary Indonesian art dates back to the go-go capitalism in the early 1990s. Indonesia was just opening up and a new class of wealthy private entrepreneurs had cash to spend. Many of the wealthiest people in Indonesia are ethnic Chinese. Buying Indonesian art was a way of demonstrating national loyalty. Galleries in Jakarta did brisk business; the art was mostly relatively conservative expressionists drawing on
traditional themes – the whirling Balinese dancers of Srihadi Soedarsono, the demure Javanese maidens of Jiehan Sukmantara – decorative living room art, not the stuff of fortunes.

Effect of economic crisis 1997 and  fall of Suharto 1998

The local art market collapsed with the 1997 economic crisis. So did the political order. The seeds of the current art boom were sown in the political chaos and mayhem that accompanied the fall of Indonesia’s strongman President
Suharto in May 1998. Tastes in art changed, almost overnight. A fondness for decoration and curios was replaced by gritty, hard-edged socially engaged art.

Birth of hard-edged social art during transition to democracy

The movement reflected the profound changes in society unleashed by reformasi, Indonesia’s transition to democracy. ‘What reformasi actually gave Indonesians was access to intellectual thinking,’ Farah Wardani, a Jogja-based curator, told me as we sat in the forecourt of Indonesian Visual Art Archive, a foundation set up to document the development of fine art.

Cemeti Art House set up 1998

Jogja’s artists were already socially engaged but no one took them seriously enough to buy their work, which was considered risky and troubling before Suharto fell. Many of the artists were part of the student movement pushing for political change. Cemeti Art House, established in 1998 by Dutch artist Mella Jaarsma and her Javanese husband and collaborator Nindityo Adipurnomo, played a critical role in fostering these politically engaged artists.

Mella,a practising artist who specialises in installations and performance art, and Nindityo encouraged many of the artists who are major names today with exhibitions from the late 1980s. Their ability to fly under the official radar for
performances and exhibitions that were plainly subversive can be attributed, Mella says, to poorly educated intelligence operatives who didn’t understand what they were looking at.

Political art broke with traditional
Their politically engaged art broke with the decorative and traditional past. Art was no longer for tourists. It drew inspiration from the angry graffiti scrawled on city walls, was transferred to gritty comic books, circulated
in crudely stapled photocopied editions of a thousand or so and finally ended up on the canvases of students at Jogja’s prestigious Indonesian Institute of Art (ISI).

Popok Triwahyudi

Popok Triwahyudi

Popok Triwahyudi – cartoon style

Popok Triwahyudi is typical of the socially engaged Jogja artists. Many started out on the streets sketching for a living, touting tourists and singing themselves hoarse in rowdy late-night gatherings over a shared bowl of noodles and endless cups of insipid Javanese tea. Popok still looks like the street artist he once was. His tangle of curly black hair hasn’t been brushed in days and he sleeps on a bed that he folds up and puts away. Popok studied painting
at ISI in the 1990s. His first solo exhibition, Shut Up, was held at Cemeti in 1997. His cartoon-like figures depict grim and unrelenting repression. There is something Breugel-esque in the way Popok conveys the darkness and despair
in people’s lives – and then, with a touch of Roy Lichtenstein, he draws speech bubbles and his characters express this despair.
When I met Popok he was at work in his studio on a cartoon series on intercultural misunderstanding developed in collaboration with a German art house. Before he sold his first painting in the boom market, he rented a single
room; today he has taken over the premises and installed a heavy press so he can roll off graphic prints. A new Powerbook is perched on a desk in his studio, bought by the Germans. Popok looks perpetually surprised, as if he simply can’t believe that he can now indulge his creative urges and make a living.

Eko Nugroho

Eko Nugroho

Eko Nugroho
A little further out of the city, near the old Dutch sugar factory, Eko Nugroho’s modest little home in the middle of a farming village is hardly evidence of his remarkable success. Like Popok, Eko studied at ISI in the late 1990s. His
father was a newspaper delivery man for Jogja’s daily newspaper, Kedaulatan Rakyat. Eko’s first drawings were published as cartoons in the paper. His family was so poor he only found the money to pay for his first year at ISI by
winning a local cartoon contest.
Eko’s style is distinctive. Like Popok, he draws inspiration from cartoons. His characters, usually etched in black on coloured backdrops, are disembodied creatures, part-machine, part-animal, rarely unambiguously human ‘People lost in freedom,’ his website declares.

