Art What! Arts Preview

Art What!: ART SG, presented by UBS, announces initial programme highlights for inaugural edition in January 2023

From left: Magnus Renfrew, Co-Founder, ART SG, Shuyin Yang, Fair Director, ART SG, August Hatecke, Co-Head Global Wealth Management Asia Pacific and Country Head of UBS Singapore at UBS] Taken at the ART SG media launch hosted at UBS

ART SG, the new international art fair for Singapore and Southeast Asia, brings together over 150 leading galleries from around the world to Singapore on 12 – 15 January 2023 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Presented by Founding and Lead Partner UBS and organised by The Art Assembly, ART SG offers a meeting point in Southeast Asia for collectors around the world to convene in one of the most dynamic cultural landscapes globally. This marks the launch of the first fair of such scale and international significance in the region. ART SG has just unveiled the initial programme highlights, and First Release Tickets for the fair are now on sale.

As a key hub within the Southeast Asia region, home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world, Singapore has a dynamic cultural scene. As a gateway to the region, Singapore is a nexus for the region’s extensive and knowledgeable collector base to connect with artists, curators and cultural stakeholders. Co-timed with Singapore Art Week, ART SG will be a critical meeting point for international galleries and collectors.

Across ART SG, visitors will be able to see exceptional artworks from the region and worldwide. In addition to the main GALLERIES sector, ART SG will present FOCUS, a contextualised sector featuring galleries presenting solo or duo artist programmes, or curated thematic presentations, FUTURES, a sector dedicated to supporting young galleries under the age of six years, presenting specially created presentations for ART SG, and REFRAME, for galleries presenting art that is engaged with, made or presented using digital technology, which includes digital painting, animation, immersive installations, augmented or virtual reality, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The fair will also present public art programmes of large-scale site-specific installations, a curated film sector, as well as critical and thought-provoking talks and education. For this year’s edition, the Film sector will be curated by Thai curator Gridthiya Gaweewong, the Artistic Director of the Jim Thompson Art Center in Bangkok who was recently appointed the Artistic Director of the Thailand Biennale 2023. The Talks programme will be curated by Cosmin Costinas, former Executive Director of Para Site, and the upcoming Director of the Biennale of Sydney in 2024.

“The inaugural ART SG will showcase unmissable presentations from leading regional and global galleries. The different sectors across the fair demonstrate the scale and quality of Asia’s cultural landscape, where international audiences can experience the best contemporary art from Southeast Asia and around the world. We are thrilled to be working with two leading curators this year, Gridithya Gaweewong and Cosmin Costinas, who will bring together some of the most exciting creative voices in today’s international contemporary art community,” said Magnus Renfrew, Co-Founder, ART SG.

“We are truly excited to celebrate the rich diversity of art not only from Singapore and Southeast Asia, but from all corners of the world. From new modalities of painting to contemporary practice in sculpture, installations and stimulating conceptual works, as well as experimentations in technology-driven art, we hope the inaugural edition of ART SG will provide collectors, galleries, and art-lovers alike a vital opportunity for discovery, exchange and discourse,” commented Shuyin Yang, Fair Director, ART SG.

ART SG programme highlights


The main sector of ART SG will showcase outstanding presentations by leading international and regional galleries. Initial highlights include:

Josh Smith
Admit It Feels Good, 2022 Oil on poly cotton
72 x 60 inches
182.9 x 152.4 cm
Signed, titled, dated, and inscribed verso
© Josh Smith
Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

David Zwirner (Paris, Hong Kong, London, New York) will present a significant line-up of major international artists from the gallery’s programme, including Oscar Murillo, Josh Smith, and Neo Rauch.

A curated selection of new artworks featuring Imi Knoebel, Ibrahim Mahama and Mona Hatoum among others, at White Cube (London, Hong Kong, New York, Paris).

Thaddaeus Ropac (London, Paris, Salzburg, Seoul) will feature a group presentation including renowned artists Tom Sachs, Georg Baselitz, Alex Katz, Robert Rauschenberg, Martha Jungwirth, Robert Longo, Oliver Beer, Sylvie Fleury, and Cory Arcangel.

Tracey Emin
Save Me, 2018
neon (magenta and clear red) 48.0 x 122.2 cm 18 7/8 x 48 in.
Courtesy the Artist and Xavier Hufkens, Brussels

Xavier Hufkens (Brussels) will present major artists from their gallery programme, such as Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Thomas Houseago, Cassi Namoda, Sterling Ruby, and Zhang Enli.

