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Posts Tagged ‘banks and art’

“Korean Eye: Fantastic Ordinary” exhibition tours London, Singapore, and Seoul

Posted by artradar on August 10, 2010


KOREAN ARTISTS WESTERN EXPOSURE

The Saatchi Gallery in London once again hosted the popular exhibition “Korean Eye“, which showcases emerging Korean artists to the West. This year the exhibition will travel; in October and November it will travel to Singapore and Seoul with the aim of reaching a wider audience.

“Korean Eye,” founded by curator David Ciclitira, specialises in introducing Korean artists to the international market, giving them recognition outside the Asian region. The first exhibition, “Korean Eye: Moon Generation” in 2009, was extended due to its popularity, reaching 40,000 visitors in two weeks, and ultimately drawing a total 250,000 visitors.

The 2010 exhibition “Korean Eye: Fantastic Ordinary” hosts over thirty works by twelve talented Korean artists with little prior exposure to the Western market. This year the show started off at the Saatchi Gallery in London, and will move to Singapore in October and Seoul in November, to coincide with the G20 Summit.

Bae Joon Sung, 'The Costume of Painter - Drawing of Museum R, J. L. David lie down Dress Inn', 2009, oil and lenticular on canvas, 181.8 x 259.1 cm.

Bae Joon Sung, 'The Costume of Painter - Drawing of Museum R, J. L. David lie down Dress Inn', 2009, oil and lenticular on canvas, 181.8 x 259.1 cm.

The ten artists participating in this years exhibit are: Bae Chan Hyo, Bae Joon Sung, Gwon Osang, Young In Hong, Jeon Joonho, Ji Yong Ho, Kim Dong Yoo, Kim Hyun Soo, Park Eun Young, and Shin Meekyoung. In addition, 2009 Joong Ang Fine Art Prize winner Jeon Chae Gang and Perrier-Jouet nominated artist Lee Rim will join the list of members.

The success of the franchise clearly shows a rise in interest towards Korean art, but may also have something to do with shrewd management. In a 2009 Art Radar interview, “Korean Eye” founder David Ciclitira revealed his views on the future of the art industry and his unique take on the management of art exhibitions, both of which should involve not only collector and auction house input but also government support and bank sponsorship.

What I’ve found interesting in this whole learning process is how unsophisticated the art world is, because when you work in major sports events, there are more dates, so much more research, everything is television linked to media values, and art feels amateur when you look at how they do things, and it’s no small wonder that when they need to raise massive money, they find it quite hard.

“Korean Eye” is funded by Standard Chartered, one of Britain’s largest banks, and features each of its artists along with a catalogue of their work to create an international selling environment for the brand new Korean works. It has opened up a window of awareness for Korean art in the West and suggests a rise in Korean contemporary art sales in future.

Plans for the 2011 and 2012 exhibitions have already been made and involve further expansion. “Korean Eye” will continue at Saatchi Gallery in 2011 and in 2012, and in 2012, plans have been made to expand “Korean Eye” over the entire gallery, where works will be selected and curated by Charles Saatchi and the gallery’s team.

MM/KN

Related Topics: David Ciclitira, gallery shows, Korean artists, venues – London

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Posted in Asia expands, Business of art, David Ciclitira, Gallery shows, Korean, London, Promoting art, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nindityo Adipurnomo talks with Art Radar on “+Road” collaboration with Myanmar artists, “gambling spirit” of Indonesian collectors

Posted by artradar on July 21, 2010


ART PROFESSIONAL INTERVIEW INDONESIAN ART EVENTS

In an Art Radar Asia exclusive interview with Cemeti founder Nindityo Adipurnomo, we hear the fascinating story of their latest venture working collaboratively with artists from Myanmar.  Read on to learn how cultural conflicts and artistic disappointments were eventually resolved.

