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Top galleries take a chance on Taipei Dangdai

With Taiwan tipped as Asia's rising art market power, galleries such as Gagosian and David Zwirner join new fair next January

Magnus Renfrew, the director of Taipei Dangdai © Taipei Dangdai

Top-tier Western dealers such as Gagosian Gallery, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Sadie Coles HQ, David Zwirner and White Cube are taking a chance on the inaugural Taipei Dangdai fair which launches in Taiwan next January (Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, 18-20 January).

The new fair, founded by Magnus Renfrew—the founding director of ArtHK, Art Basel in Hong Kong’s predecessor—is due to include 90 galleries, around 20% of which have spaces in Taiwan such as Michael Ku Gallery and TKG+. Taipei Dangdai is supported by UBS investment bank, which also sponsors Art Basel.

The main Galleries sector includes 73 galleries from 42 cities (64 run spaces in Asia). The roster also includes Esther Schipper of Berlin, Galleria Continua of San Gimignano, neugerriemschneider of Berlin, and New York’s Sean Kelly Gallery.

Coinciding with the fair, Kelly will also launch a new project space in Taipei, headed by Gladys Lin, who previously worked for Sakshi Gallery and as an independent consultant. "We are primarily participating because of Magnus Renfrew, who has an impeccable track record in this regard having organised and established the ArtHK fair initially and who has deep roots in the area," Kelly says. He adds: "The collector base in Taiwan is probably the most established, discrete and serious in the region. There are well established collectors there and serious wealth."

The Young Galleries sector at Taipei Dangdai, for dealers that have been operating for less than eight years, includes four participants (Jakarta’s ROH Projects, and Tokyo-based Yutaka Kikutake Gallery, among them).

A Solos section, now ubiquitous at art fairs worldwide, includes 13 single artist stands presented by galleries such as Soka Art of Taipei and Amanda Wei Gallery of Hong Kong. The fair organisers are also trying out a new concept, asking each of the 90 galleries to present one work priced below $8,000 in a group showcase at the fair’s Salon sector which is targeted at emerging collectors. Details of a parallel multi-disciplinary programme of events entitled the Ideas Programme are yet to be announced.

Renfrew says in a statement: “The calibre of international galleries that have been selected for the inaugural edition of Taipei Dangdai is a testament to the vitality and potential of the art scene in Taipei, in addition to the increasing importance of the wider art market in Asia.” He told us earlier this year that the fair is keen “to build a collector base at every level and across Taiwan.”

Taiwan is already home to a host of local fairs including Asia’s oldest contemporary art fair, Art Taipei, which takes place 26 to 29 October.