New Era of Luxury: Art in Flux

Photos courtesy of Ode to Art
10 Jan 2022

If the past two years have proven anything, it’s that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to enjoying luxurious pursuits like collecting art.

The pandemic birthed a new trend, which was playfully referred to online as “COVID collecting”. With the amount of time spent at home, people started to focus their attention on luxuries that served as meanwhile distractions, resulting in the rise of collecting art, among other things like rare plants or, perhaps, vintage Cartier timepieces.

Jazz Chong, owner and founder, Ode to Art

According to Jazz Chong, owner and founder of Ode to Art, one of Singapore’s most reputable art galleries, “Being ‘stuck at home’ did change a lot of our priorities. As we spent more time indoors, making our home reflect who we are became more important than ever. We saw a lot of homeowners in Singapore use this time as an opportunity to make their interiors a little more special, which resulted in collecting art.”

Here, Chong shares her expert opinion to give us a clearer vision of what this attitude shift means for the future of visual art consumption in Singapore. 

(Related: Industrial SAM)

Can you comment on the state of art in Singapore now?
While we are still redefining the “new normal” every day, we can’t help but feel privileged in Singapore because the government never stopped supporting the arts sector. Exhibitions are being held by museums and galleries alike, artists are performing, and movie theaters are open.

Moving online was a worldwide experience, and it is no surprise the popularity of NFTs has risen drastically in the last two years. It is still a relatively new practice, but seeing artists take on new territories is always exciting and I am looking forward to the development of this movement.

As we slowly ease our way out from Covid-19, and in-person events are slowly gearing up, are there any interesting trends arising from both artists and art collectors?
In-person events are something that we are all looking forward to, and the need for connection is felt on both sides: Artists have worked in isolation for almost two years, and are excited to share their works, while collectors always enjoy exchanging with artists, to give greater meaning to their collection.

Everyone may be more comfortable with navigating virtual events now, and we have learnt of the many advantages of digital tools. We may also see more mixed-model events develop, but nothing beats an in-person meeting and the unique connections that arise.

Can you give an overview on the general profile of the Ode to Art client today? What are they specifically looking for now?
We are lucky and privileged to be trusted by a diverse range of collectors, but I think they are all driven by the same passion for art, innovation, and a unique and creative perspective of the world. We do see younger collectors who are doing more research and are more used to buying online. The development of a “click-and-mortar” model becomes crucial to address the needs of these collectors.

Poodle by Lee Sangsoo

Any artists to keep an eye out for in 2022? Can you share some names and reasons that make their work compelling?
Sergi Cadenas is a Spanish artist who creates portraits that transform through optical illusions: You may see a child transform into their older self, or a famous figure into another. His works carry a very strong point of view, exploring apparent oppositions and the idea of complementarity and balance. The striking visual impact of his works is a conversation-starter. But beyond that, the moving and evolving aspect of the work brings constant new perspectives, and it is a piece collectors can regularly come back to, discovering new angles with every sight.

On a lighter note, the colorful animal sculptures by South Korean artist Lee Sangsoo have garnered a lot of attention on social media, and for good reason! His work is very minimal, and almost abstract in its creation process, and yet, the animals are instantly recognizable, and they come alive using colors. He is in line for several awards, and his work will surely receive more attention in 2022.

For those who are looking to start investing in art this year, what are some of your expert tips?
The first step is always research. I would suggest looking up the artist you like online, find out about their practice, and their other works. You can also visit virtual exhibitions, watch videos, read their interviews, and understand their influences. Through this, you will find a whole new world opening to you.

It is also important to understand why you are interested in collecting art. Are you looking for an investment, to create a collection to pass on to your family, to give your home a unique touch, to make your office a more auspicious or welcoming space? Your objective may influence the choice of artists you are looking into.