Like Popok, Eko also got his break at Cemeti. ‘There used to be a lot of galleries, but they only catered to traditional art and weren’t interested in what I had to say through my paintings,’ Eko says. ‘Cemeti did the avant-garde stuff.’ By 2005, his highly original caricatures were selling for upwards of US$2,000. By the beginning of 2008, quite modest-sized canvases were selling for more than US$30,000. Eko, who is thirty-one, has been invited to art fairs and residencies in Europe, China, the United States and Singapore.

Indonesian-Chinese art collectors

Most of the buyers of this modern art, by comparatively young and inexperienced artists, are still Indonesian – especially wealthy Indonesian-Chinese business people. Many are not Jakarta based, but from East and Central Java, home to some of the richest Indonesian-Chinese families. One major collector is Dr Oei Hong Djin, whose family owns the profi table Djarum Group – producers of a variety of consumer goods like clove cigarettes, televisions and spectacle frames, and owners of a major retail chain. Oei Hong Djin has been collecting Jogja artists for years – a sizable caricature at a major city intersection honours his continued patronage.

Soaring art prices

In part because Indonesian-Chinese interest in contemporary Indonesian art was the principal driver of the boom, there is a suspicion that what lay behind the soaring prices was not the intrinsic value of the art. Farah Wardani, who trained at Goldsmith’s College at the University of London, is frankly appalled at the prices. ‘Look, I don’t mind poppish eye candy, but not for US$20,000. It’s becoming more expensive than Prada.’ Old Indonesian masters like Affandi and Hendra Gunawan fetched high prices at auctions, but some of the young Jogja artists are selling for more. ‘It’s scary,’ says Farah.

Odeck Ariawan, a Balinese friend of mine who collects art and was also spooked by the boom. ‘I have no way of telling
whether what I am buying is going to be worth anything in the future.’ Farah’s frustration as a curator and Odeck’s caution as a buyer are driven by Indonesia’s paucity of established art criticism. Most curators work for private
galleries where commercial, not critical, considerations prevail. ‘It used to take an artist twenty years to reach an established level,’ Farah says. ‘Today you have young artists selling their first paintings for thousands of dollars.’

Indonesian art market manipulation
There is a lot more than art appreciation involved. One theory is that the buyers were looking for a safe place to park their money in an inflationary environment, another that paying cash for art requires less scrutiny than buying
property. There are stories of buyers who arrange for a painting to be put in an auction, and bid up the price to raise the value of the artist – having first bought up the rest of the artist’s production. The process is called goreng goreng
– Indonesian for ‘to fry’. ‘This is moving in the direction of becoming an industry,’ Farah complains. ‘Artists are being asked to produce on demand.’

Putu Sutawijaya – one of top 5 artists
The way the market works outrages many curators, who like to think they are the arbiters of fine art. Even artists are discomfited. Putu Sutawijaya was one of the first young artists to see his work reach phenomenal prices at auction.
Putu has the friendly nonchalance of the Balinese. He struggled for a decade after finishing his studies at ISI. By 2003, he recalls, he was selling paintings for two thousand dollars at most. Then in April 2008 one of his paintings sold
at an auction in Singapore for fifteen times its expected price. Looking for Wings was bid up from a reserve price of eight thousand Singapore dollars to reach one hundred and twenty thousand. Putu responded to his sudden wealth by
rolling up his paintings and hiding them. ‘I was worried. I felt all this pressure to sell for the same high price but what if my work is no good? That’s why I put away some paintings, just in case.’ Success has brought new opportunities
undreamed of in the local context. He spent two weeks in Beijing last year with his own booth at a major art fair and has secured a residency there. He is one of the top five painters in Jogja but fame and status have brought stress.
‘Before, I dreamed of being a well-known artist. Now I’m afraid of disappointment and failure.’

Impact of Valentine Willie, Malaysian art dealer

Valentine Willie, a Malaysian art dealer whose auctions in Singapore helped spark the boom, echoes these concerns. ‘When these artists were unknown they could experiment. They were free to make mistakes. Now they can’t afford to disappoint their buyers and this means they cannot change their style. It puts limits on their creative spirit.’
The art is losing its political edge. Popok’s social tableaux seem more optimistic and Eko’s fantastic automatons are becoming less menacing and cuddlier, set against warm pastel shades.

Art losing its political edge

Agus Suwage’s early work was intended to shock,like his inspiring installation The Final Journey which featured pigs’ skulls on roller skates. Today his themes seem almost sensual: a foot-sucking self-portrait in pink. A lot of the large Masriadi canvases going for high prices tend to be more or less variations on a standard theme – a procession of muscular bodies, male and female, in lurid outfits and provocative poses – a distant cry from his earlier socially engaged work.

The art is also growing in size. Collectors like to buy big and the painters are obliging, with Masriadi‘s, Agus Suwage’s and Putu‘s canvases often more than four square metres. The once socially-engaged artists are slowly becoming financially engaged to their buyers. There is a downside.

