The Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Europe's largest centre for contemporary art, presents its first collaboration here with a Singapore institution - a major exhibition at the Lasalle College of the Arts.
Sous la lune, or Beneath The Moon, curated by Mr Khairuddin Hori, Palais de Tokyo's deputy director of artistic programming and a Lasalle alumnus, is an immersive show that focuses on cross- cultural exchanges through art.
The exhibition, which opens for public viewing on Saturday and runs till Feb 3, brings together the works of 11 artists from France and South-east Asia.
Palais de Tokyo has started focusing more on Asia in recent years, including South-east Asia. In March, it presented the exhibition Secret Archipelago in Paris, also curated by Mr Khairuddin and featuring new artworks by 37 South-east Asian artists. It was part of the Singapore in France Festival, a three-month season of events by Singapore artists in cities all over France.
VIEW IT / SOUS LA LUNE/BENEATH THE MOON
WHERE: Gallery 1, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, Lasalle College of the Arts
WHEN: Saturday to Feb 3, noon to 7pm (Tuesday to Sunday). Closed on Monday and public holidays
INFO: Call 6496-5000 or go to www.lasalle.edu.sg/live-at-lasalle/events/?events/beneath-the- moonsous-la-lune
BOOK IT / CURATOR'S TOUR
WHEN: Saturday, 2.30 to 4pm
Among the artists featured in Sous la lune is 26-year-old Filipino artist Lou Lim, who is making her international debut with sculptures that are literally cut out from her family home, questioning the boundary between private and public spaces. The artist, who is doing a residency at Palais de Tokyo, presents a new mixed-media installation - comprising Romanticising Only What I Know Most (2015), Comfort Room piece (2015) and Bed piece (2015) - which includes a chunk of her kitchen and her half-cut bed and mattress.
Myanmar artist Aung Ko's untitled site-specific work was being developed when The Straits Times visited Lasalle for this interview. Continuing with his focus on community partnership,the 35- year-old was working with people from the Myanmar community and students from Lasalle. They were using various tools to carve political slogans on a wooden bench. This was being torched in parts and watching the process of blackening was enough to invite reflection on history, slogans and their very erasure in contemporary times.
On the diverse strands in the show, Mr Khairuddin tells The Straits Times: "This is a show about France and South-east Asia. The title itself Beneath The Moon states more than the obvious. We are all beneath one moon, but we rarely get to meet."
The idea, he says, was to initiate a cross-cultural artistic dialogue and look at how artists use materials and respond to various issues in different parts of the world.
While the South-east Asian artists use materials many here are familiar with - such as lacquer, wood and floor tiles - while exploring themes close to home, the artists from France have complex works that use elements of science and technology.
An installation by French artist Marguerite Humeau, 29, for instance, investigates mortality and eternal life through an exploration of ancient Egypt. The work comprises Taweret (2014), Wadjet (King Cobra) (2014) and Cleopatra (2014). The jarring yellow walls of the installation are infused with the yellow venom of the deadly Black Mamba snake. Included in the piece is Humeau's reconstruction of the vocal organs and voice of Cleopatra through 3D digital technology. This can be heard in the rhythmic singing that is part of the multimedia piece.
Then there is Morocco-born, Paris-based artist Hicham Berrada's site-specific installations titled Jetlag (2014) and Mesk Ellil (2015). Using elements of science and technology, the 29-year-old artist evokes aromas of his home. Mesk Ellil releases the fragrance of jasmine in a darkened space. In doing so, it evokes nostalgic memories of the artist's own home.
Ms Bala Starr, director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, Lasalle's exhibition space, says such partnerships "stimulate artist-to-artist dialogue. They challenge preconceptions and present counterpoints, prompting us to take risks and leading to the development of new art and imaginative practices".
Mr Jean de Loisy, the president of Palais de Tokyo, says the Paris contemporary art centre has been deepening its commitment to South-east Asia for the last three years.
This exhibition, he says, is another step in that direction, one which "is an occasion to display the philosophical and plastic convergences that unite artists from the French scene with those from Asia".