Mandy El-Sayegh, Performance rehearsal still, UTA Artist Space, Los Angeles, 2022. Photo: Josh S. Rose Courtesy the artist, Lehmann Maupin, and UTA Artist Space

Lehmann Maupin (New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, London) will create an in-depth presentation of Malaysian born artist Mandy El-Sayegh, alongside other highlights such as acclaimed Korean sculptor and installation artist Lee Bul and rising talent Tammy Nguyen, a Vietnamese American painter.

Almine Rech (Paris, Brussels, London, New York, Shanghai) will showcase a diverse group show of important Western and Eastern masters in dialogue: Kim Tschang-Yeul, Turi Simeti, large scale sculptures by Alejandro Cardenas and Ryan Schneider; as well as young talents such as Ceěsar Piette, Szabolcs Bozoě, and Thu Van Tran.

Richard Koh Fine Art (Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok) will present a curated Southeast Asian group show with a special focus on art practices emerging from the Indochina region, featuring established and new names such as Natee Utarit, Svay Sareth, Wah Nu, UuDam Tran Nguyen, Ha Manh Thang, Fasang Navaaran.

TKG+ (Taipei) will feature a three-artist presentation of institutionally recognized names from Thailand, Burma, and Taiwan: Mit Jai Inn, Sawangwongse Yawnghwe, Chiu Chen-Hung, whose works form a tripartite dialogue across different themes such as socio-political concerns, history, nostalgia and memory.

Patricia Piccinini
The Balance
Fibreglass, automotive paint, leather parts 187 x 230 x 150 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Yavuz Gallery.

Yavuz Gallery (Singapore, Sydney) will present a group show featuring Southeast Asian and Australasian artists, including multi-disciplinary works by one of Southeast Asia’s most respected female artists, Pinaree Sanpitak (who was most recently featured in the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, “The Milk of Dreams”).

Ota Fine Arts (Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai) will show a curated presentation of leading Southeast Asian and Asian contemporary names, including Maria Farrar, Chris Huen Sin-Kan, Hilmi Johandi, and Guo-Liang Tan.

Kohei Nawa
PixCell-Reedbuck (Aurora) 2020
h. 113.1 x w. 114.2 x d. 38 cm mixed media credit; Nobutada Omote
*The actual work for the fair will be different. Courtesy of SCAI THE BATHHOUSE

SCAI the Bathhouse (Tokyo) will present a curated exhibition, “Notional Spheres”, exploring formalistic strategies that artists deploy to reconfigure our perception of the world, featuring important Japanese contemporary artists such as Kohei Nawa, Mariko Mori and Daisuke Ohba.

Makiko Kudo
Plum Trees and Black Swans
227.3 x 181.8 cm
oil on canvas
©Makiko Kudo, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery

An exciting selection of new paintings by artists Yann Gerstberger, Shinpei Kusanagi, Oscar Murillo and Makoto Saito, juxtaposed against lighting sculptures by Michael Anastassiades at Taka Ishii Gallery (Tokyo).

Donna ONG
Tropical Shades (III): Rainforest Narratives from the National Geographic 1970 – 1979
UV printed rubber magnets on powder coated steel H209.4 x W89.4 x D1 cm
Image Courtesy of FOST Gallery and the Artist

FOST Gallery (Singapore) will bring together a tightly curated selection of works which feature different aspects of life in Southeast Asia by Kray Chen, John Clang, Phi Phi Oanh, Donna Ong, and Yeo Tze Yang.


A contextualised sector featuring galleries presenting in-depth solo or duo artist programmes, or curated thematic presentations, with an emphasis on Southeast Asian and Asian artists, as well as emerging to mid- career international names, with an aim to showcase the range and development of their practice across different mediums and provide a foundation for insights and discussion of the artists’ work. Highlights include:

Daniel Boyd (b.1982)
Untitled (TFPISD)
Oil, charcoal and archival glue on linen 110 x 200 x 3.5 cm

Kukje Gallery (Seoul, Busan) will present an engaging solo showcase of new work by respected indigenous Australian artist, Daniel Boyd, who is known for questioning and challenging the pre-existing romanticist notions behind Australia’s colonial history.

