The Best Booths at ART SG 2024, From Elaborate Miniatures to an ‘Anti-Painting’ Painting

ART SG has officially returned to the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center for its second edition, and even if the exhibitor list was noticeably smaller than last year’s fair, the strong energy of 2023 was still present. Just before its 2 p.m. opening, a line had already formed in front of the entrance to its top floor. Inside, dealers seemed enthusiastic. bethoki77

Several galleries, like Lehmann Maupin and White Cube, did report sales by the early evening. Thaddaeus Ropac, for its part, said it sold an Anselm Kiefer painting for 1.1 million euros, or just under $1.2 million. More than a dozen galleries also reported first-day sales of works under $100,000, with one art dealer noting the lower price point helped sell a higher volume compared to last year’s fair.

Still, several people told ARTnews the pace of buying continued to differ from fairs in other cities.

“People in Singapore take a little bit more time,” Hong Kong–based gallerist Daphne King-Yoo of Alisan Fine Arts told ARTnews. “We did the bulk [of sales last year] after the fair had closed.”

This year’s offerings include thoughtful meditations on the pain of immigration, visual tricks made using embroidery, and paintings produced via labor-intensive processes.

Below, a look at the best booths on view at ART SG, which runs through Sunday, January 21. bethoki77

Ken Nwadiogbu at Retro Africa

Ken Nwadiogbu’s figurative portraits standout for their colorful depiction of the artist’s painful experiences with migration.

Photo : Courtesy of Retro Africa

Retro Africa’s solo presentation of Ken Nwadiogbu’s portraits of friends and family members was the clear standout in the fair’s Focus section. The London-based Nigerian artist has a background in photography and video, and it shows through in his colorful charcoal, oil, and acrylic paintings about the pain of migration. Some are imbued with a quiet sense of longing for has been lost in the process—whether for loved ones left at home or simply a pet that couldn’t make the journey. Nwadiogbu said he wanted to evoke his own immigrant experience in “a very calm, very soft, but very striking way.”

For “Journey Mercies: A Migration Symphony,” the series of works on view at the fair, Nwadiogbu’s uses moody shades of yellow and orange to evoke nostalgia. The colors are intense, mirroring the deeply felt emotions that come with building a life in a new place. His subjects gaze directly back at their viewers, urging them to understand their lives.

Far From Home, one of the works that sold on the fair’s first day, is a portrait of the artist’s cousin standing in the rain with a loyal dog. It came out of Nwadiogbu’s emotional separation from his own pet and his attempts to travel with an African passport. “We have to talk about that pain we go through,” Nwadiogbu said. bethoki77