Established in 1992, Art Taipei is the longest running art fair of its kind in Asia and has grown in importance and influence each year. In 2012 it achieved record participation from over 150 galleries hailing from 16 countries. Art Taipei 2012 is ongoing and undeniable proof that Taiwan, in one way or another, has arrived on the international arts scene.
Speaking with the Taipei Times, Eva Lin (林怡華), director of Art Taipei, suggested that the event has become a major focus of the international arts trade and a significant platform for Asian artists with an eye to the international market. This development has taken place particularly in the last five years, despite the global economic crisis.
“During the last five years, the market for contemporary art, in Asia especially, has become much more vibrant. This year will be our biggest event yet,” Lin said.
Lin attributed Art Taipei’s ability to survive in these rocky economic times to the nature of Taiwan’s art market, in which private collectors dominate.
“If we take South Korea for example, most collections are in the hands of corporations, so their interest is much more dependent on the strength of the economy. When the economy is shaky, there will be a big impact on the art market ” Lin said. “Private collectors are less affected. Back around 2009, when the global economic recession was hitting hardest, many countries suspended the holding of art fairs, but in Taiwan, we were able to hold this event as usual.”
Taiwan has also proved itself remarkably open to contemporary influences and has embraced the work of artists working in what might be broadly termed “new media,” which includes video, digital technology and so on.
When: Nov. 9 to Nov. 12 from 11am to 7pm (6pm on Nov. 12)
Where: Taipei World Trade Center, Hall 1 (台北世界貿易中心展覽大樓一館),
Areas B, C and D, 5, Xinyi Rd Sec 5, Taipei (台北市信義路五段五號)
Admission: NT$250; NT$150 for students, seniors and the disabled
On the Net: Extensive English-language information is available at the festival Web site at www.art-taipei.com.
“[Japan’s] art market is more conservative, with a preference for Western masters and more traditional art media. Collectors of contemporary works are a minority. Taiwanese collectors tend to be more open minded and embrace contemporary works,” she added as a further reason why Taiwan has achieved such an important place as an entrepot for contemporary art. This year, galleries from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Lebanon, Australia, Russia, Greece, Austria, Germany, France, the UK and the US will be participating in the event.
Riding the China wave
“Asian artists have ridden the wave created by China’s emergence onto the arts scene, and many people, whether artists, agents and dealers have come to Asia to develop their business, setting up offices in Asian cities with an aim of exploiting the enormous potential represented by the art market in Asia. In the past, it was the Western arts community who led the way, but we hope that in the future, we in Asia will have our own style,” Lin said.
Lin cites cultural diversity and the new ideas that are buzzing around the region as reasons why Asia will play an important role in the arts market of the future.
“The art scene in the West is pretty established,” Lin said. “In Asia, there are many distinctive cultures located within a relatively small area, and each of these cultures have their own unique features. For example, the background of an artist from Japan and one from the Philippines are vastly different. In the West, there are also cultural differences, but they are not so extreme as between Asian countries, and this is something that many people regard as an important factor.”