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The Best of Art Stage Singapore 2018

By Joie Goh

 
Thomas Holdings, Inc.
"Untitled (Composition 1967)", 1967, watercolour and gouache on paper.

Alexander Calder

Thomas Holdings, Inc
"Star", 1975, hand-woven jute tapestry.

Not only Cadler is famed for being the originator of the mobile kinetic sculptures, the creator of monumental stationary ones such as the “Ellie”, he was also the man behind the vaguely elephant-shaped copper trophy awarded to winners of the National Magazine Awards since 1966. At this year’s show, however, an expansive collection of the mid-century surrealist artist’s gouache and ink paintings was presented by the London-based Omer Tiroche Gallery, from the gallerist’s father’s private collection, which is also the biggest collection of the American sculptor’s works on paper. The paintings were shown alongside several hand-woven jute tapestries and “The Red Crescent”, a 1969 sheet metal mobile, one of the show’s masterpieces available for purchase.

Thomas Holdings, Inc
"The Red Crescent," 1969, sheet metal, rod and paint.

Donna Ong

Art Stage Singapore
"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan", 2010, table, lamp shade, animal figurines and ceramic and cloisonné vessels.

Singapore’s foremost installation artist (and perhaps the recipient of the most arts scholarships and prizes locally) Ong returned again this year with her 2010 piece “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan” being one of the key artworks of the fair. Initially shown at the 2011 edition of Art Stage Singapore and now available for purchase, “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan” was inspired by Marco Polo’s account of Kublai Khan’s summer residence. Visually represented as a plain round wooden table transformed into a lush menagerie of tiny ceramic animals perched on antique Peranakan and Chinese porcelain and cloisonné teacups, it references “not just the nostalgia inspired by fading cultures, but also the impossibility of having anything last forever, whether it be empires, great cultures, ides, trends, or fads...what remains are the relics of the age”, according to Ong.

Apiwat Chitapanya

Apiwat Chitapanya
"Feather Side Table", 2016, steel and wood.

Thailand-based furniture artist Chitapanya’s objet d’art tables and chairs might never have materialised if not for a chance visit to BIG+BIH, a Thai design event. Formerly a fine arts major in printing, the experience apparently inspired Chitapanya to move into design, where he made welded and casted steel and brass his signature. Presented as part of local art consultancy and digital gallery The Artling’s Collectible Design Showcase, its inaugural exhibition of contemporary Southeast Asian design, one of Chitapanya’s most striking pieces is the “Feather Side Table”, exquisitely hand-crafted out of tiny stainless steel pieces welded together to create a delicate collection of plumage that appears almost weightless.

Anselm Kiefer

Thomas Holdings, Inc
"Dein und mein alter und das alter der welt (Your age and my age and the age of the world)", 1992, oil, varnish, emulsion, wire, metallic paint, straw, tar on canvas with sunflowers, aluminium and resin.

The multi-award-winning German painter and sculptor, who received the Wolf Prize in Arts in 1990, Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association in 1999, and most recently the J. Paul Getty Medal Award in 2017 amongst others, often works with natural materials such as straw and dried plant parts in his large-scale paintings — however, his works are often so thick with impasto and encrusted with objects, they are practically sculptures on canvases. For example, his 1992 piece “Dein und mein alter und das alter der welt”, which is one of the highlights of this year’s show, is a massive artwork almost three metres tall and four metres wide, set with long withered sunflowers on stems against a background of straw and tar.