New art spaces supporting young artists

If you ask Agung Kurniawan, an artist who is emulating Cemeti with his own art space supporting young artists, the boom was bad, creating as many bankrupts as it did millionaires. ‘I have known many people suddenly get very rich and then just as suddenly they are poor again,’ he tells me as he prepares for his own solo exhibition in The Netherlands. But while I failed to meet any victims of the boom, most of the beneficiaries expressed concern about the future and humility that is characteristic of mainstream Javanese culture.
Putu believes in giving back to the local community. He and his Malaysian-Chinese wife Jenny have established an Art Space in the Nitiprayan district of the city where young artists can exhibit. ‘People struggle to find wall space in this city,’ says Putu, who has bought another piece of land nearby to expand.

Eko Nugroho takes his modesty to absurd lengths, but then his poor boy roots taught him to start sharing the wealth as soon as he earned it. One of the first things he did was to rebuild his neighbour’s house. Eko’s fondness for large, elaborately embroidered tapestries means he now employs dozens of skilled weavers. He has several assistants who help him with sculptures and installations. ‘They are not just helpers, I train them too,’ he says with an honest
smile. ‘I like working as a team; I find painting is too solitary.’ Eko is also the founder of a photocopied biannual art journal called Daging Tumbuh, which offers struggling young artists a chance to have their work showcased for free.
He distributes the journal to galleries and dealers in Jakarta as well as Jogja.

Art turns away from Islam

Flipping through Daging Tumbuh brings home another stark reality of the art boom: in a country regarded by most outsiders as sliding inexorably towards Islamic conservative rule, the young artists of Jogja are moving in the other direction. Agus Purnomo’s abstract canvases use all sorts of numeric and alphabetic symbols but he is reluctant to use Arabic calligraphy. They are catering to a non-Muslim market, but to be among them and see their art and how it has progressed is more of a challenge to one’s knowledge of Japanese and Western pop culture than the finer points of Muslim culture – more Ultraman than Mohammad.

Then there are those artists on the way up. I arrive at Stefan Buana’s modest home on the outskirts of the city. Canvases litter every room and an assistant is busy stretching fresh canvas on wooden frames. Stefan has a show in a month and is feverishly finishing a new collection of paintings. The West Sumatraborn painter has spent a long time toiling for success. Now his paintings fetch enough to pay for his collection of antique Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Yet Stefan isn’t so popular that he is a prisoner of the style that sells. He experiments with texture and material, plastering his canvases with sawdust, creating relief images with staples, cotton thread and even heavy pieces of scrap iron. Politics is an enduring theme for artists like Stefan, whose studio is littered with the broadly smiling visage of former Indonesian President Abdurahhman Wahid, who is fondly known as Gus Dur. Stefan beats old frying woks into the former president’s round faced image because, as he puts it, ‘Gus Dur believed in equality and welfare for all’.

Suharto as a theme
Former President Suharto is another surprising theme. Putu Sutawijaya is planning a series on the late dictator, who died in February 2008. Stefan Buana has created a two metre high stencilled image of Suharto by punching through an inch-thick iron sheet with a blow torch. The image is oddly flattering and recalls the contemporary Chinese love affair with pictures of Mao. This fascination with political leaders is a by-product of the politicised student activism these artists experienced. Perhaps in the new era of genuine democracy, they miss having someone to pillory.


Pop art culture collides with anti-Americanism

Young artists like Lugas Syllabus make success look easy. This fresh-faced native of Palembang who turned twenty-one in 2008 was about to embark on his first solo show in Singapore and looked forward to participating in the Brisbane Art Expo ‘Exist in 08′ that took place in October 2008. He is drawn to performance art and talks excitedly about his installation ‘Pinky and the Bush’. The pop culture Lugas grew up with infuses his imagery but then collides head on with the anti-Americanism spawned by the Bush administration’s war on terror. Fibreglass models of Pinky the white rat, from the cartoon series, and a smaller rat with a Bush-like visage are packed in Styrofoam and
ready to be shipped for his show. On his brand-new laptop, Lugas excitedly describes how the Bush-faced figure dances around a lit globe to the original Pinky and the Brain’s soundtrack. A series of images flash on to his laptop
screen: a killer whale in the desert, an ostrich in a snow drift. The images are edgy and expressive; the colours vivid, almost fluorescent. Nothing is meticulously drawn or detailed. There is something hallucinatory about them. ‘I like
contradictions,’ Lugas says simply, toggling between the laptop and a brand new mobile phone.

