In Southeast Asia, the public sphere seems to be recapitulating the experience of Europe more than a century ago as private art collections are increasingly seen as public goods. The region has the added wrinkle of a lack of political expression which leaves art as one of the few avenues available to comment on contemporary culture.
Here, Enin Supriyanto, who curated Collector’s Stage at Art Stage Singapore, expresses the concern that art is private domain:
“We don’t even have proper public art and cultural institutions [in Southeast Asia],” he told Southeast Asia Globe. “How can the public enjoy these works if they all end up in private collections?” […]
“Contemporary art is a reflection of social and cultural issues that happen around us,” he said. “That means the accumulation of wealth also equals the accumulation of knowledge and information. We have to find a way that this knowledge and information can be shared.” […]
“If the market situation and the [art] ecosystem are still working like what we have today in the next five, ten years, I don’t think any public institution can compete,” he said. “So these private collectors at the same time will start to face an issue – they have hundreds of thousands of works, and they don’t know what to do with them. They don’t know where to display them. It’s natural that these two different paths would start to communicate. They have to work together – otherwise it’s impossible.”