New swinging chandeliers for museum

ST VIDEO: ANKITA VARMA

A new installation by local artist Suzann Victor replaces her previous artwork at the National Museum of Singapore

Starting today, visitors to the National Museum can behold the glittering spectacle that is Wings Of A Rich Manoeuvre - an interactive kinetic artwork that is the museum's latest permanent art installation.

Created by Singaporean artist Suzann Victor using more than 14,000 Swarovski crystals, the installation is an evolution of her previous artwork, Contours Of A Rich Manoeuvre - better known to visitors as the eight red swinging chandeliers linking the glass passage and the glass atrium of the National Museum of Singapore.

Commissioned in 2006, the original installation was up for a decade before it was removed earlier this year to make way for the new rendition.

In creating her new installation, Victor worked with Swarovski and her 11-person art team to produce the eight electro-polished stainless-steel chandeliers - featuring about 1,400 strands of crystals that each weigh 35g.

Propelled by 12 magnets, the chandeliers weave through eight 15-minute swinging patterns, reminiscent of the movements of a soaring dragon or flocks of mythical creatures in flight.

For the 57-year-old artist, who was commissioned by the National Museum in 2014 to create the installation, it has been a challenging two years - including one spent entirely on research and development for the piece.

Wings Of A Rich Manoeuvre comprises more than 14,000 Swarovski crystals.
Singaporean artist Suzann Victor. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

"Air resistance proved to be a big challenge and it took a lot of work to calibrate the weight of each strand with the physics of the movements," she says.

"Still, to be able to use crystals as a medium and see the play of sunlight as the pieces move has been rewarding. It was an honour to return to the National Museum and re-engage with the space in a different way."

For Ms Angelita Teo, director of the National Museum of Singapore, the new commission was a fitting evolution of the well-loved original and an apt addition, given the museum's revamp last year.

She said of the installation: "I think Suzann outdid herself with the way she reconceptualised her artwork in a way that fits the architecture and history of the building.

"The crystals glisten in the glass atrium and it has added value to a public space that Singaporeans can come to and enjoy."

The chandeliers, which link the museum's 19th-century colonial building to the more contemporary glass wing, will be in motion from 10am to 7pm daily.

For an hour starting at 6pm, visitors can also interact with the artwork by manipulating coloured lights to create their own aerial light performances.

For videos of the work and the making of the installation, go to http://str.sg/4Qma

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2016, with the headline 'New swinging chandeliers for museum'. Print Edition | Subscribe