Lorenzo Rudolf, former director of ArtBasel, is gearing up for another edition of his Art Stage Singapore next week. Though many think ArtBasel Hong Kong has gained momentum in Asia, Rudolf is quick to point to the sheer size of the market in Asia:
Smiling at the mention of Art Basel – Rudolf, a former director, is credited with transforming that modest event into a glitzy Miami Beach-style success – he says: “Competition is the best thing for the business. There are only two places where you can make an international art fair in Asia: Hong Kong and Singapore. It’s the best thing that can happen for Asia – the biggest continent in the world and two fairs.
“Count all the fairs in Europe – it’s 10 times more. Asia is a continent that’s growing, increasing, which means they need platforms like that, a successful top fair in Hong Kong and Singapore, as long as the two fairs are not at the same time and do not have the same concept,” the 54-year-old Swiss says, adding he is happy that his old colleagues from Art Basel have ventured to Asia.
“It’s not a question of an increase, but a question of what you want,” says the fair director. “It is typical of every contemporary art fair to try to balance both sides: not just a fair for billionaires, but also quality works, young art that [is] not expensive. The importance is to have the entire balance.”
This year’s event, from January 16 to 19, also aims to strike a balance between the business of selling art, and that of educating collectors.