A promising addition to the international art calendar
The inaugural Taipei Dangdai closed on 20 January 2019 after attracting more than 28,000 visitors. Representatives of regional and international institutions were also present such as Gregor Muir, International Acquisition Director at Tate Modern; Yoshiko Mori, Chief Director of the Mori Art Museum, Wendy Xu from Powerhouse Museum Shanghai, among others. Prominent private collectors who attended the fair include philanthropist Dr. Uli Sigg, Budi Tek (founder of the Yuz Foundation), Deddy Kusuma (Indonesia) and Kim Camacho (Philippines).
Tang Contemporary, based in Beijing and Bangkok, presented works by Chinese artists Cai Lei, Zhao Zhao, Ji Zhou, Qin Qi and Filipino painter Rodel Tapaya. The gallery sold two pieces to Taiwanese collectors, one of whom was a new client to the gallery, as well as a work to a Chinese collector. “We are quite happy with the sales results,” says director Beili Wang. Citing the fair's quality of service, marketing efforts and overall professionalism, Wang adds, "Taipei Dangdai is a very good choice to build trust and reputation with our Taiwanese collectors."
Mizuma Art Gallery, based in Tokyo and Singapore, featured a solo booth by Japanese artist Kaneko Tomiyuki who premiered a major new work for the fair. Tomiyuki has received international recognition for his intricate paintings which integrate the aesthetic language of Hindu, Theravada Buddhist and animistic traditions. “We sold about half of the exhibition, including a large painting,” says Mr. Munehisa Masao. “The collectors are new and long-time supporters from Taipei, Singapore, and Japan.” He adds that the gallery may participate in future editions should their schedule and circumstances permit.
Indeed the positive reception to the fair have some dealers looking to return for its next edition. With spaces in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, Pearl Lam Galleries presented works by nine artists which were well received by collectors. “We hope that with the excellent response to Taipei Dangdai, the fair will become an established fixture in the international art calendar," says gallery founder Pearl Lam. "We look forward to participating again as it offers an ideal platform for us to achieve our mission of breaking down boundaries between different disciplines and encouraging cross-cultural exchange."
Gajah Gallery, based in Singapore and Yogyakarta, showed a selection of Southeast Asian artists such as Ashley Bickerton and Kayleigh Goh. It had a positive outing at the fair and expresses its intention to return for the next edition.
The mega international galleries almost all reported brisk sales with Hauser & Wirth having sold a handful of works by Günther Förg, the German abstractionist it presented a solo booth for. Prices ranged between €25,000 and €450,000. David Zwirner sold a secondary-market Yayoi Kusama ‘Infinity Nets’ painting for over USD 1 million, possibly the single most expensive work to have transacted at the fair. Otherwise, amongst the healthy reported number of closed deals, prices were overwhelmingly in the five and six-digits range, indicating perhaps that the fair still has some way to catch up with the range of works, and indeed top transactions, seen commonly at Frieze and Art Basel.
Outside of Taipei Dangdai, galleries rounded off a busy week in town with quality shows. Asia Art Center and AKI Gallery opened shows of post-war Mono-ha artists Nobuo Sekine and Susumu Koshimizu respectively whilst CANS Space hosted the curatorial team at Art Agenda, S.E.A., to present an ascetic show of cosmos-inspired 20th century paintings featuring Taiwanese modern artist Chen Ting-Shih and Indonesian artists Fadjar Sidik and Ahmad Osni Peii.
The support around Taipei Dangdai's debut positions the fair to be a promising addition to the international art calendar. Time will tell how it sits alongside more established fairs in Asia such as Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central set to take place during Hong Kong Art Week in March.