'"TAR is a tremendous flight of fantasy for those who need to plan a way to escape from this planet or to save it."


2016 January Singapore


Lorenzo Rudolf, founder of Art Stage Singapore








Lorenzo Rudolf, born 20 may 1959, in Bern, Switzerland. Founder of Art Stage Singapore.

Lorenzo Rudolf began his career in the art world when he took on the role of Director of Art Basel in January 1991. He created an entirely new art fair concept and transformed Art Basel from a classical trade show to the flagship of the art world.


20 years after  he founded Art Stage Singapore, coming today to its sixth edition. In the day of the opening at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre we had a very interesting chat with Lorenzo.

TAR  Lorenzo, what is your view on the Contemporary Art market in Asia?


LR It’s very clear to me that Asia is a very segmented market if compared to the west, and very segmented culture as well. It’s because of history.  Let’s think about the relationship with the west and the religion in many asian countries: Indonesia: Dutch colony of Islamic tradition; Thailand never been colonised and Buddhist; Philippines - Spanish colony of Christian Religion. During the 20th Century Japan, Taiwan and Korea during the Cold War were very close to the western allies, while all other asian countries were very much lined up on the opposite side. It’s really a divided area of the world in itself, with so many treasures and different traditions, and its market is mirroring that.



TAR  Art Stage has come to its sixth edition, which is its balance after this time? 


LR We are in the 21st century and that means that if you want to have your place in the field, you need to invent a brand. When i started this adventure, i strongly felt the need of an Asian identity, a given promise of international development. In the global scenario it was quite clear to me that the asian artists could find the biggest art galleries only in western countries. So i started to think about a project of growth for the area, for its characters, its players on the global scenario. And of course, after being director of Art Basel for so many years my mind was looking after something different, a model of innovation, of forward thinking, of research.


Today Art Basel is exactly what a Mall is for Luxury industry, simply put: you can find a Gucci in every qualified mall today, like whatsoever Best Artist in Art Basel, because it has become a benchmark, a referral. See how many art fairs are spreading in the world:  their design starts from Art Basel, they copy its statute, its approach and methods. I felt that if my little project was willing to succeed i needed to be much more competitive than that. So i gave it strong guidelines: 75% asian artists, and new special initiatives each year. Well, it happens now that Art Basel is copying us: what we do this year, they will do next year.




TAR  Do you have seen things around changing from the First edition to this year’s Sixth edition?


LR  The Collectors and people of the Art System are travelling a lot more, there is plenty of choices and they are becoming choosy. That’s why i appreciate to have solid numbers in visitors coming at Art Stage Singapore - around 50.000 in 2015 - but the very topic of interest for me is the quality of the visitors, and our records are showing that our audience is evolving very fast: east and west are more closer than ever.




TAR Can you advice any clear trends in Contemporary Art lately? In the market as across cultures, of course.


LR   Art of today is made by the Market. A piece of Art is a status symbol and the possession of one valuable piece it’s considered to be an investment. That is the main characteristic of the Art system today.  I could say there are no art critics anymore, in cultural terms: journalists ask me which is the most expensive canvas on show, they don’t care much about the curatorial aspects, nothing much about the content in itself. It’s important if it is affordable more than if it is meaningful. I don’t want to be figured out as naive, but i think we must get back to content.


The art world is the mirror of contemporary society where the gap between the poor and the rich grows wider. We have to consider that in history the art market has been sustained by the bourgeoisie, the middle class. If the middle class dies, Art must find different feeds to rely on. We need contents, and it’s not the market capable to give them to us, it is the artist.


Also i spotted that in all these years Art has become a social play: buying a piece, attending fairs, going to vernissage ad events, is like buying a membership to an exclusive club. People make connections, start relationship. In shorts, they make business.



Shooshie Sulaiman シュシ・スライマン Dia (He/She), 2013

acrylic, graphite and paper collage 30 x 20 cm Tomio Koyama Gallery

Nguyen Thai Tuan  - No.56. 2008. oil on canvas. 150x120cm - Primo Marella Gallery

Ronald Ventura - Shadow blades,2015, Metal_Fiberglass_resin, 312.5x66x218.5cm - Image courtesy of Primo Marella Gallery

TAR is the sticky stuff we pave our roads and build our roofs with.

It affords us travel and shelters us from the storm. It is also an anagram of the word art.

The editorial staff have taken every care to obtain from copyright holders the authorization to publish the pictures in this issue. In any cases where this has not been possible, the editorial staff would like to make it known that they are available to eligible parties to settle any amounts that are owed.


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TAR magazine digital edition  wishes to thanks


effimera F O N D A Z I O N E maison d'art numérique