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Longest-running art fair in the Asia-Pacific region shows both the variety and vitality of art market
A woman admires a glass artwork by British artist Martyn Barratt during the Art Taipei 2013 exhibition in Taipei. There are more then 3,000 artworks by over 500 artists from 15 countries taking part in the event, running from November 8 to 11. AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh.

TAIPEI.- As the longest-running art fair in the Asia-Pacific region with its 20-year-history, the grand opening of ART TAIPEI 2013 was held last night at Taipei World Trade Center Building 1. Among the 150 participating galleries this year, half are from overseas, including first-time exhibitors such as Art Xchange and Opera Gallery from Singapore, Villa del Arte Galleries from Spain, Galleria Grafica Tokio from Tokyo, Lehmann Maupin from New York, Silverlens from the Philippines, Hyundai Gallery from Korea, and many other major galleries all over the world, showing their interest in the art market in Taipei.

ART TAIPEI 2013 not only welcomes new faces bringing artworks around the world, but also welcomes new collectors from different countries, especially Southeast Asia, whose collectors came here with eagerness to make their collections more extensive. Many galleries were satisfied with their great success at the opening night including established galleries in Taiwan such as Soka Art Center, Tina Keng Gallery, Eslite Gallery, AKI Gallery as well as galleries overseas such as Ami Li Gallery (China), Whitestone Gallery (Japan), and Art Xchange (Singapore), among others.

An Art Platform with Asian Perspective
Facing the challenges of ART STAGE in Singapore and ART BASEL HONG KONG, ART TAIPEI 2013 – as an Asian art fair organized by Asians – offers a perspective unique to the full-of-variety world of Asian art as well as bridges the gap between Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia. Many overseas first-time exhibitors – including Opera Gallery (Singapore), Ami Li (China), Villa del Arte Galleries (Spain), and Lehmann Maupin (New York) – were surprised to see that Taiwnaese artists were very open-minded to embrace different kinds of artworks and to collect art by foreign artists, young emerging artists, or artworks using experimental techniques. They were also impressed by Taiwanese collectors’ profound understanding of art. Returning galleries such as Galerie Nichido nca (Japan), who came here for the third time, was glad to see artworks of better quality this year. Some even noticed that there were more collectors from Southeast Asia than previous editions, showing that ART TAIPEI 2013 indeed made a successful effort establishing an Asia-based art platform.

From the Western modern masters such as Picasso and Chagall, the Han-Chinese masters such as Zao Wu-Ki, Chu Teh-Chun, and Liu Kuo-Sung, to the young emerging artists from various countries, the artworks showcased at ART TAIPEI 2013 demonstrated the variety of the art market in this region. A great number of galleries exhibited high-priced works – including one piece priced at USD $130 million by Zao Wu-Ki, who passed away earlier this year - which became the spotlight of the year and attracted the attention of collectors from both Taiwan and overseas. Some young Asian artists such as Lee Lee-Num, Tu Wei-Chen, Hsu Wei-Hui, and Chen Chun-Hao, who are exploring the traditional art form with unexpected materials such as nails, soap, or facial masks, caught the attention of collectors and journalists. The first-time exhibitor Art Xchange (Singapore) presented works from R. Sumantri MS in which the Indonesian artist combines characters from Asian folklore and Western pop culture. Sumantri’s works saw great success at the opening night, with more than 70 percent being sold. Whitestone Gallery, which features Kusama Yayoi’s works, also had great sales on opening night. Hyundai Gallery, which is presenting Korean artists, was satisfied with their first visit to ART TAIPEI as well.

Japanese Photographer Daido Moriyama Showing up at the Art Fair
In addition to the wonderful artworks at the exhibition, another must-see section is the special exhibition of Daido Moriyama’s works. The internationally-renowned Japanese photographer was also invited to ART TAIPEI, giving an art lecture as well as a guided tour of his exhibit. Almost 300 visitors rushed in to see the master who was, as usual, in his elegant black suit, while the late-comers occupied the aisle, waiting for the artist to share his artistic experience. Daido Moriyama, who has visited Taiwan several times, also expressed his excitement to participate in the event.

ART TAIPEI will run through Nov 11th (Monday), at Exhibition Hall #1 of Taipei World Trade Center.

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