Taiwan is regarded as a cultural hub for the modern creative industry, while still embracing a traditional Chinese heritage. The country also provides a strong base for collectors from all categories, with the top-tier buyers at all of the major international auction houses hailing from the island nation. Thanks to an eye for quality, plus a thirst for knowledge and education that is typical of the region, there are multiple world class collections in a country of 24 million people. Yet, comparing the current commercial art scene with its abundance of collector’s fairs, there certainly appears to be an opportunity to introduce the format to Taiwan.
Enter Magnus Renfrew and Taipei Dangdai (meaning “modern” in Mandarin), taking place from the 17th to the 20th January 2019 in the capital which “aims to introduce galleries to the strong collector base within Taiwan, but also to showcase the cultural production of Taiwan and of Asia to a much broader audience”, in the words of Renfrew.
Step by Step, from founding ART Hong Kong (which was acquired by MCH group now become Art Basel Hong Kong), to becoming director Asia of Art Basel, and deputy Chairmanship at Bonhams, Renfrew is clearly well versed in the dynamics of the art market in Asia and bringing a new fair in life in the region, and provided a catalyst for other new platforms, such as Art Central in Hong Kong, and Art SG which will launch in November 2019.
With 90 galleries at the inaugural edition, under the theme of Are & Ideas, the lineup includes rock stars such as Gagosian and Perrotin making their premier appearance in Taiwan, who have been drawn by a refined selection process thanks to a rigorous selection committee. Taipei Dangdai will not only allow well known international artists to have increased exposure in this well educated pocket of Asia, but it will also provide a larger platform for young galleries (those less than eight years old), artists presenting solo shows, and the Salon, presenting artworks that are priced below USD 8,000. In addition there is the Ideas Program, a series of talks that aims to connect art to the real world, through other disciplines such as archeology and science.
While the crossover between the art world and that of watches may not be obvious at first, much like the Scottsdale car auctions, Taipei Dangdai will give a good indication of the health of the collectors market going into 2019. The coming 12 months has already been predicted as being challenging in the wider financial markets, but in previous years this has only strengthened the alternative asset markets, as investors seek to insulated themselves from turmoil by diversifying into something that they can at least take pleasure from.
Taipei Dangdai takes place from the 18th to the 20th January, and Taipei Biennial, One Art Taipei and other galleries will be hosting exhibitions during the same week. More information can be found here.