Sotheby’s Hong Kong during the Autumn 2016 Sale of Southeast Asian Art
As Art Stage Singapore, South East Asia’s flagship art fair, prepares itself for its seventh installment on the 12-15 January 2017 at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center, the Founder & President, Lorenzo Rudolf has made some notable observations.
Responsible for creating the model of what the majority of art fairs are today Lorenzo’s decade of innovative leadership at Art Basel transformed it from a minor art fair to the world leader. Along the way he introduced special packaged tours for VIP’s, corporate sponsorship, and supported emerging artists, plus all the glitz, glamour, money and quality art. In 2010 he founded Art Stage Singapore, a key international event with a specific focus on promoting and fostering Asian art.
In the November Art Stage Singapore 2017 media release that outlines the program highlights of the annual event, Lorenzo presents an analysis of the current global political and economic situation with regards to the future of the performance of the art market.
“As the performance of art markets is inextricably linked to the health of the economy, maintaining the same market positions is unrealistic in the current economic climate,” states Lorenzo, then points out, “Never has it been more urgent for us to re-examine the role of contemporary art in our societies than it is today. Against the backdrop of the weak global economy and changed political landscapes, art fairs such as Art Stage Singapore must re-think our role.”
Art Stage Jakarta 2016
To galvanize this ‘re-think’, Lorenzo is calling upon ‘visionaries, leaders, thinkers, and socially engaged actors’ to act in a role of ‘seismographs and disruptors’. This would seem to indicate that the time has come for a major change in the model and mindset of the art market, and that a much more innovative system is required. How this could happen may be directly tied into the 2017 Southeast Asian Forum, which is being hosted by Art Stage Singapore, with its focus being the theme of art investment, entitled Net Present Value: Art, Capital, Futures.
‘Net Present Value’ is a method used to forecast the profitability of future returns on investments made today. Nobody wants to lose money on an investment, so the Forum seeks to explore the value of art, imagination and progress in different ways. In creating the Forum as a platform for exchange and as a think tank, Lorenzo is reaching out to society’s critical and visionary thinkers, believing they can contribute meaningfully to provide solutions to maintain the financial value of art, by expanding on its other values.
In the last twenty years many potent creative minds in the art world have increased art’s economic model to where it is today, bigger, more successful, with more major collectors than at any other time in its history. But take away the tax breaks, and this grand edifice propped up on solid pillars, seems to be built upon seismic ground that appears ready to shake.
Bazaar Art Jakarta 2016
Art always survives because it has a real value that is composed of many parts, though often these parts are in conflict with one another. What the ‘Visionaries’ that Lorenzo is seeking need to have is the ability to rearrange these components into a working system that gives benefits for all. They do this by seeing a multiple over-lapping system of systems, presented in a dynamic game plan of stages.
There has always been a danger that when too many like-minded people come together, the thinking tends to remain inside ‘the like-minded box’. Finding the different thinkers outside our networks can be tricky, unless the focus is on how to link ideas to ideas. To do this we need to spread our message wider. For this, there exists a connection between Visionaries, Organizers and the Media. The first dream up a radically different state; the second knows how to make the dream a new reality, while the third can link them together to create a viral change of attitudes and responses.
Visionaries are unique because they don’t see the world like everyone else and possess the ability to find a way forward. Organizers recognize potential, they can take good ideas and arrange them in the right order, with an eye for a market. The Media exists to find out what is happening, and to tell others about it. It connects with many types of people, each with their own stories or ideas to tell, and spreads the word in an instant.
To make a new paradigm shift in the art market would mean creating more varied models and methods. Available from the Internet are peer-to-peer linking, block chains and Bio-mimicry systems for finance. The emergence between traditional organized art events, together with large-scale all tickets sold installation events with virtual and interactive platforms offers exciting novel experiential possibilities. If global art can introduce successful innovative changes it could pave the way for other much-needed exponential growth miracles.
Southeast Asia Forum Discussion: Art & Money – A Dangerous Liaison? 13 January 2017, featuring panelists (from left) Alain Servais (Investment banker, entrepreneur & collector, Brussels), Lorenzo Rudolf (Founder & President Art Stage Singapore & Jakarta) and Dr. Franz Schultheis (Professor of Sociology, University of St. Gallen, Switerland and co author of the When Art Meets Money a study into the Art Basel art fairs).
Art Stage Singapore seems to have stated its intention to begin a process of reinvention. By providing a forum for ‘visionaries, leaders, thinkers, and socially engaged actors’, combined with its own business acumen, it has the drive to set the wheels in motion.
New solutions are on the horizon, with a potential emphasis on presentation in a more immersive art experience, setting the stage as a stimulator for sales. By changing the mechanisms of the market, it is possible to not only maintain current returns, but to even increase growth with a broader clientele. Periphery programs may also need to alter, taking note from the success of the ‘presentation generation’ and themed workshops aimed to achieve specific objectives. The greater the event, the more it inspires the imagination of the collectors, art industry, critics, and the general public. We are aiming for an all-encompassing, immersive art park experience that invigorates exchanges of ideas, concepts, innovations and finance.
Can Art Stage Singapore lead the way? The stakes have never seemed higher and the timing is just right. The Forum will be an important milestone in the analysis of the current malaise of a troubled world, especially as the most significant dynamic shifts are generally derived from an adjustment of attitude. In raising the flag and making a clarion call, Lorenzo has sent the word out. What remains now is to link the like-minded to the ‘unlikely-minded’, so that history can be made.
Words: Richard Horstman, Soemantri Widagdo & anonymous