New Zero Art Space in Myanmar and Cemeti Art House in Indonesia joined hands in June this year to present the collaborative project and exhibition “+Road|5 Myanmar Artists + 5 Jogja Artists in Yogyakarta.

Within a tight schedule of two weeks, five Burmese artists and five Indonesian artists interacted and produced performances, videos and installations.

These creations acted as a language through which the two distinctive cultures could communicate their differences, resolve conflicts and move closer to mutual understanding.

The five participating Myanmar artists included Aye Ko, (Executive Director of New Zero Art Space), May Moe Thu, Htoo Aung Kyaw, Nwe (Thin Lei Nwe) and Zoncy (Zon Sapal Phyu). The five Indonesian artists were Doger Panorsa, Ikhsan Syahirul Alim (Ican), Restu Ratnaningtyas, Ristyanto Cahyo Wibowo and Wibowo Adi Utama.

To understand more about how the collaborative project came into being, how the event was viewed by the local art community, and to gain some insight into the Indonesian art scene, Art Radar Asia spoke with Nindityo Adipurnomo, one of the executive directors of Cemeti Art House.

+Road| 5 Myanmar Artists + 5 Jogja Artists, a collaborative exhibition currently being held at Indonesian art gallery, Cemeti Art House.

From a commercial art promotion to a cross-cultural art exchange project

Nindityo Adipurnomo explained that the idea of collaboration between the two art spaces was initiated by Aye Ko, Myanmar artist and director of New Zero Art Space and Community New Zero Art Space. Ko thought that, by hosting a project of this kind, New Zero Art Space might land an exchange grant from the Asian Cultural Council in New York. With this in mind, Ko proposed the idea to Mella Jaarsma and Nindityo Adipurnomo, co-owners/coordinators of the renowned Indonesian gallery Cemeti Art House and winners of the 2006 John D. Rockefeller 3rd Awards, who expressed a keen interest.

Art censored in Burma

The couple saw “+Road” as an excellent opportunity to develop networks within regions such as Myanmar. They had learnt much from New Zero Art Space and they had been seeking opportunities to cooperate with them since attending the New Zero Art Space organised 2007 ASEAN Contemporary Art Exchange Program, an event open only to members of the space. Of the programme, Adipurnomo recalled how each of the artists, gallery owners and art activists who participated had to bring along a single painting of a limited size with no political message. The night before the event, the Burmese police came and censored the art works on display, and removed the works of four Burmese artists. Despite this horrific episode, the programme was fruitful; each of the art activists present conducted informative talks.

In addition, “+Road”‘s aims were in line with the project-based platform Cemeti Art House has been working under since the beginning of 2010. This new platform focuses on an alternative approach to art and society in Indonesia. They have a successful model to follow; Landing Soon (2006-2009) was a three year exchange program in which one Dutch artist and one Indonesian artist resided in Yogyakarta and received assistance, guidance, and support from the studio manager through weekly progress reports.

“The reason [for launching the new platform] was because we were fed up with all the exhibition models, art fairs, auctions in Indonesia; [these events] never pay attention to invest in a kind of  healthy regeneration of the art scene. No, I’m one hundred percent sure that they do not realise this. The Indonesian commercial art scene has been investing in promotion only.” Nindityo Adipurnom

Conflicting goals of Burmese and Indonesians

However, it turned out Aye Ko wasn’t thinking about the kind of collaborative exhibition Adipurnomo had in mind. Basically, he just wanted to use Cemeti’s exhibition space for a group exhibition of five Myanmar artists and five Indonesian artists, where published catalogues could distributed. His commercial approach to the collaboration, which did not aim to provide any platform for meaningful interactions among artists, was certainly not what Cemeti Art House wanted.

