Painter, gallery manager and President of the Singapore Art Society, Terence Teo talks to Intersection.sg about pioneering a style of painting. One that blends the discipline of the Chinese ink tradition with the vibrancy and expression of contemporary painting, in a style that is uniquely Singaporean.
Frédéric and Carole de Senarclens started out running a gallery in Geneva before making their move to Singapore. Since 2008, they ran Art Plural, where they not only showcased the works of established, but also emerging artists. Eight years later, the couple has based themselves back in Switzerland and also launched ArtAndOnly, an online platform for contemporary art.
Here, they showcase art across many disciplines and from established and emerging artists where “ArtAndOnly makes buying and selling art a full-service experience.” The artists are distributed across Europe, Asia and the USA. Visitors to the site can glean information on artists and art trends on Le Journal.
How does your sales platform work?
It is very straightforward. The collector offers us a work for sale, our experts review it and if the work meets our standards (authenticity, quality, condition report) we agree on a price and a period of consignment. The work is then presented across our platform and offered for sale. The buyer makes a price offer, we convey it to the seller and we help them to close a deal. ArtAndOnly works on a commission basis and then takes care of the logistics until the work reaches its final destination.
How different would it be going into the global market in terms of marketing, reach and logistics?
A strong social media strategy is absolutely key in growing an online marketplace. We’ve leveraged Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in parallel with the upcoming launch of an international media campaign. Additionally, we benefit from a global network of contributors and partners in Europe, Asia and the USA to create a global buzz with a variety of expertise. As per the logistics, it is basically the same process as in a traditional gallery. The works are stored in safe and insured facilities, shown in private locations and shipped through our network of logistics partners.
What are the challenges you foresee?
We are confident in the fact that the future of the art market is online. This is a competitive area, but we believe our platform is tailor-made for today’s collectors and a natural expansion for us. It’s not just that the costs of operating a traditional gallery are getting higher – the marketplace is changing and the mentalities of collectors are evolving fast. They desire more variety and transparency and are ready to buy online from a trusted platform. We know what they are looking for and are able to source the right work from anywhere in the world.
What can collectors expect?
ArtAndOnly is a curated platform where each piece is carefully selected through a rigorous artistic line, exactly like a physical gallery. Our expertise and network in contemporary art is a huge benefit to collectors who are looking to be personally guided through the buying or selling process with a trusted and confidential partner. The platform is the premier source in the art market for collectors who are looking to acquire interesting artworks from both renowned and emerging artists.
What have you learned from running galleries that could be applied to the new platform?
Running galleries in Switzerland and then in Asia brought us a great understanding of both the Eastern and Western art scenes. Our experience in Asia proved invaluable as it offered us an expanded vision of the art market that ultimately led to this new global online project. Living in Singapore for more than six years allowed us to discover a wider range of artists not only from South East Asia, but also from China, Korea, India, and Australia. In Singapore, we also developed an understanding of how new media can increase our global reach. Thanks to our strong online presence, we realised we had followers and collectors from all over the world. Today, the physical gallery space has become less relevant, and thanks to the Internet, we assist in an “uberisation” of the market.
Tell us more about the process in terms of logistics and storage for the works.
The consigned works are stored in secured and insured facilities until sold. Potential buyers can organize a private viewing of the work in various cities around the world: New York, Geneva, Singapore, London, Paris to name a few. The acquisition process is then pretty classical. Once paid, professional art movers will ship the work to the buyer.
How do you go about reviewing artworks that collectors wish to sell?
ArtAndOnly believes in quality, not in quantity. We are a high-end platform presenting only the best works through a strong selection process. We combine our expertise and eye for talent with various other expert curators to offer exclusive and interesting works to a wide audience.
I understand you’ll have works across various disciplines.
