After a successful first year, international art fair Art Stage Jakarta returns to the Indonesian capital from 11 to 13 August at Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel.

Like its sister fair in Singapore, Art Stage Jakarta offers audiences a comprehensive overview of Southeast Asia’s growing contemporary art scenes. Organizers say that the fair acts as a bridge between the global art world and the region’s most dynamic contemporary art scene.

Jakartans who are interested in art will have the chance to discover and engage with Indonesia’s artists, collectors and galleries over the course of three days.

“Art Stage Jakarta is not just a marketplace. It is a place of encounter where you learn, and where you also have the chance to see and discover things that are not only for sale,” said Lorenzo Rudolf, founder and president of Art Stage Jakarta and Singapore.

By bringing together different players from the art world, Art Stage Jakarta sees itself as a matchmaker, hoping to create a stronger art market within the region.

“Art Stage Jakarta is the entry point for the global art world to Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s top art market,” Lorenzo explained. “As a catalyst for the contemporary art scenes in Southeast Asia, we build bridges among the many individual art scenes to present a holistic view of the region’s art and engage with the contemporary issues affecting it.”

“Art Stage Jakarta 2017 offers visitors the platform to explore the artistic connections among Southeast Asian countries and discover cross-market opportunities,” he added. “And of course, it presents an unparalleled experience of Indonesian contemporary art and personal encounters with the country’s community of collectors, artists and galleries.”

According to Lorenzo, last year’s Art Stage Jakarta was a good start and an excellent platform to build on.

“We only had a short time to prepare it, but it went well and we surely want the fair to grow further,” he explained. “Everybody has the same vision and the same goal. Almost all Indonesian galleries supported the fair, as well as galleries from abroad, but the biggest support came from the art collectors in Indonesia.”

One of the major highlights of last year’s fair – if not the highlight of all – was the exhibition titled “The Human Face” that presented the works of Indonesian maestro Affandi. Many of his masterpieces had never been exhibited before. Therefore, art enthusiasts from all over the region reveled in the chance to finally take a glimpse at his majestic paintings. This rare exhibition was supported by auction house Sotheby’s and made possible thanks to several Indonesian art collectors.

“Affandi is the grand maestro of Indonesia and expressionism,” said Lorenzo. “The way he paints is unique. He uses the colours squeezing out of the tube and his hands to try to bring his emotions and feelings directly to the canvas. He is not trying to paint reality, but to reflect his inner self out on the canvas.”

Indonesia’s major collectors continue to support the fair, many of them active on Jakarta Art Stage’s “Board of Art Patrons” led by its president Deddy Kusuma – a vocal advocate for the internationalization of Indonesian art – and the “Board of Young Collectors” under the guidance of Tom Tandio, who represents the country’s new group of young and enthusiastic art collectors.

“With this fair, we can position Indonesia not only as a country that is rich in art, but also as a country that is perfectly able to organize and host art events and fairs, just like New York, Paris or London,” Lorenzo said.

A number of renowned Indonesian galleries will participate again in this year’s Art Stage Jakarta, among them Nadi Gallery, Semarang Gallery, ROH Projects, D Gallerie, Rachel Gallery and CAN’s Galerie.

Moreover, Art Stage Jakarta will also feature international galleries from different corners of the world, including Mizuma Gallery, Tomio Koyama Gallery, OTA Fine Arts and ShugoArts from Tokyo, Gajah Gallery and FOST Singapore from Singapore, The Drawing Room and Artinformal from Sydney, Sullivan + Strumpf from Sydney, Edouard Malingue Gallery from Hong Kong as well as Wei-Ling Gallery from Kuala Lumpur.

Lorenzo explained that many aspiring participants had to be waitlisted – a good sign that Art Stage Jakarta has been gaining ground since last year and is widely seen as “the place to be” when it comes to art fairs in the region. But Lorenzo already thinks bigger than that.

“If you take a look at the art scenes in the region, you quickly realize that many of the countries in Southeast Asia have quite strong curative scenes, but the strongest and biggest one is surely Indonesia,” he said. “But not a single one of these countries is strong enough to compete alone in a global context. In other words, we want to present Southeast Asia as a region, which is necessary if you want to compete on the global stage and with international markets.”

Therefore, he added, Art Stage Jakarta will gradually include more galleries and artists from other Southeast Asian countries as well as international ones – this year, half of the participating galleries are from Indonesia.

Art Stage Jakarta 2017 is sponsored by Bank Mandiri.

Katrin Figge

Katrin Figge

Katrin Figge is a previous editor of NOW! Jakarta. An experienced writer and avid bookworm.