Singapore Art Week: Noted artists to catch

GILBERT & GEORGE

Who: Gilbert Proesch, 71, and George Passmore, 73, have been working as one artist since they met at London's Saint Martins School of Art in 1967. They are best known for their large-scale serial photo prints which address social issues and conventions in art. Much of their art draws on life in London's East End, where they have resided for more than 40 years.

What: Their show, Utopian Pictures, from Tuesday to April 5, features 26 pictures that will make their world premiere here. They depict an amalgamation of statements and imagery from London's street signs and graffiti which conjure a raw picture of a world where life carries on even as authority and apostasy co-exist. In an interview with Life! in London, Gilbert explains: "London is utopia because there is an extraordinary amount of liberalism going on here. You can do whatever you want and nobody actually complains."

Where: Arndt, 9 Lock Road, Gillman Barracks, 03-21, 11am to 7pm (Tuesday to Saturday), 11am to 6pm (Sunday), closed on Monday. Admission is free.

The artists will sign the show catalogue at the Vernissage at Art Stage Singapore, Booth E13, Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Halls D, E and F, on Wednesday from 4 to 6pm.

They will speak at Lasalle College of the Arts (1 McNally Street, basement, The Singapore Airlines Theatre) on Jan 22 from 7 to 9.30pm. Admission is free, but registration is required at www.eventbrite.sg.

Huang Lijie


MANUEL OCAMPO

Who: Ocampo, 49, is known for his use of icons drawn from popular culture as well as East and West. His controversial works containing swastikas were banned from Documenta 1992, a major contemporary art event held every five years in Kassel, Germany.

He continues to stick with what he believes in. You often see swastikas re-emerging with crucifixes, pizza slices, liquor bottles and large dripping eyeballs in his works.

The Filipino artist has had major museum exhibitions in Spain, France and the United States. His international followers include prominent Miami- based art collectors Don and Mera Rubell, who are among the world's key art collectors.

What: The Devil Follows Me Day And Night, Because He Is Afraid To Be Alone is his solo exhibition from Jan 23 to Feb 22, featuring new works.

It explores the artist's pursuit to be critical of his art-making process and grapples with the motivation behind an artist's work.

He declares "that the age-old tradition of painting has become a laughing stock in the academia. Therefore, it is paramount for artists to be compelling and paintings to be stimulating".

Where: The Drawing Room, 5 Lock Road, Gillman Barracks, 01-06, 11am to 7pm (Tuesday to Saturday), 11am to 6pm (Sunday), closed on Monday and public holiday. Admission is free.

Ocampo will give a talk at the gallery on Jan 23 from 5 to 6pm. Admission is free, but seating is limited. E-mail info-sg@drawing roomgallery.com with the subject Artist Mentor to register.

Deepika Shetty


JU MING

Who: The renowned Taiwanese sculptor, 76, is famed for his poetic sculptures that are imbued with the essence of Chinese painting and calligraphy.

Trained as a woodcarver, Ju worked as a successful craftsman before pursuing his love for art full time, studying under Taiwanese sculptor Yang Yuyu, a pioneer of the modern art movement in Taiwan.

Ju's abstract sculptures range from wood to bronze and stainless steel, and they all bear strong, evocative outlines.

His extensive body of work includes two major series of sculptures, Taichi and Living World.

The Taichi Series is widely acclaimed for vividly capturing the strength and grace of the Chinese meditative exercise.

The Living World Series, on the other hand, comprises lively depictions of people of all ages and from all walks of life.

What: His Taichi Series Outdoor Exhibition runs here from Saturday to April 16 and features 15 monumental bronze sculptures.

The show, organised by home-grown iPreciation gallery, has the works installed near the Singapore Botanic Garden's Eco Lake, heightening the harmony between art and nature.Where: Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, from 5am to midnight. Admission is free.

The sculptures are installed near the gardens' Eco Lake, which is in the Bukit Timah section of the park, near its Bukit Timah Gate.

