Dead skin collected for art

President's Young Talents exhibition featuring commissioned works by Singapore's most promising artists under the age of 35, opens at the Singapore Art Museum's Queen Street annex, SAM at 8Q, on Friday.
President's Young Talents exhibition featuring commissioned works by Singapore's most promising artists under the age of 35, opens at the Singapore Art Museum's Queen Street annex, SAM at 8Q, on Friday. PHOTOS: BRITA KOETZOLD, DESMOND FOO , BERITA HARIAN, KAR-WAI WESLEY LOH

This year's President Young Talents show presents cutting-edge works by multi-disciplinary artists

The eagerly anticipated President's Young Talents exhibition, featuring commissioned works by Singapore's most promising artists under the age of 35, opens at SAM at 8Q tomorrow.

The Singapore Art Museum's Queen Street annexe presents promising cutting-edge new commissions by multi-disciplinary artists Ezzam Rahman, 33, Loo Zihan, 31, Ong Kian Peng, 34, Bani Haykal, 30, and Ang Song Ming, 34.

Driven by different conceptual interests, each artist offers multi- layered approaches and represents various aspects of Singapore contemporary art, through works spanning the disciplines of performance, new media, sculpture and sound.

So, while Ezzam creates fragile, miniature flowers from his own dead skin and raises unpalatable questions about matters of the flesh in his work Here's Who I Am, I Am What You See, Loo uses 5,000 books from the museum's resource room in his installation titled Of Public Interest: The Singapore Art Museum Resource Room.

In making these materials accessible, he says he wants "to critically reflect on the role of the art museum as a centre for the dissemination and transmission of knowledge".

  • VIEW IT/PRESIDENT'S YOUNG TALENTS 2015 EXHIBITION

  • Where: SAM at 8Q, 8 Queen Street


    When: Tomorrow to March 27. Monday to Sunday, 10am to 7pm. Last admission at 6.15pm. Open till 9pm on Fridays


    Admission: Free for Singaporeans and permanent residents. For non-Singaporean visitors, $10 (adults), $5 (seniors above 60 with valid identity), $5 (students) and free for children under six years old


    Info: www.singaporeartmuseum.sg

The exhibition also shows how contemporary art in Singapore is evolving and how artists are increasingly taking on global issues in this inter-connected world.

Ong's evocative Too Far, Too Near installation is a grim reminder of climate change.

Haykal's multi-layered and uneven representation of a chess board in necropolis for those without sleep calls for deeper examination and makes the viewer question the various representations of power play.

Ang's interest in music and his unhurried approach to art continue in his beautiful installation titled Days. This includes a heart-warming video presentation of his parents carrying the guitar he had left behind in Singapore to Berlin, where he is now based.

Viewed collectively, the works reference the changes and the range of issues in the contemporary art landscape and how these are impacting art in Singapore. None of the works fall into any of the traditional art mediums. The presentation and points of reference and presentation are refreshing.

Each of the works has been developed under the guidance of mentors from the arts community, making this the only mentoring and commissioning exhibition here.

The award, which was inaugurated in 2001 to recognise contemporary art practices of emerging local artists, is open to Singaporean artists below the age of 35. One artist will be awarded a prize of $20,000. The announcement will be made at the award ceremony on Oct 21.

Says Dr Susie Lingham, director of Singapore Art Museum: "The diverse concepts and mediums presented in this exhibition reflect the depth and rigour of contemporary art by our young Singaporean artists.

"In the milestone year of Singapore's Golden Jubilee, the President's Young Talents exhibition recognises and celebrates the nation's ever-evolving spirit of artistic creation and innovation."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2015, with the headline 'Dead skin collected for art'. Print Edition | Subscribe