“We did not want to only organise a promotional exhibition that has no interesting curatorial subject, not being involved in how artists go through their process before presenting their works in exhibition. And so we, in the end, asked [the artists] to just come to Yogyakarta; not bring any paintings with them. Instead, each of [the artists] should be well prepared with an individual artwork presentation in Power Point to see what we can do together.” Nindityo Adipurnomo

Jaarsma and Adipurnomo tried carefully to intervene and transform the  cooperation into a “mutual exchange project” instead: a program involving short events such as artists’ talks, discussions, workshops and master classes, allowing both groups of artists to understand each other better and create possibilities for a deeper collaboration, with an exhibition as the end goal. And in Jaarsma and Adipurnomo’s eyes, it was a success. “+Road” became a truly collaborative project for the ten artists involved, where they could engage themselves in intensive cultural exchanges and meaningful interactions.

Mix of talents strongly affects resulting artwork

The choice of the five Burmese artists and the five Indonesian artists was made separately by New Zero Art Space and Cemeti Art House respectively. Adipurnomo launched an open application, attracting nearly seventy artists, and selected five from this group. He admits to being disappointed with the choice made by New Zero Art Space. Among the five Burmese artists, only two were professional artists, while the rest of them were new members of New Zero Art Space and were very amateur beginners. In contrast, the Yogyakarta artists selected by Cemeti Art House had a lot professional experience.

Disappointment at Cemeti

“[The Burmese artists] are bad painters: they cannot draw, have no sense of colour and have, in fact, a very superficial sense of  exploring materials… While our local Yogyakarta artists you can see, … that they were very well trained academically, strong and skillfull in model drawings, sketches, colours, well experienced in treating materials with good sense.” Nindityo Adipurnomo

Burmese artists favour performance art, political art

Although the Burmese artists were generally inexperienced painters, their strength lay in performance art, an artistic skill which the Yogyakarta artists were either still developing or not interested in exploring.

“My very personal observation was that the artists from Yangoon were very much into performance art. They are very direct, expressive and always fulled of political intentions in their performance. They really use their body as the most direct tool and medium…. It often becomes a physical movement that is very close to a dance performance. One of our local artists participating in this project was [hesitant] to join the workshop on performance!” Nindityo Adipurnomo

This mix of opposing artistic strengths, differences which became very apparent during the workshops, influenced what was produced for the exhibition finale. “+Road” showcased a lot of video works and photographs, and a smaller number of installation and performance pieces, with no paintings at all.

Zon Sapal Phyu's 'Revolution of Own Space' (mixed media).

Aye Ko's 'No Money, Hungry, Hard Eating' (photography, video).

Wibowo Adi Utama's 'Art-NARCHY' (video).

Ikhsan Syahirul Alim's 'Commando Dance' (video, karaoke).

More opportunities open up future collaboration

Overall, Cemeti Art House viewed the collaboration as a successful pilot project, achieving its aim of engaging artists from two cultures in interactions that led to a gradual mutual understanding.

“[The] major understanding [the artists] did have was cultural dialogues. This is something that I find you can not just improvise in an Internet facilitation. You really need to [be] facing each other. Building up your assumptions, making a lot of missunderstandings and opening up conflicts, so that in the end you will understand each other better. We did ask every Indonesian artist to be a partner everyday by sitting on the same motorcycle – one motorcycle for two artists – during the two week intensive dialogue…. The time was just too short for so many reasons. But now we know better how to handle and open up more networks with young artists, who are really willing to continue in a deeper context.” Nindityo Adipurnomo

Working towards a healthy regeneration of the Indonesian contemporary art scene

Adipurnomo considers Cemeti Art House to be ground-breaking in promoting a healthy regeneration of the Indonesian contemporary art scene, which has grown largely commercially up to this point. From “rumours and a very quick-glimpse analyzation and observation”, he suggests that banks have been gaining control of the Indonesian art market.

