We had special interviews at Artspace @ Helu-Trans, Singapore; the first interview is with Mr. Ikkan Sanada, the owner of IKKAN Art Gallery.
─How was the opening reception last night?
Ikkan: It was such a mess last night with more than a thousand people! We had a really good time with DJ’s at Tokyo Street Exhibition on the 1st floor, Shoko Kanazawa Exhibition and preview of Est-Ouest Auctions on the 2nd floor. In particular, I think a lot of people liked the artworks by Taku Obata. Shoko Kanazawa Exhibition was also popular; there were some visitors who wanted one right after they looked at it or kept looking at the one they bought till we close.
─Why did you move out to Singapore?
Ikkan: I’ve been in New York for a long time. Galleries and artists there need a huge fund in order to develop a new art scene to compete against big galleries; however, as Asian economy has developed since the economic downturn precipitated by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008, art markets have changed as well.
When I held an exhibition of Parkett Collection that I spent 25 years to collect, some government employees in Singapore visited there to ask me to come to Singapore to help them with their art business. Singapore was a developing market with a free port left undone at that time; nevertheless, I felt that Singapore government was really eager to develop art as a national policy.
As Singaporean media such as newspapers and magazines played up our gallery when we opened in Singapore, the exhibition of TeamLab and Shishu last time was a big success that it won the 3rd place in the best exhibitions of the year in Singapore.
As Gillman Barracks opened last year, I hope to develop art and culture in this region with them.
─Art Hong Kong is going to be Art Basel Hong Kong this year. What do you think about it?
Ikkan: I think it is really good that the quality of artworks will get better due to Basel. Hong Kong is going to be the best market in Asia. I think it is crucial for Art Stage Singapore to focus on South East Asia to distinguish from Art Basel Hong Kong.
─What do you think about Gillman Barracks?
Ikkan: As far as I consider the art market in Singapore, they need more time. A number of visitors so far is not big yet. Gillman Barracks is what Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) made. EDB and galleries in Gillman Barracks need more interaction and corporation to make it better; however, I am looking forward to it since it has high potentialities.
─So how is Singapore different from New York?
Ikkan: While a new movement tends to come from public institutions in New York, government tends to take a lead instead in Singapore. It is important to keep a balance between freedom and control of art/ culture in order to develop the society. Therefore, galleries need to take responsibility and develop the market. I want to keep learning at any time getting inspired by young artists.
─Who do you think is the most remarkable Japanese artist?
Ikkan: TeamLab. I will make an effort to make them wide known to the world since they are not well known as an artist yet.
(Jan. 23rd, 2013)