Indonesia is on the way to becoming one of the world’s top five countries by GDP by 2030 as predicted in a study commissioned by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Meanwhile, Jakarta is blooming as a hotspot for investment in property, technology, finance, education, and industry. It’s also becoming known as a hub for contemporary art, all of which piqued art entrepreneur Lorenzo Rudolf ’s interest in initiating Art Stage Jakarta, which will be held at the Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel from August 5-7. Here, we talk to the visionary art curator on this art event, which will kick off with a patrons’ dinner.
Indonesia Tatler: Tell us about the origins of the Art Stage.
Lorenzo Rudolf: It’s been a long journey—the result of the development of my entire career. I have been in this business since the early 1990s, all the time working for someone else. Then, in 2011, I decided to create, with my wife, a business of my own. For years, Singapore had been asking me to do something and so Art Stage Singapore was born.
IT: You mentioned development. In what regard?
LR: In the 1990s, art fairs metamorphosed into a new shape. The entire concept, image, and soul of an art fair changed. They were no longer just trade fairs for art—they became big art “happenings”; social events attended by collectors and buyers from all over the world. The reputation for showing high-quality works and offering the most important art from around the world attracted leading galleries and collectors. It is basically branding for an art fair; if you participate in an art fair like Art Basel, you are one of the best!
IT: Are the concepts transferable and applicable in Asia?
LR: Compared with America and Europe, Asia is totally different. Asia is much more segmented in a lot of things. There are hundreds of art experts in China, Japan and Indonesia, but their expertise is only on the art of their own countries. I have the advantage of knowing more about the overall art scene in Asia, and I can set up international art fairs here.
IT: What are the prerequisites?
LR: The most ideal locations are the financial centres, like Hong Kong and Singapore—art fairs today are just like a Roman forum; there’s a market as well as encounters and debates. Those two cities are multi-cultural, too.
IT: Is Jakarta ready for an international art fair?
LR: You never know until you’ve done it! Jakarta has all the basics—a booming metropolis where many art collectors live, as well as artists with international reputations; the infrastructure and multicultural society really support artists from all fields.
Text by Olly G. Santosa; Photography by Donny A. Leonardi