8 must-sees as local galleries pull out all the stops for Singapore Art Week


SINGAPORE – Local art galleries will be showcasing the works of their top artists for Singapore Art Week (SAW) 2023 at venues across the island.

Ms Audrey Yeo, co-founder of Yeo Workshop at art enclave Gillman Barracks, says: “Visitors can expect to see who the galleries have put forward as their stars from their artist-roster book.”

But with more than 180 art events happening during SAW, which ends on Sunday, it will be impossible for anyone to see them all. Still, Ms Chong See Ming will try.

As of Tuesday, the 50-year-old housewife from Malaysia has visited nine events. Her favourite so far is Table Manners at Appetite in Amoy Street, which is about the intersections of the arts, culture and food networks. “I am so amazed by the art scene here,” she says.

Here are highlights at SAW that art lovers should not miss.

  • For full events and programme listings, go to artweek.sg

For The House; Against The House

Located at Tanglin Shopping Centre, which is slated for redevelopment, For The House; Against The House is a debate-oriented series presenting two exhibitions called The Museum Is Dead and Desire Is Dead, conceptualised by curators John Tung and Adele Tan respectively. 

The exhibition includes a new commission of 32 papier-mache sculptures by artist Mit Jai Inn from a series called Marking Matters (2022). The sculptures reference bai sema – boundary stones used in Thai Buddhist temples. These can be “purchased” only through buyers volunteering hours at a charity or non-profit organisation.

Where: 01-17 Tanglin Shopping Centre, 19 Tanglin Road When: Till Sunday, 11am to 7pm; Friday, 11am to 9pm Admission: Free Info: For info on tours and panel discussions, go to https://str.sg/wFGt

In Studio: 51 Jalan Pemimpin

Artist Sai (with outstretched hands) talking about his artworks at his studio in Jalan Pemimpin. ST PHOTO: ARTHUR SIM

Artist Chen Sai Hua Kuan, also known as Sai, is holding an exhibition and open studio in his industrial space in Jalan Pemimpin. He describes himself as “maker” and creates many of his artworks from ready-made objects, like the faucets used in his new series of work called Together.

This SAW event gives a fascinating insight into an artist’s milieu, cluttered with sketches, models, reference books and works that would not be seen by the public otherwise.

Where: Comma Space, 04-02, 51 Jalan Pemimpin When: Till Jan 29, weekends, 1 to 6pm; weekdays, e-mail art.commaspace@gmail.com to make an appointment Admission: Free Info: comma-space.com

Liu Kuo-sung: Experimentation As Method

Artist Liu Kuo-sung’s Moon Walk (1969), ink and acrylic with collage on paper, at the National Gallery Singapore. PHOTO: PRIVATE COLLECTION

The National Gallery Singapore is staging a major retrospective of Chinese artist Liu Kuo-sung’s work, which spans seven decades. Known for abandoning Chinese painting conventions, the 91-year-old artist was a founding member of the Fifth Moon Group – a group of artists who initiated a modern art movement in Taiwan between the 1950s and 1970s. 

The exhibition includes works donated to the museum by the artist. There will be 60 ink works and 150 archival materials from Liu’s personal collection on display.

Where: Level 4 Gallery and Wu Guanzhong Gallery, National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road When: Friday to Nov 26, 10am to 7pm daily Admission: Free for Singaporeans and permanent residents Info: https://str.sg/wFNo

Installation view of Sarah Choo Jing’s Dancing Without Touching (2023), featuring James Tan Kian Tat on the video monitor at Yeo Workshop. PHOTO: SAM CHIN

Sarah Choo Jing: Dancing Without Touching

Artist Sarah Choo Jing creates a time warp at Yeo Workshop where a Chinese opera performer, singer, cabaret girl, boxer and jester relive the bygone age of amusement parks. This immersive installation comprises a video sculpture, digital prints and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of the performers.

Choo’s practice involves image-making and photography that blur the boundaries between history and speculative fiction. For this installation, she presents her subjects in constructed situations, allowing them to interpret, respond and perform within the site.

Where: Yeo Workshop, 01-25 Gillman Barracks, 47 Malan Road When: Till March 12, Tuesdays to Saturdays, 11am to 7pm; closed on Sundays, Mondays and public holidays Admission: Free Info: yeoworkshop.com

The Pierre Lorinet Collection

Singapore-based art collector Pierre Lorinet, together with Art Outreach Singapore, is presenting an exhibition called The Pierre Lorinet Collection: From Western Minimalism To Asian Political Abstraction at Gillman Barracks.

It features works by renowned artists including Josef Albers, Sol LeWitt, Ai Weiwei and Nam June Paik. The exhibition represents part of a carefully themed private art collection that would normally not be seen by the public.

Ms Mae Anderson, chairman of Art Outreach, says: “Collector shows like this bridge private interest and public purpose by affording rare access to seminal artworks, contributing positively to the cultural life of our city.”

Where: 02-21 Gillman Barracks, 9 Lock Road When: Till Jan 29, 11am to 7pm daily Info: artoutreachsingapore.org

:D Solo exhibition by indieguerillas

Indonesian artists Santi Ariestyowanti and Dyatmiko Bawono, who are collectively known as indieguerillas, want to express joy through their work. For :D Solo exhibition at Mizuma Gallery, they reference wayang kulit (puppet-shadow play). In particular, the popular character Cakil is invoked because even in the face of adversity, “he is always happy”, say indieguerillas.

There are paintings, wall installations and sculptures in this exhibition, all with an aesthetic inspired by Japanese anime and manga.

Where: Mizuma Gallery, 01-34 Gillman Barracks, 22 Lock Road When: Friday to Feb 19, Tuesdays to Saturdays, 11am to 7pm; Sundays, 11am to 6pm; closed on Mondays and public holidays Info: mizuma.sg

Shape Of Land

Artist Khairulddin Wahab’s interest in natural history and its development in South-east Asia informs his art practice. For his solo exhibition at Cuturi Gallery called Shape Of Land, he unpacks colonialist baggage left by geographers, travellers, naturalists and artists to create landscapes that are his own.

While his paintings reference archival materials, he also creates visual metaphors that are combined with found images from his daily life that address his disenchantment with prevailing narratives.

Where: Cuturi Gallery, 61 Aliwal Street When: Till Jan 29, Tuesdays to Saturdays, noon to 7pm; Sundays, noon to 6pm; closed on Mondays and public holidays Info: cuturigallery.com

Neti, Neti

Artist Jane Lee will present her first sculptural solo exhibition in Singapore called Neti, Neti at Gajah Gallery in a collaboration with Yogya Art Lab. The 14 new works on show build on the artist’s ongoing attempts to distil the essence of painting.

The works reference iconic paintings in art history, but invert their materials, proportions and dimensions. In one work, the chair in Vincent van Gogh’s Chair (1888) breaks out of the painting frame to become a three-dimensional entity. The humour in these new works may seem like a departure from the artist’s more angst-ridden action paintings, but she says: “I always have fun with my work.”

Where: Gajah Gallery Singapore, 03-04 Tanjong Pagar Distripark, 39 Keppel Road When: Till Jan 29, weekdays, 11am to 7pm; weekends and public holidays, noon to 6pm Info: gajahgallery.com

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