Arts management challenges

There is more, much more to see in Jogja; daily exhibitions and performances are announced on notice boards at Cemeti or Kedai Kebun, where Agung Kurniawan has his space. All this activity has generated a need for management. Most of the artists are either too young or too overwhelmed by rapid success to figure out the complexities of commissions and handling their collectors or dealers. Heri Pamed, a Jogja-based dealer, says that one of the artists
he helps, a stick-thin character covered in tattoos who calls himself Bob Sick, isn’t much of a help. ‘Bob Sick sells everything and then gives a lot of his work to friends, so his prices are coming down.’

Help is on the way. In a back room of a spacious house in the south of the city, several young boys are attaching brightly coloured lace brocade to small fibreglass replicas of Michelangelo’s David. It is laborious work and for Titarubi the Bandung-born artist who calls her show ‘Surrounding David’ it appears to represent a significant statement on manhood. When not wrapping David in coloured fabric, Titarubi – who is married to Agus Suwage – is setting up iCan, Jogya’s first arts management company. iCan has only been operating for
a month, so only two artists have signed up but Titarubi hopes to attract the younger talent eager to cash in on the boom more efficiently.

By now I am feeling a little bit like Farah Wardani: I’m not sure all this art is going to make it and is worth the asking price. The real test will be how many of these artists will we be hanging in national galleries and museums in a few
years. Until Indonesia acquires a more respected track record of critical appreciation and better museums and galleries, it is unlikely that any of them will be revered and remembered – some of the best works by Raden Saleh, Indonesia’s nineteenth century virtuoso portrait painter, hang to this day in The Netherlands.

Only 5 Indonesian artists will survive

The dealers and collectors I meet suggest that only a handful, no more than five of the fifty or so currently enjoying success at auction or through gallery sales, stand out as artists of lasting value. Jogjakarta may be a city of ten thousand artists, but five is not a legacy in a country of more than two hundred and thirty million people. Back in his little house behind the palace, I ask Mas Sugeng the puppet maker whether he sees his craft surviving. ‘Oh yes,’ he answers quite emphatically, ‘but not at quite the same level of skill. People simply aren’t willing to pay as much anymore for handicrafts.’

Michael Vatikiotis spent a week in Jogjakarta in 2008 to research this article. His story ‘In pursuit of faith’ appeared in Griffith REVIEW 18: In the Neighbourhood and is reproduced with permission.

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Seismic changes in Indonesian art scene since 2007 Borobodur auction

Posted by artradar on December 12, 2008


Jompet Kuswidananto

Jompet Kuswidananto

 

 

ART SCENE INDONESIA

As a side event of the Christie’s autumn sales, a lecture called “Keep on Watching! The Yogyakartan Art Scene Today” was given on 29 November 2008 by Cemeti Art House gallerist Mella Jaarsma. 

Today the Indonesian art scene is driven by the private sector  because of an almost total absence of art infrastructure and government support. Until 2007, the art scene in Indonesia was also overlooked by the international markets. For many years art production was driven purely by the desire for self expression  but since 2007 there have been some profound changes in the motivation, interests and techniques of artists, Mella Jaarsma explained.

Start of Indonesian art boom:  Borobodur auction Singapore October 2007

The Borobodur auction organised in collaboration with dealer Valentine Willie from Malaysia and held in Singapore less than eighteen months ago, was a turning point. Valentine Willie included contemporary works from Southeast Asia in the sale and produced a comprehensive accompanying catalogue explaining artists’ concepts and giving reviews of each Southeast Asian country.  Almost all the works were sold, many to non-Indonesian buyers. This had a powerful effect on the significant Indonesian collectors who already had a tradition of buying Modern Indonesian artists: now they were persuaded of the worth in contemporary Indonesian art too.

Impact on galleries: new galleries opening

As a result of the new market in contemporary art, many new galleries have been opening in Yogyakarta and the capital Jakarta. All the galleries are chasing the same artists however and in order to secure the best-selling artists, they pay high fees to ‘independent curators’ to secure the works of the ‘right’ artists. But the high fees demanded by the curators to bring in desired artists create a self-perpetuating dynamic which demands that galleries attract top-selling art just to survive. This means there is little interest by galleries in showing experimental or less marketable work.

Impact on curatorship: higher status but less independence

One of the positive repercussions of this art market ecology is that curators are now being given more status and opportunities: they get to travel (for example to art fairs) and to publish (in catalogues, books and art magazines). But in their role as paid brokers or middlemen between galleries and artists, they lose the independence which is commonly regarded as a valuable aspect of curatorship.

