Asia-Pacific’s international contemporary art fair is back for a second time and it features over 130 galleries from 18 countries, including renowned ones such as New York’s Lehmann Maupin and Berlin’s Galerie Eigen+Art. We profile 5 things you need to know about Art Stage Singapore, plus a sneak peek into what’s in-store.

Art Stage Singapore 2012, an Asia-Pacific international contemporary Asian art fair, opens its second edition at Marina Bay Sands Convention and Exhibition Centre from 12 to 15 January. The 3-day exhibit showcases over 130 galleries from 18 countries, plus more than 50 special projects and presentations. Here are 5 things you need to know about Asia’s rising heavyweight arts fair:

1) New, high-profile exhibitors

With 130 participating galleries from 18 countries and over 50 special projects and presentations, Art Stage Singapore 2012 shows the most important, interesting and stunning of the Asia Pacific’s artistic creativity. It is Asia’s necessary response to the market, a top event with a strong Asian identity. The fair supports and defends the interests of Asian artists and galleries by elevating them to a level of international importance, by positioning them as strong and competitive players of the global market.

Only in its second year, the fair has managed to attract new, high profile exhibitors including: prestigious international galleries such as Galerie Eigen+Art (Leipzig/Berlin), Ben Brown Fine Arts (London), Lehmann Maupin (New York), Victoria Miro (London), White Cube (London), etc; leading Asian galleries such as Gana Art Gallery (Seoul/Busan), Gallery Hyundai (Seoul), Mizuma Art Gallery (Tokyo), Ota Fine Art (Tokyo), Tang Contemporary Art (Bangkok/Hong Kong/Beijing), etc; and interesting young Asian galleries such as Takashi Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki Gallery (Tokyo, Taipei).

2) Asian emerging artists profiled

Jumping from 30 entries last year to 40 this year, the fair’s Project Stage platform is the go-to place for the discovery of rising Asian stars in the world. For the 2012 edition, the works here will be even stronger and more impressive than in the year before – several of which feature site-specific projects, stunning installations and innovative concepts. Artist include Cyrus Tan represented by Anna Pappas Gallery and Zhao Renhui represented by 2902 Gallery.

3) Performances & interactive projects

Art Stage Singapore is definitely not a typical art fair – people will find not just smaller and commercially-popular art pieces on exhibition within the participating galleries’ booths, but they can also expect to see – and participate in – performances and interactive projects such as the Gao Brothers’ “World Hug Day” (presented by Vue Privee, Singapore); many spectacular large-scale installations including like the specially created works by world- renowned Antony Gormley (presented by London’s White Cube); and, inspired by the fair’s eye-catching publicity campaign, established Thai artist Navin Rawanchaikul created especially for Art Stage Singapore a new 12m long painting, titled, “We are Asia!” (presented by Yavuz Fine Art, Singapore).

4) Large-scale installations

For its sophomore edition, Art Stage Singapore 2012 presents even more significant and stunning large installation works than before. From intricately detailed sculptures to huge paintings, there is a wide spectrum of awe-inspiring pieces to experience at this year’s fair. There is the 4m wide “Artificial Moon” by Wang Yuyang (presented by Gallery Yang, Beijing) made from 4,500 energy-saving lightbulbs, the 2.3M x 7m x 3.5 installation “Daily Incantations”  by the late Chen Zhen (presented by De Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong), the huge multimedia installation “Ghost Transmemoir” by Bose Krishnamachari (pressented by Exhibit 320, New Delhi), “The Bicyclist” by Zhu Jinshi (presented by Pearl Lam Galleries, Shanghai), and more.

5) Singapore artistes platformed at arts fair

Realised with the support of National Arts Council for the second consecutive year, Art Stage Singapore 2012 showcases Singapore contemporary art through a dedicated exhibition platform. Art historian, writer and curator, Charles Merewether has handpicked three rising stars for the second edition of this special project. Titled Island Allegories, the show features the works of three Singapore-based artists – Ng Joon Kiat, Zhao Renhui and Betty Susiarjo – whose art can be read as allegorical and arguably a critical counterpoint to other local and dominant artistic tendencies. The exhibition draws on three very distinct forms of artistic practice, not often associated with one another. The art of each artist creates a form of symbolic surplus and space for reflection that extend beyond that experienced through an immediate sense experience of matter, form or subject.

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Featured image: The Gao Brothers, World Hug Day