Huang Lijie


PARESH MAITY

Who: One of India's most decorated and commercially successful contemporary artists, Maity, 51, received the Padma Shri, one of the country's top civilian honours, last year. His art is in prestigious collections, including the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi.

Known for his vibrant palette which evokes everyday scenes and people encountered in India, he has had more than 100 solo and group exhibitions around the world.

What: See the range of his oeuvre at Art Stage Singapore as Gallery Sumukha presents some of his early works, including those made while he was still in art school.

The standout piece is a new installation brought in by Singapore's Linda Gallery. Titled Mystic Abode, it is made of 8,000 brass bells and weighs 2,500kg. The inspiration for it came during a trip to Switzerland in 1996.

Maity tells Life! in a telephone interview from New Delhi: "In the silence, I started listening to the sound of bells differently. Bells have always been part of my life. They are part of our rituals. At a deeper level, the sound of bells has a meditative quality to it."

It took him more than six months to finish what is one of his largest installations to date.

Where: Art Stage Singapore, Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Level B2, Halls D, E and F. Mystic Abode will be exhibited on Level 1 outside the fair.

Maity's other works can be seen at Gallery Sumukha, C-9.

Deepika Shetty


HIROSHI SENJU

Who: The Japanese master, 57, noted worldwide for his sublime waterfall and cliff images, has been among the top-selling artists at Art Stage Singapore. In 2013, his work Waterfall, using natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper, was bought by a local collector for US$450,000 (S$601,000).

Senju was the first Asian artist to receive an Honorable Mention Award at the 46th Venice Biennale in 1995. His work is in prominent museum collections, including that of The Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, Japan and Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

In Singapore, he has done notable large-scale public works at the OUB Centre and Tower 2 of One Raffles Place.

What: Sundaram Tagore Gallery presents three recent waterfall paintings at Art Stage Singapore as well as the artist's solo exhibition, Day Falls/Night Falls, at its gallery in Gillman Barracks from Saturday to March 8.

For this presentation, Senju has included two waterfalls that are painted with fluorescent pigments, a medium he first explored in 2007. These paintings - including an immense byobu (a multi-panel folding screen) - are black and white in daylight. When viewed under ultraviolet light, they are in electric blue. Where: Sundaram Tagore's booth at Art Stage Singapore, Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Level B2, Halls D, E and F.

Day Falls/Night Falls is at Sundaram Tagore Gallery, 5 Lock Road, Gillman Barracks, 01-05, open: 11am to 7pm (Tuesday to Saturday), 11am to 6pm (Sunday). Admission is free.

The artist will speak about his art practice at Art Stage Singapore on Jan 23 from 12.30 to 1.30pm.

Deepika Shetty


SUZANN VICTOR

Who: Singapore's only female artist to have shown at the prestigious Venice Biennale (2001), Victor, 55, is known for her skilful, sensitive use of material as visceral metaphors for ideas and discourses.

Her oeuvre includes performance, installation and sculpture, often presented in technically challenging forms, and examines social-cultural norms.

She also ran the seminal, cutting-edge arts company, 5th Passage Artists, in the 1990s.

What: Imprint: New Works By Suzann Victor, from Sunday to Feb 21, features paper and print works made during her residency last year at home-grown arts centre STPI, which specialises in print and paper-making.

Her installation of 12 swinging chandeliers, Contours Of A Rich Manoeuvre, will also be presented by Gajah Gallery at Art Stage Singapore. It was first commissioned in 2006 for the reopening of the National Museum of Singapore, where it still hangs.

Another work in the same series will be installed at the fair.

Where: STPI, 41 Robertson Quay, 10am to 7pm (Tuesday to Friday), 9am to 6pm (Saturday), closed on Sunday, by appointment on Monday. Admission is free.

There will be a free panel discussion between Victor, STPI's chief printer Eitaro Ogawa and the Singapore Art Museum's director Susie Lingham at STPI on Sunday at 2.30pm.

Huang Lijie