Impact on young artists: poor bio data

Young artists fresh from art institutes are hopping from one exhibition to the other and are only producing works when invited for a show and according to the theme set by the curator. They are losing the opportunity to develop a unique vision and their own body of work. Some artists cannot even produce biodata as they skip opportunities for residencies and biennales in favour of producing directly for collectors via galleries.

These practices are in marked contrast to those of the mid-career artists such as Heri Dono, Agus Suwage, Ugo Untoro who work in studios, research and experiment. They produce difficult-to-sell works such as installations, performances and posters in addition to their marketable pieces.

New art: fast food

Most of the young artists belong to art communities which are related to specific media:

  • Mes56 – photography
  • Daging Tumbuh – comics
  • Mulyakarya  – comics
  • Jogja Mural Forum – street art
  • Grafis Minggiran – print-making
  • Vivid Animix – animation, comics
  • Gas – print-making, design
  • Pisangseger – print-making
  • Simponi – fiber and textile

In Mella Jaarsma’s view the concerns and activities of young Indonesian artists mirror those of young artists throughout Asia:

“These young artists engage in safe play with little introspection and the works produced are often sweet, non-critical and ready to be consumed….It is an observation true all over Asia. Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez, a curator and writer from Manila, calls this new generation image-crafters and object makers of fast food art.”

Jaarsma then ended the lecture with an encouraging series of images of works by young artists who are, despite all, developing their own unique oeuvre such as Jompet Kuswidananto whose work Java’s Machine Phantasmagoria has been shown at the Yokahama Trienniale 2008 and is now on show at Cemeti.

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Ravenel Art announces first Hong Kong auction of modern and contemporary art

Posted by artradar on November 16, 2008


Hino Korehiko My Elegance

Hino Korehiko My Elegance

 

AUCTION NEWS HONG KONG

In a move which supports the growing status of Hong Kong as Asia’s art market hub, Taiwanese auction house Ravenel Art announces its first Hong Kong auction of Contemporary and Modern Asian Art on Monday December 1, 2008.

Categories include:
In Modern Chinese Art  works by Sanyu, Zao Wou-ki and Chu Teh-chun will be offered. In the Chinese Contemporary section important works by Zhang Xiaogang, Zeng Fanzhi, Wang Guangyi, Yue Minjun and Yan Pei Ming will come under the hammer.

Ravenel Art will also include works by Korean, Japanese, S. E. Asian and Indian artists. Kim Tschang-yeul and Park Seo-Bo, two of the most important Korean artists will be represented. Paintings by Japanese artists Hino Korehiko and Hiroyuki Matsuura are sure to attract much attention. The S. E. Asian section will include works by Agus Suwage and Budi Kustarto, two of the most sought after artists at the moment. A work by Justin Ponmany, one of the leading Indian contemporary artists will also be on offer.

Zhang Xiaotao Picture of Early Spring

Zhang Xiaotao Picture of Early Spring

The auction will be held in the Four Seasons Hotel Ballroom, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong on Monday December 1.

Ravenel Art was founded in 1999 and it holds two annual Spring and Autumn auctions in Taipei and will hold Spring and Autumn auctions in Hong Kong. It specializes in Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art, Korean, Japanese, S. E. Asian and Indian Contemporary Art. The company has offices in Taipei, Hong Kong and Beijing.

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Cheaper works sell at Larasati, Borobodur auctions and art fair Singapore – Bloomberg

Posted by artradar on October 18, 2008


MARKET WATCH

Two Singapore auctions of Asian art at the weekend missed estimates as a slump in global financial markets kept many buyers away.

Borobodur Auction Pte’s two-day sale of Chinese and Southeast Asian art totaled S$11 million ($7.5 million), compared with a presale estimate of S$18 million, according to John Andreas, the company’s founder. Rival Larasati Auctioneers’ Oct. 11 sale tallied S$2.1 million, less than the S$2.5 million predicted. The auction houses released results today.

The day before the auctions began, Singapore announced its economy had slipped into a recession and the MSCI Asia Pacific stocks index fell 6.9 percent, capping its worst week since the measure was created in 1987.

Sales of Chinese contemporary art were weakest, with only about 40 percent of lots finding buyers, Andreas said. Works by top Chinese artists have risen tenfold or more in the past decade, making them the most expensive in Asia.

“The financial crisis does not affect the Southeast Asian art as much, but for the Chinese artists it is very bad,” said Andreas. “For the artists that have not gone up so high, the demand is still strong.”

