The Financial Times sketches out the strategies, costs and customer composition of a Singapore gallery opened by Europeans. This case study involves Frederic de Senarclens, the owner of Art Plural, a gallery originally meant to be run out of their new home in Singapore’s Emerald Hill:
Starting out posed a bigger challenge than expected. The couple rented a 6,000 sq ft house in Singapore’s fashionable Emerald Hill district to sell art from their home, a method that works well in Europe. But it didn’t work in Singapore. “People don’t want to come to your home. Asians want to come to a gallery to see that you are established. That’s when they begin to trust you.”
Opening the gallery meant quadrupling sales to make ends meet. “It was a huge risk,” de Senarclens admits. Still, he says it is going well now, with sales better than expected. His solo exhibitions include prominent artists such as Ian Davenport, Pablo Reinoso and Chun Kwang Young. He also participates in regional art fairs, including Art Taipei in November.
Most of de Senarclens’ clients live in New York, Europe, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India and Australia. Some visit the gallery when travelling through Singapore. Others find it through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Artnet. “The internet response has been a big surprise – up to 25 per cent of our clients buy pieces they see online and we ship to them.”
Some 35 per cent of clients are local – Chinese or Indian Singaporeans.
Swiss art dealer on taking a gamble and moving to Singapore (Financial Times)