Culture / Art Republik

A Salon: Asia Now Paris 2017 Review

A preview of Asia Now, a boutique art fair in its third edition in Paris

Oct 16, 2017 | By Art Republik

View of Asia Now 2016

Asia Now returns for its third edition, taking place from 18 to 22 October. Happening during the busy Parisian art week, the boutique art fair, presented in a private mansion at 9 avenue Hoche, will offer a diverse line-up of more than 30 galleries, as they did for the 2016 event.

The event is growing however, with one more day added, and although its promotion has mostly been of Asian art, such as Chinese avant-garde art, the five-day event will include galleries representing Southeast Asian artists. Galleries such as A3, returning for its third year, will be showcasing the solo exhibition of Philippine artist Marina Cruz, curated by Matthias Arndt. The artist will present a new body of work in the form of medium to large-scale oil on canvas paintings. Cruz’s work fluctuates between the representative and being abstract. A nod to the tailor’s craft and to garments as a documentation of history, the works will be accompanied by the launch of her monograph, ‘Breathing Patterns’.

Marina Cruz, ‘Mend Me’, 2016

Works from other Southeast Asian artists will also be available at the fair. Richard Koh Fine Art will show the works of Malaysian artist Anne Samat. Primo Marella Gallery and Primae Noctis Gallery will present the works of Filipino artist Ronald Ventura and Vietnamese artist Nguyen Thai Tuan, as well as Singapore favourites, Ruben Pang, Robert Zhao Renhui, and Jeremy Sharma, whose works centre around visual impressions and production in the information age.

When asked about the reception of Southeast Asian art by their audience since they came on to the scene three years ago and how it has evolved, Director and Co-Founder of Asia Now, Alexandra Fain shared that she feels European viewers need time to grasp Southeast Asian art aesthetics. The challenge for Asia Now is “to show Western collectors that Southeast Asian artists have a universal message which touches everyone, no matter the geography, but with a strong and anchored Southeast Asian culture” which Alexandra says she “doesn’t want to see erased.”

Nguyen Thai Tuan, ‘Gate 2’, 2016

The fair plans to continue its mission to “educate” its visitors as to what the region has to offer through engagement on various platforms, such as art talks, discussion panels and film screenings to help collectors and institutions understand better and develop an appreciation for it.

Interesting platforms this upcoming fair will include a unique project titled ‘Cloudy Depths: Five Artists and Their Take on Neo-Mōrōism’, curated by Wei Xiangqi. Neo-Mōrōism calls for a return to the environment and spirituality through reflection.  There will also be a fresh focus on South Korean art with a platform dedicated to the art scene from the “Land of the Morning Calm”, curated by Joanne Kim. The curatorial team from the Busan Biennale 2018 will also showcase artists from the Korean avant-garde period.

A unique feature of the fair is its intimate setting, which creates a less overwhelming atmosphere than bigger fairs can engender, allowing exhibitors to take their time to talk through the artworks with visitors. Looking ahead, while gallery participation for the 2017 edition of Asia Now is on par with last year’s numbers, visitors can look forward to roughly a 30 per cent increase in offerings in 2018 when the third floor of the venue becomes available to the fair.

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This article was written by Tanya Amador for Art Republik.

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