We are excited to unveil a new sculpture by renowned American artist Jedd Novatt, whose monumental work can be seen in Singapore on Scotts Road. We will also present an iconic work by Korean artist Chun Kwang Young, known for his structural works made of the assemblage of hundreds of polystyrene foam triangles wrapped in Korean mulberry paper called hanji. Other highlights are important sculptures by Armen Agop, Pablo Reinoso and Yves Dana.
On a balmy afternoon in Mar 2016, the team at intersection.sg catches up with upcoming multi-disciplinary artist, Sarah Choo on her art work, installations and videos at her house cum art studio. We came away with this insightful, whimsical video put together by Albert Tan.
We chat with Thai artist Knakorn Kachacheewa during his visit here for the opening of his exhibition and talk about where he draws inspiration from and the often-larger impact of seemingly small, personal experiences
WORDS ROSSARA JAMIL
PHOTOS BANGKOK UNIVERSITY, KNAKORN KACHACHEEWA AND ALBERT TAN
Thai artist Knakorn Kachacheewa’s latest series of paintings is a confluence of colours that range from rich pinks and greens to the pastel hues of sky blue and ash. While there’s a tinge of pop art and the fantastical visual style of Rosseau, Kachacheewa’s paintings bear an air of mystery and surrealism. Through these elements in his paintings, the artist creates windows to his imagined worlds. For the assistant professor who teaches printing and etching, painting became an exploration of a new medium of expression. Symbols play a significant role in his paintings, from the lotus leaf to the zebra, which are important icons in Thai culture. The artist took three years to complete The Jungle of Form, Colour and Tempo series, on show at Ode to Art in Raffles City.
Tell me about your art journey to art.
My father studied art. He wasn’t an artist, but I was influenced by him. We didn’t have much connection to contemporary or international art, but he was influenced by traditional Thai art like those from the artist Chalerm Nakeerak. I didn’t have any artists who influenced me when I was young, but I loved to draw.
Where did you draw your inspiration for this series?
I love to collect photographs from social media platforms like Instagram, as well as old photographs. As for the process, it’s about drawing outlines of each figure and erasing all shades and tones out. Even though the figures are from real people, they disappear after I erase all that’s inside the outline. Then I draw from my imagination to combine them all together in the painting so that their identities evolve into something else.
You’ve said that you started with the main figure, and then you fill in the background as you go along and get inspired by your experiences and situations encountered. Can you share the story behind one of the paintings?
With the Zebra on Victoria Waterlily piece, I started with a woman sitting. Then I combined it with many things in my memory and experiences. In Thailand, we have a shrine. We believe in spirits that help people achieve their goals conveniently and quickly. It’s like a zebra-crossing. For the Thai people, we put zebra statues as offerings for the spirits. The lotus leaf represents unconstant situations. They are symbols put into the painting.
Why do you pick female figures?
Because I’m a man! Actually, I also want to represent human beings. I’m a male, but I have the feminine side to my mind. And the works are a celebration of femininity.
How has your working process changed through the years?
My background is in etching and printing. I’ve done solo exhibitions. The first two were about mixing painting and printing. The last one was 100 per cent painting. So I work on developing on and perfecting the technical painting skills.
What do you find most challenging about this series?
I began by questioning the language of painting and how I could communicate through painting. I try to understand to communicate using technique to paint. The way artists have to communicate their own expression, especially through painting. Coming from a background in printing, the main challenge was in learning a new medium as a form of expression.
How would you describe your personal vision?
Many Thai artists like to focus on big, important events like politics and topics that are big for the country. I think very personal small things that happen to me could affect me more. Smaller, more personal things like relationships with family, parents and friends inspire me. These affect me more and make a deeper impression. It’s just like when you’re broken-hearted. It could be something very big in life. With my paintings, I know each piece is complete when I feel that it satisfies me. But each one feels complete in different ways.
Lastly, how would you say painting is different from printing?
Painting can free my mind more than printing because I can work directly through feeling and imagination. But through printing, there needs to be a lot more knowledge about the process and special techniques. Plus, I have to stay in the room.