Borobodur’s top lot from its Oct. 12 Southeast Asian sale was Agus Suwage’s “Cleaning the Mirror: Homage to Marina Abramovic,” which sold for S$444,000, including fees. The highest price in the company’s Asian art auction the day before was Chinese artist Wang Guangyi’s “Rolex,” which fetched S$504,000, including commission. Yue Minjun’s “Life Pose,” which had the top presale estimate of as much as S$500,000, didn’t sell. Three quarters of the Southeast Asian lots sold against 57 percent of the Asian session.

Masriadi’s Target

Larasati’s top lot was I Nyoman Masriadi’s “The Target,” a picture of a woman, face and arms painted red, with hands clasped like a gun. The 1.9 meter-wide, acrylic-on-canvas sold for S$156,000, with fees, compared with the S$150,000 presale estimate, the company said. A third of the lots offered didn’t find buyers.

A week earlier at Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong, Masriadi broke the record for a Southeast Asian contemporary work, when his picture “The Man From Bantul (The Final Round)” sold for HK$7.8 million ($1 million).

The weekend auctions took place during the four-day ArtSingapore fair, Southeast Asia’s biggest, which ended yesterday. The event drew 110 galleries from 16 countries, with a special emphasis on art from India and South Korea. About S$80 million of art was offered, the organizer said.

Stallholders at the sale echoed the mood at the auctions, with sub-S$20,000 works from South and Southeast Asia more popular with buyers than higher-priced Chinese works.

Cheaper Lots Sell

“It went very well under the circumstances,” said Chen Shen Po, director of ArtSingapore. “Last year, everyone was selling S$50,000, S$100,000, S$200,000 works. This year it was more the S$20,000-to-S$30,000 range.”

She said the sale total was probably about the same as 2007, declining to give specifics.

“Given the circumstances coming into the fair, our expectations were quite low,” said Adam Chu of Shanghai-based Hwa’s Gallery, which showed works by Chinese artists such as He Juan and Guo Rui. “This was the least-attended of the five fairs we’ve been to this year.”

Chu said the gallery sold 20 works at the SHContemporary show in Shanghai in September. In Singapore it sold none.

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Indonesian, Filipino prices rise at Sotheby’s despite meltdown

Posted by artradar on October 13, 2008


I Nyoman Masriadi The Final Round

I Nyoman Masriadi The Final Round

 

AUCTION SOUTH EAST ASIAN ART 2008

Sotheby’s autumn sales in Hong Kong were grim apart from the South East Asian sale which provided some much needed relief. The success of the sale prompted an ebullient quip from Sotheby’s entertaining auctioneer Chin Yeow : “Is there a financial meltdown out there because I am not feeling it. The banks should ask our bidders if they need money!”

The sale included Malaysian, Filipino, Singaporean and Vietnamese art but was dominated by Indonesian works. Bidding was thin for Vietnamese lots and these attracted interest mainly from Paris. In contrast the Filipino and in particular the Indonesian lots attracted fierce bidding wars from bidders on all continents.

The works which attracted most interest included those by I Nyoman Masriadi, Agus Suwage, Rudy Mantofani and FX Harsano.

Two Indonesian markets: modern/colonial and contemporary/popular

Information about Indonesian art is notoriously difficult to come by. Helen Spanjaard, a Dutch art academic specialising in Indonesian art (one of only two in the world who speak English she says), explains that there are two distinct markets for Indonesian works – the colonial/Dutch influenced body of works eg Affandi and the new generation mostly born in the seventies.

“There is established buying support for the colonial works mostly from Chinese Indonesian collectors who compete with one another to drive up prices”. There is a second much more international market for the seventies generation artists. Dr Spanjaard notes that those works which are particularly popular are reminiscent of Chinese pop art or refer to popular cultural influences such as cartoons, superheros, flat stylisation, fantasy.

This was certainly borne out in the sale. Indonesian artist I Nyoman Masriadi’s The Man From Bantul (The Final Round), 2000, lot 838, an impressive triptych of a fight painted in a flat stylised manner sold for HK$7,820,000 (US$1,000,725) after lively bidding, five times its high estimate of HK$1-1.5 million.

A number of other works by Masriadi fetched impressive prices  including Petualanganku Berakhir Setelah Ketemu Ibumu (My Adventure Ended After I Met Your Mother), which sold for HK$2,900,000 (US$371,113) (lot 895, est. HK$250/350,000), and Too Small, which achieved HK$1,820,000 (US$232,905) (lot 808, est. HK$250/350,000), both bringing many times their high estimates. These works featured flat images with cartoon-style poses and speech bubbles.

Sotheby’s again set a record for the work of Rudi Mantofani (b. 1973) following the record price achieved
in its series of spring 2008 sales last season. Pohon-Pohon Langit (Sky Trees) sold for HK$3,020,000
(US$386,469), bringing almost eight times its high estimate (lot 868, est. HK$280,000 – $380,000). Mantofani is known for his surreal fantasy landscapes in which for example trees are clouds and shadows are holes.

