An excerpt. Essay for exhibition catalogue, Closing the Gap : Indonesian Contemporary Art, January 2011. Full essay : 11-page essay with charts.
The Southeast Asian art market, a designation that is mainly referenced by the art auction circle, loosely refers to the trading of artworks by artists from 5 of 121 countries that geographically lie south of China, north of Australia, and east of India within the Asian region. Weighted by the strength of collectors’ buying power, the market is predominantly driven by art from Indonesia, followed by Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, to the tune of roughly three parts (Indonesian) to one (others). This dominance has to do with the passion and longstanding traditions of art collecting associated with affluent Indonesians as well as the quality of art that is produced by artists from respected institutions in Yogyakarta and Bandung.
From an art market viewpoint, one can posit that the story of the Southeast Asian art auction market is broadly the narrative of an enlarged Indonesian market, and such will be the focus of this essay. This essay is intended to be an exploratory overview into the subject. This is done by looking at components that contribute to the workings of the auction market - its players, its validating institutions, its history and recent performance. Statistics of auctions in Australia have been included to give readers a bearing and a point of entry into understanding this very animated market.
In it, references would also be made of contemporary art and artists.
By this, working criteria of artists embracing the ‘present’ and the ‘now’ in their works, in time, place, practices and values, are generally applied....