ART IS FAIR: CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT ART

Seeing is believing. Thinking. Feeling. Art today is an intriguing spectrum of intellect, imagination, and emotion that sparks dialogues about life, existence, and our world. It is essentially a human experience.

ARTisFAIR was fashioned on this very notion, to challenge perceptions about art, while creating a new kind of appreciation. The biggest hybrid contemporary art fair in Malaysia aims to build a sustainable ecosystem of art and community, within a real global marketplace.

ARTisFAIR VOLUME 2 opens 4th Dec - 3rd Jan at Fahrenheit88, in Kuala Lumpur, ARTisFAIR showcases the canvas philosophy and visual poetry by various artists from Malaysia and Indonesia in wide-open interactive spaces. The creative realm spans over 2,000 artworks, from vibrant paintings to subversive sculptures and unique installations, in over 100,0000 square feet of gallery space.

Produced by “art outliers” who bring a very different dialogue to the experience, it’s all about doing something unique. Here, artists, emerging artists, the art and event public, interior buyers, and art collectors converge to create a spectacularly new dynamic—away from conventional presentations of art. Ultimately, it’s about appreciation, understanding, and the opportunity to own a piece of art. Time to explore ...

DATO' SRI BERNARD CHANDRAN

Co-creator of ARTisFAIR
Your trip from high fashion to contemporary art?

I’ve been collecting art since I was a teenager, from band posters to Japanese airbrush art. When I went to Europe at 18, I started to really cultivate my interest in art. Where else, but Paris, surrounded by museums and galleries? Art is about storytelling. It’s all from the same root—design, philosophy, ideas, technique—only in a different medium. Everything is an artform: a chair, making clothes, decorating a room, even how people wear clothes, how they walk. Art elevates me on every level, even spiritually. I’ve never struggled to understand it, as I have always respected art.

Idea behind the curation and presentation of ARTisFAIR?

It’s the French way of presenting, mixing high with low to exude personality. For the fair, I took on everything as an artform. I used the original crates and boxes to frame the art, mounting them on industrial broken walls, with plywood and hoarding. It’s raw, cool, and beautiful. It’s a big space but with a real thought process. It’s all about the spirit.

How do you cultivate your eye?

Be curious, understand. I remember visiting Leela Palace in Jaipur, one room had a low ceiling with a chandelier almost touching the table. This turned my head on perspective and proportion, which I always play with. It’s a practice, so keep on asking, seeing, doing. Don’t be afraid. Creativity doesn’t need money. The only thing we can’t afford is time.

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ANDREW YAP

Co-creator of ARTisFAIR
What sparked ARTisFAIR?

We had to start somewhere, first by making art affordable and accessible—the same reason why I started retailing books. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I was at an art fair in Surabaya in 2016, where everything was creative and affordable. Another one in Jakarta 2018, when it hit me that I wanted to bring Indonesian art out of Indonesia. I had the blueprint ready back then, as we were seriously thinking about it. The ideas were there.

Why Indonesian art, specifically?

I never think about the origins of art. Artists are artists. Just like how we are multiracial; we all breathe the same air. It’s a borderless world now. When you go online, information is everywhere, pictures from everyone; there is no difference between Malaysia and Indonesia. But we get excited when we see Indonesian art as there are different subject matters when they paint. Artists paint what they see. We don’t see what they see. We wouldn’t never know that viewpoint of Indonesia but through the eyes of an Indonesian. It’s a breath of fresh air.

Where did your interest in art start?

It’s a journey everyone in life should go through. I wished mine started earlier through art appreciation and education in school. So I started a little late in life, only about 15 years ago, with tourist art (hahaha)...

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NICHOLAS SIAU

Co-creator of ARTisFAIR
How did you get roped into ARTisFAIR?

Bernard and Andrew walked into my pop-up store [PAPU] one of those days, when I actually had it open before 12pm. What I had on display was “floor to ceiling” on every single façade in my store. They asked if I could scale it up, and I thought, easy. Little did I know …

What is art to you?

Considering I’m only 27, I understood art pretty late, maybe five years ago max. And when it did, the buildings, roads, cars, phones, poems, essays all that became art for me after truly understanding and accepting art. So art means everything to me, it’s all around me, it’s in the things I do and say. I was also a rapper, and started meeting artists while working on my album. That’s when I started collecting art, and opening my art store to connect emerging artists with emerging collectors.

Why buy art?

Oh man, before I owned a store, I curated a show called LIMBO – neither here nor there – and the concept was anonymous artwork by a wide range of artists in terms of how big or small their brands were; no size constraints, not limited by subject matter. I wanted people to buy it because they wanted it, not for any other reason. Not cause it was a great deal, only...

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