Artist records were also broken for Dipo Andy and Jumaldi Alfi. More abstract contemporary works and by for example Yunizar, Putu Satawijaya and the moderns also attracted interest but to a lesser extent.

Filipino artists

Filipino artists who did well in this sale included Geraldine Javier, Ronald Ventura, Annie Cabigting, Yasmin Sison and Lirio Salvador.

Why is South East Asian art so popular now?

Some commentators note that there is a structural issue which is affecting the art market. Today’s buyers are more speculative than at any time in the history of art buying and that the interest in South East Asian works is coming from former buyers of Chinese art who are looking for the next hot trend. Others note that the sale was a success because prices of South East Asian art are relatively cheap compared with other markets.

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Chinese, Indian leading artists fail to sell at Sotheby’s Asian Art evening sale October 2008

Posted by artradar on October 5, 2008


Kang Hyung-Koo

Kang Hyung-Koo

 

 

 

REPORT FROM THE AUCTION ROOM

Big name Chinese and Indian artists and several premium lot artworks failed to sell at Sotheby’s October 2008 evening sale of contemporary and modern Asian art but the sale pointed to a new trend of enthusiastic collecting interest in South East Asian art.

Sotheby’s presented its first evening sale of Asian art in Hong Kong 4 October 2008 following Christie’s lead in the Spring auctions. Although Sotheby’s was more aggressive in the number of lots offered (Sotheby’s 47, Christie’s 32), Sotheby’s sale was generally a more diverse cautious offering compared with Christie’s. Sotheby’s presented:

  • artworks covering more time periods (Sotheby’s contemporary and modern, Christie’s contemporary only)
  • artworks from more geographical markets ( Both: Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Sotheby’s added Filipino and Indonesian)
  • a greater price range at Sothebys with given estimates ranging from US$13,000 to more than US$3.85 million (Christie’s lowest given estimate was US$64,100 and ranged up to US$3.2m).

The results however could not have been more different. While Christie’s sale was a resounding success Sotheby’s sold only 28 of the 47 lots on offer.

The auction room was packed with all of the 200 or so seats taken and though more seats were brought in 30-40 people had to remain standing at the back. There were two rows of Sothebys staff (30-40 people) taking telephone bids. The auction room hummed with anticipation and got off to a roaring start with the first two lots. Filipino artist Ronald Ventura’s ‘Pinamumugaran’ attracted furious bidding and achieved a price of US$230,000 ex premium compared with estimates in the range US$13,000 to US$23,000. The next lot Indonesian artist Handiwirman Saputra’s ‘Mental Series No 8’ estimated at US$25,000- US$40,000 was also successful and eventually sold for US$140,000 ex premium.

Enthusiasm quickly waned during the next two lots of Indian art: lot 3 by  Thukral and Tagra just exceeded the estimate and lot 4 by Jagannath Panda missed its estimate.

The first big upset was lot 5 Subodh Gupta’s ‘Untitled’ estimated at US$1.5 – 2million. Known as the leading Indian contemporary artist Gupta was the first Indian contemporary artist to be included in international auction sales. Sotheby’s had high hopes for this lot but it failed to meet the reserve and went unsold. This set the tone for the next 7 lots; although the works were by  big name Indian and Chinese contemporary artists only 2 (Zhang Xiaogang and Feng Zhengjie) sold just scraping the bottom end of the estimates.

I Nyoman Masriadi

I Nyoman Masriadi

The remainder of the sale was slow and bidding was sticky apart from a couple of bright spots. Indonesian artist I Nyoman Masriadi’s ‘Sorry Hero, Saya Lupa’ estimated at US$48 – 75,000 attracted wide bidding from the room and phones and was finally sold for over US$500,000. Other artists who attracted several bidders and sold above estimates included Korean artists Lee Bul and Kang Hyung-Koo and Indonesian artists Agus Suwage and Affandi.

Contemporary Chinese artists who failed to sell any works in the sale included Liu Wei, Wang Guangyi, Tang Zhigang, Zeng Fanzhi, Yan Pei-ming, Feng Lijun. Chinese Moderns were not spared and lots by Liao Jichun, Chang Yu, Zhu Dequn were not sold. Other Asian artists who were not successful included Indians Subodh Gupta, Justin Ponmany, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami and founder of new media art Nam June Paik.

Some commentators suggest that this sale has been less successful because it coincides with a structural turning point in buyers’ tastes which are speculative and fad-led by nature and that interest in Chinese contemporary art has been replaced with a new enthusiasm for Korean and South East Asian art.