Banking money makes a mark in the Indonesian art market

“In the beginning, [art] was dominated by rich people around the tobacco industry. Of course, Dr. Oei Hong Djien was the respected ‘pioneer’ of the Indonesian collectors, among many others who were more nationally known; Dr. Oei Hong Djien is going international quickly. He was also very generous in educating and influencing many other rich Chinese people in the tobacco industry to invest their capital in art. Starting from that mile stone, Indonesian art dealers and collectors [were] growing fast. Most of [these collectors] were hunting names instead of, you know, a ‘quality’. They created many kinds of tricks in order to get as many ‘big names’ as possible, which they could easily call ‘masterpiece’ makers. Auctions and art fairs were becoming a medium for them to gamble in so many tricky ways. This rapid growth of gambling spirit stimulated many other rich people, out of this tobacco industry, to borrow money from banks to join this gambling. That is the way banks are now getting involved. A lot of bankers started to invest their capital in the arts.” Nindityo Adipurnomo

New Jogyakarta Art Fair attracts outside collectors

With the opening of the Jogyakarta Art Fair recently, art dealers and bankers, many of whom had never visited the region before, flocked to Cemeti Art House to see what was happening. This is, perhaps, further evidence that the Indonesian arts scene is commercialising.

“Cemeti Art House is considered to be ground-breaking in promoting a healthy regeneration of the art scene. We have only been ‘fighting’ for that faith for so long. Of course, we are not the only ones. There are many others, such us Ruang Rupa in Jakarta, and the new comers like JARF (Jatiwangi Artists in Residence Festival), Forum Lenteng, and many other smaller scale [organisations] who come up and disappear and come up with different formulas [only] to dissappear again.” Nindityo Adipurnomo

CBKM/KN/KCE

Related Topics: Myanmar artists, Indonesian artists, art spaces, collaborative art

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Posted in Art spaces, Artist Nationality, Artist-run, Business of art, Collaborative, Collectors, Events, Gallery shows, Indonesia, Indonesian, Interviews, Multi category, Myanmar/Burmese, Nindityo Adipurnomo, Performance, Promoting art, Venues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Collector Ciclitira, founder of Korean Eye, makes big plans for Korean art

Posted by artradar on June 30, 2009


KOREAN ART

If you have an interest in Korean contemporary art, be sure to make time for the latest 20 minute podcast from Arttactic, a London-based research house.

In it, British collector and sports promoter David Ciclitira, together with Rodman Primack, Phillip de Pury’s London chairman, discuss Korean Eye, a multi-year initiative founded by Ciclitira which aims to promote Korean contemporary art to a Western and ultimately international audience.

Hyung Koo Kang, Woman, 2009

Hyung Koo Kang, Woman, 2009

Korean Eye is holding its first 31 artist exhibition at The Saatchi Gallery in London until 5 July 2009 and the exhibition catalogue is available online. “This space in London is the iconic space right now, it has three to four thousand people a day going through the space in 20 days, so we’ll have 60 to 80 thousand people coming through, so that will be good” says Ciclitira in an interview with Art Market Monitor.

None of it’s from my collection. It’s all brand new. It’s all for sale. I’ve built up a collection of Korean contemporary art in the last two or three years. But I asked a young curator to put the show together, so it’s his choice of artists. I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, but when you hire a curator, you let them do it.

Later Ciclitira plans to bring a larger Korean Eye-branded show to other ‘markets’  including perhaps Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong.

Seung WookSim, black mutated ornamentation 2007, hot glue on steel frame

Seung Wook Sim, black mutated ornamentation 2007, hot glue on steel frame

‘The Korean Eye’ initiative is interesting on several fronts:

1. Bringing Korean art to the West

Korean contemporary art has, as yet, had little exposure in the West.

Chinese and Japanese contemporary art have already received academic and critical attention from universities and museums in Western cultures. However unlike Japanese art which has experienced long international exposure and Chinese art which has strong national support from economic growth, Korean art is in the shadows. note 1

Ciclitira points out in the podcast that although show catalogues produced in Korea are of a high quality, there is not yet a bilingual book on Korean contemporary art, a gap which ‘Korean Eye’ plans to address in the next 18 months.

