Affordable Art Fair Singapore 2023: Innovation in Fine Art

by | Nov 16, 2023 | Exhibition, Fine Art

The Affordable Art Fair 2023 in Singapore, held on the 10th to 12th November, saw more international galleries and artists showcasing fine art that gave local exhibitors a tough competition. Innovation and environmental sustainability were certainly in the air.

The conventional medium used in fine art such as oil, acrylic and watercolour is being outshone by the clever use of soil, tempered glass, wood and fabric. The result from this is, tactile art flat enough to fit into frames but takes a 3-dimensional form that draws the viewer in. Combining sculpture and painting simultaneously, tactile art invites both your eyes and your hands to interact with it. The experience was so amazing, had the art been an open portal, I would have walked right into it.

In terms of what’s trending, layering with natural or unwanted waste materials is IN. Using merely thick dollops of oil paint to build dimension is OUT … we get this could be a painstaking process that requires precise control, but oil paint is ultimately laden with hydrocarbons.

Artists should naturally progress towards incorporating ecological principles into fine art, making the greening of artistic expression the next vital venture in modern art. These days viewers are scrutinising everything with eco-conscious zeal. The world is moving towards conformity to environmental concerns that even the most liberated mind of the creative community cannot escape much longer.

So in this article, we present the top 3 winners from the Affordable Art Fair Singapore 2023 based on our own internal criteria, which are:

  1. Art that demonstrates innovation
  2. Thoughtful and creative use of colour combination
  3. Meaningful story behind the art or the process of making the art
  4. I simply approached the art with my eyes and mouth wide open.
Conversation by Seock, Young Ho

# 1 Winner

Conversation by Seock, Young Ho (South Korea)

162.2cm x 130.3cm, Soil, acrylic on canvas, 2023
Gallery With,

This mesmerising piece has a price tag of an apartment downpayment. You might be spellbound enough to part with the cash nevertheless. At 162.2cm by 130.3cm, the large size speaks for the price. However, the real value lies in the use of soil, acrylic paint and just 2 main colours on canvas by the artist to create an illusion of a cascading waterfall over a precipice. Where the 2 colours merge is a darker shade of both colours to show where the water loses contact with the land. To me, what’s missing is the explosive froth of a plunging waterfall, which is intentionally omitted so that another interpretation has a chance to take hold thus leading to a conversation.

Frangipani by Teena Raju
Seaside I by Teena Raju

# 2 Winner

Frangipani and Seaside I & II by Teena Raju (India)

Frangipani – 75cm x 65cm, Mixed Media, Tempered glass, 2023
Seaside 1 – 62cm x 52cm, Mixed Media, Tempered glass, 2023
Gnani Arts

There were more bright and colourful pieces on display than the ones I have posted for this article. However, I have chosen to write about these 2 more muted and almost monochrome pieces. This is because the colour variations and texture for these pieces are caused by tempered glass strategically placed on a pre-coloured background. Gaps amongst the glass landscape are either filled with mixed media paints or in the case of the Frangipani, twirled paper to represent flower petals. Crafting with tempered glass requires practice and coaching not just to learn the creative possibilities, but to also ensure safe handling. The artist pointed to a few cuts on her fingers left by the labour of love. Not only did she then intrigue me with an account of the artistic process. I was brimming with utter respect. To me, Teena Raju is not just an artist with a paint brush. She is a picture of an intrepid explorer and an adventurous spirit who braves the road less travelled, navigating the perils of broken glass to create something extraordinary.

Stroke by Kim Sunggun
Stroke by Kim Sunggun

# 3 Winner

The Stroke by Kim Sunggun (South Korea)

91cm x 73cm, Acrylic on canvas, 2023
Galerie GAIA,

If these top winners consist of art in blue, this is not intended. Yet, they happen to be blue. This one by Kim Sunggun is unmistakably and indisputably bright blue with what appears to be large white brush strokes. Simple? Yes. However, it is special because the white strokes are supremely elegant. Such a brightly contrasting colour pairing makes no room for mistakes. The brush strokes displayed an uncanny tidiness that contradicted the expected randomness of passionate artistry. Plus the white was just too bright and stark. What type of paint is that? On closer investigation, this was not a brush stroke but a carving. The artist covered the entire canvas with blue acrylic paint and then carved out the brush strokes to reveal the white underlying canvas. Both background and foreground achieved with one block colour. One might say this is a piece of fine art painting that epitomises efficiency, productivity and lean principles. Concepts that I have always wished could be applied in fine art but never thought it could be realised. The artist ingeniously unravels that there is hope in creating beauty with minimum materials and accomplishing more with just one fell stroke.


It is undeniable that South Korean fine art is a force to be reckoned with. Their colours and shapes are characteristically bold. Each one always different and I enjoy the jolting surprises they invoke. Isn’t art meant to be stimulating? An objective the South Korean’s are really good at achieving. I look forward to see more of them in Singapore at the next Affordable Art Fair and beyond.

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