The Singaporean art market is going through tough times. But despite difficulties, experts express optimism and see a market grounded on healthy foundations that should enable it to ride through this period of disturbance by strengthening its connectivity.
There are some signs that don’t lie. Just look at the closure of several museums in the country including the Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris and the departure of a few galleries, matched with lower museum visits and morose sales figures — that namely triggered the cancellation of the Singapore Art Fair and the Milan Image Art & Design Fair Singapore despite the great success of their inaugural editions. While the market’s global economic value has increased in the last decade, going up from $340.3 million to $528.7 million in 2013, the last two years have seen a correction of the market.
The Singaporean art market is relatively young at around fifty years old. Bala Starr, director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, makes the following observation: “The art scene here needs to be connected to the world. Commerce occurs in the context of the wider scene. The biggest advantage for Singapore is to form a positive and consistent reputation as a backer of the arts in Asia. That Singapore is a young market is a benefit to us because it gives us the opportunity to convert people into art lovers.”