Koreans have a 25 year history of collecting Western artists but support for local artists is burgeoning. There has been a growth spurt in the number of Korean galleries in the last 2-3 years and artists are not harnessed to individual galleries. The resulting competitive environment created keen pricing even before the recession. Now the recession is stimulating further discounts. Korean galleries are present at Asian art fairs and have set up galleries across Asia but are still rare further west.

Park Seung Mo, Contrabass

Park Seung Mo, Contrabass

2. Bank sponsorship money can still be found …in Asia

Funds available from bank sponsorship have been thin on the ground since the Lehman collapse in autumn 2008. While the Hong Kong Art Fair ’09 failed to find a replacement sponsor for Lehman, Ciclitira has had better luck:

I’ve been very fortunate to be sponsored by Standard Chartered. That’s not a bank known to many American people. It’s now Britain’s second-largest bank. It was the only bank that didn’t invest in subprime. It’s in 108 markets around the world. It’s highly profitable. It’s basically a Hong Kong-based business. But it’s the largest single foreign investor in Korea. They bought a major bank there, and it’s a really super bank which supports, locally, art. That’s one of the things that they do. And they’ve been really, really supportive of this project. I have been amazed how much traction we’ve gotten from their involvement. So in this time of recession, they’ve been very helpful and we hopefully get to work together with them in the future to build it in other markets.

3. Branded selling exhibitions – a new style of show

Finally ‘Korean Eye’ represents a new style of branded selling exhibition which brings together a collector’s passion, government support, bank sponsorship and auction house sales expertise.

Somewhat like Saatchi, Ciclitira has a background as a professional promoter and an ongoing passion for art. But whereas Saatchi has chosen to exhibit his own self-curated non-selling shows, Ciclitira makes no bones about his plans to develop ‘Korean Eye’ as a brand of selling shows. While he admits to having experienced a steep learning curve:

What I’ve found interesting in this whole learning process is how unsophisticated the art world is, because when you work in major sports events, there are more dates, so much more research, everything is television linked to media values, and art feels amateur when you look at how they do things, and it’s no small wonder that when they need to raise massive money, they find it quite hard.

David-Ciclitira-330x449

Collectors who, in the later stages of the their collecting career, want to be involved with supporting the evolution of art, come from backgrounds of all kinds. It will be fascinating to watch what kind of influence this sports promoter will bring to the democratisation of art through branding and media involvement.

I worked a long time with UBS, and I have access to all their research, and their research, number one for their clients was golf. Art came in third, I think, classic cars or wine were second. The reality is, it’s out there. I believe the art market goes beyond your top bracket. My people all started saying, “The chairman’s crazy, he’s going to do this,” and they’ve all ended up loving it. “Can I get my bonus in a piece of work?”

The problem with the art world is that they’re a bunch of snobs. The reality is that gallerists make people feel as if they’re not wanted, and I think this is part of the breaking down of what will happen in the next 10 years, more people will want to get involved.

It sounds like Ciclitira is a man with a mission to make that happen.

Note 1 Korean Eye Moon Generation catalogue Page 9, Joon Lee Deputy Director Samsung Museum of Art

Artists

Ayoung Kim, Bahk SeonGhi, Boomoon, Cho Hoon, Choi TaeHoon, Choo JongWan, Debbie Han, Han KiChang, Hong KyongTack, Jang SeungHyo, Jeon Junho, Kang Hyung Koo, Kim Inbai, Kim Joon, Koh MyungKeun, Kwon KiSoo, Lee Dongwook, Lee HyungKoo, Lee LeeNam, Lee Rim, Lee Ufan. Lee Yong Baek, Lee YongDeok. Park JungHyuk, Park SeungMo, Park SungTae, SeungMin Lee, Sim SeungWook, Whang Inkie, Yi HwanKwon, Yoon Jong Seok

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Posted in Asia expands, Corporate collectors, David Ciclitira, Democratisation of art, Galleries, Gallerists/dealers, Gallery shows, Korean, London, Overviews, Saatchi, Yi Hwan-Kwon | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Asians, women show momentum and banks tumble in Art Review’s Power 100 2008

Posted by artradar on October 23, 2008


INFLUENCERS ART

Art Review monthly magazine has published its Power 100 list for 2008.  Produced annually since 2001 it is a ranking of the most influential participants in the art world and includes artists, gallerists, auctioneers and collectors.