I wish I had learned more trivia, 2022
Mirror finish stainless steel, metal, 75 x 97 cm Image courtesy of MadeIn Gallery

“Reality Mining” at MadeIn (Shanghai), a two-person show of artists Ding Li and Xu Zhen®. Together their mutually relevant practices suggest that we live in a reality dictated by algorithms, and the evolution of art reflects the discovery and re-invention of the physical world.

Galerie Urs Meile (Beijing, Lucern) will showcase a dialogue investigating abstraction between three female artists from China: Ju Ting, Miao Miao, and Zhang Xuerui.

Devon DeJardin [American, b.1993] Confrontation, 2022
Oil on canvas
84 x 120 inches
213.5 x 305 cm
Courtesy of the artist and albertz benda, New York and Los Angeles Photo: David Katzinger

albertz benda (New York, Los Angeles) will present a solo booth by American painter and multi-media artist Devon DeJardin, his first international presentation comprising new paintings, ranging from intimate portraits to monumental tableaux, conceived specifically for ART SG 2023.

Pam Yan Santos, ‘if I Behave, Can I Go Up? (2.0)’ Acrylic, collage and serigraphy on canvas
Image courtesy of the artist and The Drawing Room Manila

A solo booth by acclaimed female painter from the Philippines, Pam Yan Santos titled “Building Things We May Not Know” at The Drawing Room (Manila), which explore themes such as everyday intimacy, domesticity, and the interchanging feminine roles of mother, wife, and artist.

Yeo Workshop (Singapore) will bring a tightly curated presentation entitled “From the Land of Gold Below the Winds in South Seas”, juxtaposing the historically and culturally interrogative practices of multi-disciplinary artists from Singapore and Southeast Asia including Fyerool Darma, Filippo Sciascia, Santi Wangchuan, and Citra Sasmita.


A sector dedicated to supporting young galleries under the age of six years, presenting specially created presentations for ART SG. Presentations will have been created within the past 18 months and not previously exhibited in a gallery or institutional setting. Highlights include:

Mevlana Lipp 梅夫拉纳·利普
Strawberry 草莓, 2022
wood, velvet, acrylic color, ink, sand, aluminum stretcher 木 材,天鹅 绒,丙烯颜料,墨水,沙粒,铝制画框
120 x 90 cm
© Mevlana Lipp, courtesy of the artist and Capsule Shanghai © 梅夫拉纳·利普,图片由艺术家和胶囊上海提供

Capsule Shanghai (Shanghai) will present a curated three-person show featuring recent works by Leelee Chan, Mevlana Lipp and Miranda Fengyuan Zhang. Under the influence of their personal and familial histories, each artist draws inspiration from nature, contemporary culture and the urban environment to create artistic statements ranging from wall sculptures to textile pieces.

Kristoffer Ardeña, Ghost Painting (Cracked Category): White Flower Embrocation
Elastomeric paint on woven PVC fiber
180×152 cms
Image courtesy of Tropical Futures Institute

Tropical Futures Institute (Cebu) will exhibit a bold and conceptually diverse presentation featuring Visayas-based painter Kristoffer Ardeña, Filipina-Canadian artist and filmmaker Stephanie Comilang, German experimental artist exploring fictional concepts and technology across a range of different media, Simon Speiser, and Adam de Boer, an American artist investigating cultural hybridity.

Li Hei Di
I Celebrate Dawn on a Deserted Island
Oil on linen
195 x 200 cm
© Li Hei Di – Courtesy of the Artist and LINSEED

LINSEED (Shanghai) will show a curation of new works by three emerging names: Sebastian Burger, Tom Howse, Li Hei Di, experimenting with imageries of nature, instinctive desires, and contemporary cultures.

ART SG will celebrate Singapore’s position at the forefront of technological innovation by highlighting new experimentations in digital art and works on the blockchain. The sector will showcase galleries presenting art that is engaged with, made or presented using digital technology, which includes digital painting, animation, immersive installations, augmented or virtual reality, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). REFRAME aim showcase a range of technology-driven work and explore facets related to collecting work in this medium such as curation, presentation, conservation, and provenance, through an associated programme of talks and education. Highlights include:

Refik Anadol
Pacific Ocean A, 2022
Video (color, sound)
dimensions variable, portrait orientation 16 min, loop
Edition of 5, 2 AP
Image courtesy of the artist and bitforms gallery

Bitforms gallery (New York, San Francisco) will present a selection of works from Refik Anadol, one of the most acclaimed pioneers in the aesthetics of data and machine intelligence, and whose generative artworks have redefined the parameters of technology and algorithmic-based practice in this current era.

