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Art Stage Singapore 2019 cancelled just days before opening

For the first time since its debut in 2011, Art Stage Singapore has been cancelled. The shocking announcement was made by the art fair’s president Lorenzo Rudolf today, just a week before what would be the opening of its ninth edition at Marina Bay Sands.

In an email, Rudolf said that he was ‘forced to immediately stop the preparations for Art Stage’ and had to ‘cancel the fair.’ The contemporary Asian art fair, which is traditionally held in January, was also set to kickstart and headline Singapore Art Week. It also has the backing of several government agencies such as the National Arts Council, the Economic Development Board and the Singapore Tourism Board.

With the sudden cancellation, several artists and galleries are left stranded without a space for their works. Social media has now come into the picture to provide those affected with space to showcase works and installations.


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Throwback: Our Chief Operating Officer, Marcus Teo, together with Lorenzo Rudolf, founder of #artstage, launched the theme for #artstagesg2019 – #iamart – at the launch party. I AM ART. Art reflects life. Life is mine, yours, ours. #artstage #artstagesingapore #artstagesg2019 #artss2019 #contemporaryart

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As of now, no reason has been released on cancelling Art Stage Singapore.

The news came a few months after Rudolf, who is also the founder of Art Stage, announced that he will be taking a back seat on fair operations. The reins of CEO and fair director was handed over to Marcus Teo who has been the fair’s chief operating officer since 2012.

In previous press conferences, Rudolf has been outspoken about the steady decline in footfall and participating galleries at Art Stage over the years.

At its peak, the fair drew over 170 galleries. Last year, it had 84 participating galleries. Rudolf had also discussed the future of Art Stage with smaller showings and more collector engagement, dismissing speculations that 2018 would be the fair’s swan song.

The Sound of Silence, an interactive installation by Helene Le Chatelier & Pang, was set to show at the Singapore Stage at the art fair.

Had the fair gone through with this year’s edition, it would run with its latest theme ‘I am Art,’ reflecting its new approach in creating meaningful engagement. It would also have a platform spotlight commissioned and curator-led works by Singaporean artists as well as an exclusive showing of works from private collections by top collectors in the region.

The initial success of Art Stage led to the start of the Singapore Art Week in 2013 to create more awareness of and centre Singapore’s position as a regional arts hub. The fair’s cancellation is set to shake up the upcoming Singapore Art Week proceedings as well as leaving a hole in the local art scene.

(All images: Art Stage Singapore)

Jasmine Tay
Senior Writer
Jasmine Tay is the dining, culture and jewellery writer. She makes fine silver jewellery and causes mini-explosions in the kitchen when she can't afford fancy dinners. Sometimes she tells people what she thinks about art, and binges on the music of Danzig when they don’t agree.