Trends this year include

  • Higher rankings and numbers for women in a market tradtionally dominated by men – Kathy Halbreich is first woman to appear on her own in the top 10. Ranked third, behind Hirst and gallerist Larry Gagosian, she is the newly appointed Associate Director of MoMA, New York.
  • Tumbling influence of banks  – as the global credit contagion spreads, financial institutions take a tumble  with both UBS and Deutsche Bank, longtime key art sponsors, ranked 62 and 63 respectively in 2007, falling off the Power 100 in 2008. 
  • Asian participants showing momentum or appearing for the first time.

Takashi Murakami (28), a superbrand not dissimilar to Damien Hirst’s model comes in at 61 places above his 2007 ranking for a year that saw a major exhibition of his work, including a Louis Vuitton store selling Murakami’s own branded products, travel across the US and draw record numbers of museum goers.

Ongoing artistic and financial strength in emerging markets has seen new listings for collectors Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova (54) and a strong rise by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang (69, from 99 in 2006), with first-time appearances by the Beijing-based Long March Project (93) and Delhi-based gallerist Peter Nagy (95).

 

Asian artists

  • Takashi Murakami no 28 (Japanese) wiki site
  • Ai Weiwei no 47 (Chinese)
  • Cai Guo Qiang 69 (Chinese) wiki
  • Subodh Gupta 92 (Indian)  pics
  • The Long March Project 93 (Chinese) pics  site

 

Collectors from Asia

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan no 30
  • Roman Abromovich and Daria Zhukova no 54
Asia-based gallerists

Entrants are judged on the following four criteria, each of which carries a 25 percent weighting.

1. Influence on art development: entrants must exert influence over the type, style and shape of contemporary art being produced in the previous 12 months.

2. International influence: as the list is international, entrants must exert influence on a global scale rather than as big fish in small-to-medium ponds.

3. Financial clout: entrants are judged on the extent to which they have shaped, moulded or dominated the art market, whether as artists, dealers or collectors.

4. Activity within the last 12 months: entrants are judged on having actually done something during the period September 2007 to August 2008. It’s not enough to sit on your powerful behind.

Posted in Ai Weiwei, Cai Guoqiang, Chinese, Collectors, Corporate collectors, Indian, Individual, Japanese, Subodh Gupta, Surveys, Takashi Murakami, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pop goes bubble for Chinese Indian artists – Businessweek

Posted by artradar on October 8, 2008


SOTHEBYS HONG KONG AUTUMN AUCTIONS
While much of Hong Kong hunkered down just hours before the arrival of a typhoon on Oct. 4, the start of Sotheby’s three-day auction of modern and contemporary Asian art was buffeted by the financial storm on Wall Street. Of the 47 works that went under the hammer, more than 40% were unsold. What’s more, earnings for Sotheby’s (BID), including the auctioneer’s commission known as the “buyer’s premium,” were a paltry $15 million, accounting for just 41% of the auction house’s estimated takings for the night. Among the biggest upsets was the unsold work by India’s hot-selling artist Subodh Gupta, Untitled, which had an estimated price of $1.55 million to $2.05 million. Another big surprise: Chinese cynical realist painter Liu Wei’s triptych, The Revolutionary Family Series, failed to find a bidder willing to meet the $1.55 million suggested minimum.

