Mayo Martin blogs about the art world for Singapore’s Today Online. To get a better sense of what it is like to be a gallery at an Asian art fair, Martin volunteered his services to a Singaporean gallery at ArtHK. Though he spent much of his time as a gopher milling in the shadow of Ashley Bickerton and David LaChapelle, he also had a chance to go upstairs to the Asia One section and find out first-hand one gallery’s story:
Chan Hampe Galleries (CHG) had a small booth at Art HK 11’s cosier and relatively more laid-back Asia One section, where lesser-known galleries were showcasing emergent individual artists. They had brought in 28 works by young Singaporean artist Genevieve Chua.
It’s the second art fair for CHG. Following their participation at Art Stage Singapore, Art HK director Magnus Renfrew invited them to apply. For a fee, of course. The gallery had to cough up S$13,000 for the booth and S$4,000 for freight shipping. And that doesn’t include the tables and chairs and lighting costs. Given that Chua’s works ranged from S$6,000 for a triptych to S$550 for a smaller one, they had to do a lot of selling.
But it seemed they were already on track. Six works were sold by the third day, including a triptych from Chua’s After The Flood series of handpainted photographs.
“A big sale. Very, very encouraging,” beamed CHG’s Ben Hampe, who was manning the booth along with Chua herself. Although the shy, soft-spoken artist said she would “rather not be here actually”, her presence had inadvertently played a big part in their first sale on the first day.
Apparently, a lady was looking at Chua’s triptych, when a buyer of her previous works dropped by and immediately gushed – very loudly, “Oh my god, the whole crowd’s going to come!”
“The lady quickly wrote out a cheque,” an amused Chua shared.
Hard Sell (Today Online)