Postmasters Gallery (New York) will show a curated selection of new and historical work by the renowned media art pioneers Jennifer and Kevin McCoy (Kevin McCoy has been hailed as the creator of the first digital art NFT in 2014), and other seminal names within the digital art and blockchain movement: Eva and Franco Mattes, Olive Allen, Gracelee Lawrence and Lovid.

Sputniko!, Nanohana Heels, 2022, sculpture (leather, steel, aluminum, 40 x 30 x 15 cm) accompanied with a video work (color, sound, 0:51min.)
Images courtesy of the artist and Kate Vass Galerie

Kate Vass Galerie (Zurich) will bring together works by leading international new media and generative artists from different backgrounds and practices, showcasing the diversity of the genre, such as Sputniko!, Marcelo Soria-Rodríguez, Kjetil Golid, Kevin Abosch, Iskra Velitchkova, and Anna Ridler.

Vanguard Gallery (Shanghai) will present “Suit Koo Chup Yew” by Hong Kong-based collective Jiū Society, an ongoing project across a diverse range of media including site-specific installations, sculptures, paintings, videos and crypto art, that takes its title from a 1955 Hong Kong musical comedy film which was loosely structured around the characters of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.


The Film sector will be curated by Thai curator Gridthiya Gaweewong, who is currently the Artistic Director of the Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, and was on the curatorial team for the 2018, 12th Gwangju Biennale, Imagined Border. She was recently appointed the Artistic Director of the Thailand Biennale 2023. The sector will focus on showcasing new film-making practices, experimental film or film as artistic medium from artists and practitioners from around Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. Further details will be available in the coming weeks.


The Talks programme will be curated by Cosmin Costinas, former Executive Director of Para Site and the Artistic Director of the 2020 Kathmandu Triennale. Costinas was recently appointed as Director of the 24th Biennale of Sydney taking place in 2024. Exploring a diverse range of topics inspired by the Singapore art scene and beyond, the programme offers a chance to delve deeper into Southeast Asian contemporary culture in context to the global art landscape. The programme will offer critical and thought-provoking discussion on key topics and issues today, such as cross-cultural dialogues within the new global realities particularly the Asia-Pacific region; and novel ways of building and supporting art ecosystems and encounters. Featured speakers will include respected names from Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia to foster greater exchanges across these culturally resonant regions and geographies. Further information will be available in due course.

UBS and contemporary art

UBS has a long history of supporting contemporary art in Asia and around the world and has one of the world’s most important corporate art collections with over 30,000 artworks. In Singapore, UBS displays an array of artworks from renowned artists at their office at 9 Penang Road such as local artists Hilmi Johandi, Jane Lee and Robert Zhao, and from Asia such as Christine Ay Tjoe, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Lee Bul and Jumaldi Alfi, whilst also celebrating the Collection’s history with works by Damien Hirst, and Alex Katz. Committed to fostering the local art community in Singapore, UBS has commissioned the artist Dawn Ng to create a site-specific, immersive installation which will be unveiled at the fair in the UBS Lounge and presented alongside paintings by the Singapore artist. 

August Hatecke, Co-Head Global Wealth Management Asia Pacific and Country Head of UBS Singapore at UBS said “UBS is delighted to present ART SG, which will bring together over 150 leading galleries from around the world. This will be the largest art fair launched in Southeast Asia – home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world. In our recent survey of high-net-worth collectors, published in the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, spending on art in Asia maintained strength over the pandemic while dealers in Asia had among the most substantial increases in sales. Our partnership with ART SG is an extension of our commitment to support our clients and the vibrant cultural and art scene in the region. UBS is an active supporter of contemporary art, and we have one of the world’s most important corporate art collections, the UBS Art Collection, with over 30,000 works by some of the most significant artists of our time.”

UBS supports some of the world’s most important arts institutions, events and fairs, including Art Basel Hong Kong, Taipei Dangdai, and West Bund Art & Design in Asia. The firm seeks to advance the international conversation about the art market as co-publisher of the ‘Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report’ and surveys. UBS also provides clients with insight into the art market, collecting and legacy planning through The UBS Collectors Circle and UBS Art Advisory.

ART SG runs from 12th to 15th January 2023 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Tickets available here

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