Made-in-Singapore art graces walls of Museum of Modern Art in New York

The eight-panel piece, priced at US$160,000 (S$206,440), comprises 160 prints on sandpaper that incorporate 20 different spices and herbs common to Singapore. -- PHOTO: HAEGUE YANG/STPI
The eight-panel piece, priced at US$160,000 (S$206,440), comprises 160 prints on sandpaper that incorporate 20 different spices and herbs common to Singapore. -- PHOTO: HAEGUE YANG/STPI

Home-grown arts space STPI, which promotes contemporary art in paper and print, had an "Oscar moment" on Wednesday.

A work by well-known Korean artist Haegue Yang, produced during her residency at the STPI workshop in 2012 and last year, went up in the lobby of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

The eight-panel piece, priced at US$160,000 (S$206,440), comprises 160 prints on sandpaper that incorporate 20 different spices and herbs common to Singapore, including white pepper, garam masala and star anise.

STPI director Emi Eu, 45, says: "As my colleague said, it's like our Oscar moment. The best thing about it, besides the fact that it's great recognition for the artist, is that the work, which was made in Singapore, will be viewed by everyone that enters the museum.

"It's an amazing and priceless platform for STPI and for Singapore to show the world that Singapore is on its way to making significant contributions to the international contemporary arts landscape."

MoMA has previously acquired works produced by artists during their residency at STPI, including four works by Chinese artist Lin Tianmiao, one of which was presented at the New York museum in 2007 in the group show, Multiplex: Directions In Art, 1970 To Now.

The work by Yang, however, is the largest acquisition by MoMA from STPI, in terms of both scale and price says Ms Eu.

The museum could not be reached by press time for comments.

The collaboration between Yang and STPI came about after Ms Eu, who has been following Yang's practice since 2008, invited the artist to be an artist-in-residence at its workshop in 2010. Yang, who was busy with major museum shows, eventually took up residency in 2012. Her four-week-long residency culminated in a solo show last October, titled Honesty Printed On Modesty, at the STPI gallery in Robertson Quay.

Ms Eu says she hopes that with this coup, "it will become easier for STPI to attract artists to come and work with us".