What’s the story behind the Indonesian Pavilion (IP) that was part of Art Stage Singapore (ASS) 2013? Unlike previous years, this year ASS set up a particular booth titled IP, featuring 36 Indonesian contemporary artists. The booth drew criticism from the Association of Indonesian Art Gallery (AGSI) because it is considered to be damaging for the art trading system in Indonesia.
Different to two years ago, ASS 2013 presented a new programme that is not only controversial to art in the ‘lion country’, but also to Indonesia. The presence of Indonesian artists to appear in IP, selected by the Director of ASS, Lorenzo Rudolf, is considered a violation of the art fair system, which is usually reserved for the gallery for trade their collection.
- AGSI considered the presence of the IP to deviate from the art fair norms that ASS should have followed. AGSI launched a boycott, although some galleries participated as they have already paid the rent. Outside of IP, paintings by I Nyoman Masriadi brought by Gajah Gallery that is owned by Jasdeep Sandhu, reached the second highest painting sale at ASS.
- Management was more organized than in previous years. Artists who brought installation and performance works at IP succeeded in using IP as a space to explore artistic expression.
- As an art fair that claims to promote contemporary works, there are still Modern works from a number of well-known names. These works showed that the galleries still prioritize sales profit from their collection, rather than being consistent to the theme of the exhibition.
By building the IP, this year’s ASS, held at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, from 24-27 January 2013 proved to be a controversy. Why Indonesia? Why not the works of Singaporean artists, as the event is supported by the Singapore government and was part of the country’s tourism. And if quality is the reason, why not choose works from Chinese artists who are more global? What is the story behind building the IP? Were the Indonesian artists involved at IP successful in utilizing the space for showing latest works that are exciting in terms of quality?