Fads aside, the correlation between prices of works and demand is certainly striking demonstrating a new price sensitivity by buyers of Asian art. September’s financial meltdown is no doubt the leading cause of the many failures in this sale but other factors may also be involved. The number of auctions and fairs has exploded in the last two years providing excess supply of art just when demand is reducing. This Sotheby’s auction competes with the concurrent Hong Kong International Art and Antiques Fair in which art is shown by over 80 galleries in 5000 sq metres of space on the floor above Sotheby’s sale at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Sotheby’s sale also overlaps with Korea’s leading auction house Seoul Auction’s first auction in Hong Kong which is offering high quality Korean Japanese Chinese and Western modern and contemporary works.

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Art fair Shanghai breaks new ground with Best of Discovery emerging artists – Financial Times, Artkrush

Posted by artradar on September 14, 2008


 

Tushar Joag 

ART FAIR CHINA EMERGING ARTISTS

“Best of Discovery” is a unique curated section of Shanghai’s premier art fair ShContemporary 08 featuring over 30 selected emerging artists from the Asia Pacific region who are presented to a global audience for the first time. 

In a “ground-breaking move”  ShContemporary founder Rudolf has commissioned a team of  independent curators with knowledge of their given regions to make an informed selection of work by promising younger artists largely unknown on the international stage says the Financial Times.  They have scoured not only China but Australasia, Central Asia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, the Middle East, Taiwan and Thailand.

The works are on display in an open-format, museum-like installation in the grounds of and inside the imposing Soviet-built Shanghai Exhibition Centre, where the ShContemporary fair is held from September 10 to 13 2008.

Selected on merit not gallery affiliation

The pieces have been selected not on gallery affiliation but on merit alone. “In fact” says the Financial Times “half the artists selected had no gallery representation at all. For the purposes of the fair, exhibiting dealers have sponsored these artists, forging temporary relationships that may well continue after the event.”

“Markedly experimental”

The 11 international curators selected a range of “markedly experimental” works says Artkrush. “Pieces by better-known figures such as Beijing’s Wang Luyan – a muscular satirist of consumption and politics – share space with Yael Bartana who employs cultural symbols to unpack political concerns, and from Japan, upstart provocateur Tadasu Takamine – most notorious for his controversial Kimura-san video, which shows the artist helping a disabled friend masturbate – is grouped with his more sedate countryman Sakae Ozawa.”

Intriguing art from Central Asia, Caucasus

The Financial Times notes that “the most intriguing is the work being produced in those regions where creativity has been frozen, corrupted or isolated for decades, even centuries”. Perhaps least known is the art of the new Central Asian republics which first made their debut on the international stage at the Venice Biennale in 2005. To represent Central Asia and the Caucasus, curator Sara Raza has alighted on the work of the outlandish Kazak performance artist Erbossyn Meldibekov and also on the emerging Georgian artist Sophia Tabatadze.

List of Asian artistsCambodia: Sopheap Pich (1969 Cambodia), Central Asia: Sophia Tabatadze (1977 Georgia), Erbossyn Meldibekov (1964 Kazakhstan), China: Wang Luyan (1956 Beijing), Zhu Jinshi (1954 Beijing), Wang Zhiyuan (1958 Tianjin China), Shi Yong (1963 Shanghai), Chen Yenling (1969 China), Taiwan: Effie Wu (1973 Taiwan), Huang Po-Chih (1980 Taiwan), India: Tushar Joag (1966 India), Vibha Galhotra (1978 India), Ved Gupta (1975 India), Sumedh Rajendran (1972 India), Indonesia: Agus Suwage (1959 Indonesia), J Ariadhitya Pramuhendra (1984 Indonesia), Japan: Tadasu Takamine (1968 Japan), Sakae Ozawa (1980 Japan), Hiraki Sawa (1977 Japan), Korea: Jina Park (1974 US works in Korea), Clara Shin (1974 Brazil works in Korea), Jo Jong Sung( 1977 Korea), Thailand: Dearborn K Mendhaka (1979 Thailand), Vietnam: Nguyen Thai Tuan (1965 Vietnam), Israel: Yael Bartana (1970 Israel), Iran: Reza Aramesh (1968 Iran)

List of Asian specialist curators: Erin Gleeson (Cambodia), Sara Raza (Central Asia, Western Asia, Middle East), Huang Du (China), Sean CS Hsu (Taiwan), Deeksha Nath (India), Rikky Effendy (Indonesia), Reiko Tsubaki (Japan), Shin Young Chung (Korea), Sutee Kunavichayanont (Thailand), Din Q Le (Vietnam)

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