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A Look Inside Taipei Dangdai's Successful 2024 Edition

Taipei Dangdai Art & Ideas concluded its 2024 edition on a high note, with robust sales and a well-attended program of events, further cementing Taipei's status as a burgeoning cultural hub. The fair, organized by The Art Assembly at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, saw an impressive turnout of 35,125 visitors from May 10-12, 2024, and featured 78 top galleries from 19 countries.

 

Leading the charge were Magnus Renfrew and Robin Peckham, co-founders and co-directors, whose innovative leadership is propelling Taipei Dangdai not just toward showcasing exceptional art but also fostering meaningful dialogues within the global art community. In this exclusive interview, we explore their insights and visions for Taipei Dangdai.

 

Interview with Magnus Renfrew


Magnus Renfrew

Portrait of Magnus Renfrew, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Taipei Dangdai Art & Ideas. Image courtesy of Taipei Dangdai Art & Ideas.


Gen de Art: As we mark the fifth edition of Taipei Dangdai, could you discuss how the fair educates and engages new collectors in contemporary art?

Renfrew: For newcomers, feeling comfortable in the environment and confident about the quality of art on display is crucial. Our selection committee, comprised of experienced gallerists, reviews all applications and chooses only the top galleries, ensuring a high standard of art. This selection process builds inherent trust, helping attendees take their first steps in collecting with more confidence. Additionally, our talks program emphasizes collecting. We also offer talks for both new and established collectors. Throughout the year, my co-director Robin Peckham and I also hold seminars to help demystify the art world for various groups, from next-generation collectors to private wealth management clients, not only in Taipei but also in other major cities like Taichung, Kaohsiung, and Tainan.

 

Gen de Art: What developments or trends have you observed in the Asian art market over these five years?

Renfrew: The last five years have been transformative, particularly with the pandemic's temporary impact. However, taking a longer view of the past 15 years, the art market in Asia has evolved dramatically. Previously, there was room for only one international-level art fair in Asia. Now, the market has become more multi-polar, with several regional markets large enough to sustain their own art fairs. This expansion reflects significant changes, including more Western galleries seeking to engage with Asian audiences amid global economic challenges. Additionally, there's been a noticeable increase in younger collectors, fueled by a substantial intergenerational wealth transfer. These collectors are globally aware and actively participating in the market, which has rejuvenated the collector base across Asia.


Taipei Dangdai

Courtesy of Taipei Dangdai


Taipei Dangdai

Courtesy of Taipei Dangdai

 

Gen de Art: How do sponsorships and partnerships enhance Taipei Dangdai?

Renfrew: Our approach to partnerships has evolved from traditional sponsorships focused on logo placement to more integrated collaborations. Working with partners like UBS and various luxury brands, we aim to create deeper, more meaningful engagements that resonate with the art world. This integrated approach is something we plan to expand in our programming over the coming years.

 

Gen de Art: Please share more about the initiatives between Taipei Dangdai and other art fairs?Renfrew: Taipei Dangdai is part of the Art Assembly, a collective of art fairs I organize with Tim Echols and Sandy Angus, including Art SG and Tokyo Gendai. We aim to pool resources and foster interactions, especially between Taipei and Japan, given their cultural ties and proximity. Internally, we focus on collaborations that enhance our reach and establish deep roots in the communities where our fairs occur. In Taiwan, we work closely with cultural institutions to promote the local art scene. This year, we introduced a cultural partners sector at the fair, allowing various partners to showcase their work and contribute to spreading the word about Taipei Dangdai, thus encouraging greater international engagement.

 

Interview with Robin Peckham


Portrait of Robin Peckham, Co-Director of Taipei Dangdai Art & Ideas. Image courtesy of Taipei Dangdai Art & Ideas.


Gen de Art: With your extensive experience in the art world, particularly in Asian contemporary art, how have cultural or market insights shaped your approach or the identity of your work?

Peckham: Fundamentally, an art fair must resonate with its locale. Our approach isn't about imposing our vision but about understanding the dynamics of Taiwan—what collectors seek, market demands, gallery needs, and the gaps in the artistic ecosystem. About 75% of our effort is dedicated to this explorative learning, while the remaining 25% focuses on how we can contribute meaningfully.

 

My background as a curator and editor influences how I view the fair. Our goal is to anticipate and slightly challenge our audience, pushing them towards emerging interests they might not yet be aware of.

 

Gen de Art: Speaking of the art ecosystem in Taiwan, how do you perceive its evolution?

Peckham: Taiwan boasts a mature and robust art scene. Unlike newer scenes in Beijing or Hong Kong, Taiwan has longstanding galleries and public museums with a strong civic duty to uphold and promote Taiwanese culture. Our role is to bridge these established institutions with contemporary movements, creating unique opportunities for cultural dialogue.

 

For instance, over the past decade in Taipei, we've observed a cultural shift where art has woven itself into the lifestyle of the youth, much like going to a café or a movie. This casual engagement with art is now becoming prevalent in Hong Kong as well, transforming the cultural landscape.


Taipei Dangdai

Courtesy of Taipei Dangdai


Taipei Dangdai

Courtesy of Taipei Dangdai

 

Gen de Art: Can you elaborate on the strategies behind Taipei Dangdai's focus this year?

Peckham: At Taipei Dangdai, we aim to be a neutral platform, allowing galleries the freedom to showcase diverse aspects of their programs. This year, I've noticed a trend towards artists engaging with traditional Asian methods in contemporary formats. For example, we've introduced a new sector called "Engage," highlighting artists like TANABE CHIKUUNSAI IV from Kyoto, known for bamboo weaving. Additionally, there's a noticeable interest in young artists incorporating traditional ink techniques into their work, signaling a resurgence of cultural heritage in modern art practices.

 

Gen de Art: What are your expectations for the future of the fair and its impact on local and international art markets?

Peckham: We're focusing on deepening our connections with galleries by engaging with them in their home cities, understanding their operations, and meeting artists in their studios. This hands-on approach helps us select galleries that truly resonate with our mission and promise a strong future. It's a labor-intensive process but vital for fostering meaningful relationships and ensuring the fair's continued relevance and success.

 

In terms of collectors, there's a noticeable return of seasoned buyers prepared to invest significantly. Balancing the presence of high-end galle=ries with emerging talents will be crucial as we move forward, ensuring the fair remains a dynamic and inclusive platform.

 

Taipei Dangdai


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