Singapore’s art scene can seem…well, a tad bit quiet at times. And then once a year – BOOM! Art Stage Singapore comes along and blows artistic life into our island’s veins.

Now in it’s second year, Art Stage is a dynamic hot bed of inspired artworks and installations that will leave you marveling at the creativity, skill and ingenuity of artists represented by over 130 galleries from 18 countries.

Unless you are the walking dead, it will be hard for you to walk through the colossal exhibition halls of Marina Bay Sands and not find something that speaks to you, moves you, piques your interest, makes you go “WOW” or perhaps “WTF!?”.

So what better way to bring you the essence of Art Stage 2012 by sharing ten works that made me feel one of the above.

  1. Navinland Needs You: We Are Asia. On entering Art Stage you will immediately be dominated by a large scale work by the artist Navin courtesy of Yavuz Gallery. It’s an epic, 12m long, mind boggling work which explores the powerful branding of Asia and the multicultural and geographical complexities that come with it. It’s larger than life and includes all kind of eccentric imagery and a great start to the fair.

  1. Memory. This is a beautiful and large installation by Indian artist Paresh Maity courtesy of Gallery Sumukha made up of a fishing boat and 315 flickering lanterns evoking the memory of the fishing village he grew up in as a child, complete with sounds of the ocean. There’s something truly beautiful and warm about it, and you almost feel as if you’re really there.

  1. The Red Boy series, a collection of awe-inspiring sculptures brought to you by China Scene by the artist Chen Wenling, one of China’s 10 ten sculptors. Look familiar? It’s because we have one of his works displayed  up at Old School right here in Sing.

  1. Moonlight of Franz Liszt by Shi Jindian, courtesy of Contemporary by Angela Li. This is the sort of detail I just love that comes from Chinese artists like Jindian, who uses an original object as a mould (in this case the double bass), painstakingly twists and turns wire around it and somehow slides it out leaving a incredible fragile looking replica. A true masterpiece.

  1. Mahjong fanatics rejoice! Do be sure to check out the Purple Roof Art Gallery/A.R.T.Institution to check out this creative take on one of Asia’s favourite past times.

  1. Those looking for a bit of surrealism, head over to the Paci Contemporary Gallery and marvel at Sandy Skoglund’s work. Incorporating what appears to be cheese puff crisps into any work is definitely my kind of surrealism.

  1. Check out the works by Li Hongbo courtesy of the Found Museum and marvel at the technique used here. Hongbo binds paper of rich elasticity before cutting and and assembling, stretching and reshaping with the result as below. If stretched out the work would measure 12m long, and took a painstaking 6 months to complete. Wowzers.

  1. How Betty Boop ended up in a cage is anyone’s guess  – probably too much boop boop de dooping. Anyway it made me chuckle but at the same time I strangely related to it. Perhaps because I might end up like her one day. Anyway it’s thanks to the Vanessa Art Link Gallery and Indonesian artist Astari Rasjid.

  1. I was slightly scared but also strangely drawn to the hairy monster in the hairy  frame by Chinese artist Wu Gaozhong – really the picture does not do it justice. You have to go and take this in in real life at the LDX Contemporary Art Centre booth.

  1. Being a bit of a nomad myself, I was s drawn to the large installations by  Alfredo & Isabel Aquiilizan which symbolize their migration from the Philippines to Australia as encompassed in In-Habit: Project Another Country 2011. If you’re a nomad and have spent many an hour throwing things into cardboard move boxes too, check it out and see how you relate.

  1. OK I know I said 10, but although this may look like a work, or an installation, it isn’t therefore it doesn’t really count. This is in fact a shop – a REAL shop – and there are some pretty nifty things in there to be found. In the ABC shop you can find all sorts of things including a rather fabulous feather pen, a half-spectacle magnifying glass, some Cuban cigar pens and oh, of course some plasters if you made a faux pas and decided to totter around Art Stage in your sky high heels.

Art Stage Singapore 2012, is on at Marina Bay Sands Convention Exhibition Centre from 12 to 15 January. Opening times Fri 13th 2-9pm, Sat 14th 12-9pm and Sunday 15th 12 – 6pm. General admission is $30, concessions $10. For more information visit their website here.

Written by Ms Demeanour