As the weather deteriorated on Sunday morning, so did events in the auction hall. Only 39 out of 110 paintings from the 20th Century Chinese Art Sale found buyers, while 71 had to be packed up and shipped back to their sellers. By the afternoon session, the usual buzz at Hong Kong’s contemporary Chinese art auctions was sorely absent. At one point during the sale, the auctioneer mistook a woman covering her mouth to stifle a yawn for her wishing to bid, prompting a valiant attempt to inject some levity into the proceedings as he asked if “anyone else is yawning in the room.”

Yawns gave way to disbelief a little later when two works by white-hot Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang went unsold. That’s a huge reversal for the Beijing-based artist, whose paintings have routinely fetched millions of dollars, well in excess of auction estimates. (His painting Bloodline: Big Family No. 1 was one of the few top lots that sold on Saturday, though the $2.97 million price was below the expected maximum.) Yue Minjun and Zeng Fanzhi, two others among the hottest-selling Chinese contemporary artists, did manage to sell, although well within the estimates.

Wall Street Fallout
You connect the dots: Wall Street goes into meltdown, and Sotheby’s auction bombs in Hong Kong. Kevin Ching, Sotheby’s CEO for Asia, tries to be optimistic about whether the two are connected. “I hope there is no immediate direct correlation between the financial market and the art market,” he says, pointing to the widely successful auction of enfant terrible Damien Hirst’s works in London within days of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The problem with some of the Hong Kong auction, he adds, stems from overly ambitious owners trying for unreasonably high prices. “When we have [sellers] who want aggressive estimates over and above what [the] market can accept, they would have to occasionally accept the consequences, and I think that’s what happened here [Saturday] night,” Ching explains.

Still, others in Asia’s art business are certain the fallout from Wall Street is already hurting Chinese and Indian markets. In both countries, newly wealthy investment bankers and hedge fund managers helped inflate bubbles in works by local artists. For instance, in the last four years a booming Indian economy and buoyant stock market encouraged many private banks to offer fee-based services to assist clients in building portfolios of artworks sourced from galleries, auctions, and even direct sales. Fund managers say that investment bankers with their hefty bonuses helped inflate art prices by 30% to 60% above their real value, according to a gallery owner in Mumbai.

Bright Spots
Now with Wall Street in turmoil, most of the bankers who were regulars at art shows and auctions have moved out, says avid art collector Harsh Goenka, chairman of India’s diversified RPG Enterprises, which has interests in tires, power, and retail. He claims that in the last few years, around 60% to 70% of art sold in auctions and shows in India went to the new breed of investor rather than art connoisseurs. “They looked at art as a brand and made money by trading in it,” says Goenka. In the past few months, he says, painters and art dealers have been calling him up to offer their unsold works at a 30% to 40% discount.

The picture isn’t all grim, though. The mood was positively ebullient at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on Oct. 6 as buyers crammed the room for the auction of Southeast Asian contemporary paintings. Sotheby’s employees manned the phones to handle enthusiastic overseas bidding. For instance, Indonesian painter I Nyoman Masriadi had already set a personal record on the first day of the Sotheby’s auction when his huge canvas featuring Batman and Superman sitting on adjacent toilets sold for $620,000. He then surpassed that with a painting of boxers that seems part Botero, part Léger; it fetched a high $833,000. A bit later, during furious bidding for yet another Masriadi, the auctioneer exclaimed “This is really, really fun.” The room broke into applause when the work finally sold for a very respectable $307,000.

The reason for this sea change in sentiment? The prices were far more affordable than the works from China and India on sale during the weekend, and collectors seem to have finally cottoned onto the notion that Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Filipino artists represent opportunities for collectors to own great art. One work by up-and-coming Filipino painter Geraldine Javier sold for $32,000, more than three times the high estimate. An intimate portrait of a woman and child by Vietnamese painter Mai Trung Thu also sold for triple the estimate, fetching $23,000.

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