Larasati, one of Singapore’s auction houses, is run by the charismatic and upbeat Daniel Komala. In the days leading up to his sale yesterday, he talked up the potential for Southeast Asian art to lead a recovery in the Asian contemporary auction market. Komala is pitching the idea of a rotation from overvalued Chinese Contemporary artists to relatively undervalued Indonesian and Filipino artists. Here’s how he put it to Reuters:
“Southeast Asian and most Asian contemporary artists had been living in the shadow of Chinese artists. The financial tsunami was a blessing in disguise for them. Only when the financial tsunami came did people say ‘Let’s look elsewhere’.” […] “Overall, with the exception of a few artists, Southeast Asian modern and contemporary artists have been underrated, and hence their works have been undervalued.”
But Larasati’s sale was a mixed bag. The auction house has not posted the results yet but Singapore’s Straits Times says the auction total was 16% higher than in March but the $1.9 million was shy of the $2m estimate.
“I’m confident because a survey showed that close to 30 percent of global wealth is held in Asia-Pacific. The Asia-Pacific is home to 20 percent of the world’s millionaires,” he said. “Sooner rather than later this will have a positive impact for the overall market … At the moment, the market has picked Southeast Asia for a jumpstart because Southeast Asia was underestimated.