SINGAPORE – In a first for the local art scene, Cuturi Gallery’s c/discoveries initiative will help support home-grown artists. For every artwork sold through this non-profit initiative, 80% of proceeds are channelled to the artist, while the remaining 20% goes towards funding future artists of the programme.
This 80/20 gallery formula is an industry-first and aligned with the gallery’s vision to be a next-generation gallery.
The c/discoveries showings offer an accessible starting point for collectors to discover and purchase high-quality works by fresh, promising talent at affordable prices.
Kevin Cuturi, the owner of Cuturi Gallery at Pacific Plaza on Scotts Road, said, “Before opening an art gallery, I was someone who enjoyed art and now being the gallerist, I have visibility of the insides of a gallery and the problems a gallery faces. With Cuturi Gallery, I wanted to have a different approach, a more open-minded approach, and to be more accessible.”
Kevin Troyano Cuturi, founder of Cuturi Gallery.
Young local painters Yunita Rebekah and Aisha Rosli, who are currently being mentored through c/discoveries, debuted their works in the gallery exhibition entitled Stages and Mirrors, which opened on 18 January and runs till 23 February. All five works in the exhibition were purchased by the third day.
Collecting art is an expensive hobby probably suited more for the rich. Art galleries often feel intimidating and you can be a bundle of nerves trying to walk into one, especially for young people.
On cultivating a younger generation of collectors and to make art more accessible to younger people, Cuturi said, “Ever since I have been in Singapore and opening the gallery, I have seen that the interest from the younger generation is there. My mission with c/discoveries is to merge the art appreciation and the patronage – the purchase of the artwork – together. I want to make that shift easy by being able to promote very high quality art from young artists at a price where the future generation is not scared to buy at because the price can be an intimidating factor. I feel that this is the right time to incorporate the programme now.”
The prices of the artworks in the Stages and Mirrors exhibition ranged from S$500 to S$1,500 while those by the more famous French contemporary artist Lionel Sabatté, also on display, range from S$3,800 to S$25,600.
Kevin Cuturi is originally from Spain and previously worked in Amazon before moving into the art space. We asked him about his transition from a tech guy to a gallery owner.
“Today, I still use the Amazon language. Amazon is a very customer-obsessed company, and I use a lot of the “customer obsession” terms. Over here, the gallery is not the main player. We have two customers – the artist and the crowd that appreciates and purchases the art,” said Cuturi, who has made Singapore his home for the last few years. “Sometimes we forget that the artist doesn’t work for us (the gallery). He is almost a client of us. So I like to say that we sit in the middle, the same way that Amazon sits between the end customer and also the supplier who would provide the actual products to sell.”
Running a gallery is no mean feat. There are high operating costs and there is major decision-making when it comes to purchasing a piece of art.
On how he eventually decides to purchase a piece of art, Cuturi said, “When buying anything under $20,000, I think from a visual aspect. Do I like it? And also from an intellectual aspect, does it talk to me? When that connection happens, I do an investigation of the value of the artwork.”
Lionel Sabatté with his sculpture "Licorne en thé - Thé sur structure métallique", made from dried tea leaves.