A full spectrum of art for Singapore Art Week

SAW will feature works by more than 700 artists and curators from Singapore and around the world. PHOTOS: SCRACH MARCS, LASALLE COLLEGE OF THE ARTS, JOO CHOON LIN, SHUBIGI RAO

SINGAPORE – From art made using artificial intelligence and upcycled furniture, to immersive performances and neon creations, a full spectrum of artworks from across genres will light up Singapore Art Week (SAW) 2023, which opens on Friday.

SAW will feature works by more than 700 artists and curators from Singapore and around the world, with more than 130 programmes and exhibitions. The biggest draws are expected to be two art fairs with more than 180 art galleries participating. 

The inaugural Art SG has a target of 40,000 visitors to its fair.

Fair director Shuyin Yang says: “We have been actively working to reach out to visitors from overseas, especially across South-east Asia, and have travelled extensively across the region to host collector and press events to raise awareness of Art SG.”

The art fair S.E.A. Focus will feature more than 50 artists from 25 regional and international galleries. Project director of S.E.A. Focus and executive director of STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery Emi Eu says:  “We are working with Art SG to offer a more holistic experience to the art community in Singapore as well as patrons and collectors worldwide.”

Another first is a collaboration between SAW 2023 and People’s Association to engage with communities across the island. And the response has been positive. Ms Tan Swee Leng, director of the arts and culture division of the People’s Association, says: “We understand from the residents that they enjoyed the workshops as they were exposed to new art forms and the opportunity to co-create with their neighbours.”

The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) will also have special SAW events under its SAMily Funday and SAM Late Nights programmes. Dr Lim Chye Hong, head of education, access and programmes at SAM, says: “We hope to open new doors for all to enjoy contemporary art encounters.”

The Straits Times highlights some of the must-sees at this art extravaganza, which is returning in full force after two years.

1. Art SG

South-east Asia’s largest art fair, with over 160 art galleries, will take up more than 30,000 sq m of the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

Art SG will feature works by art-world luminaries, including Georg Baselitz, Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin and Futura.

Malaysian-British artist Mandy El-Sayegh, represented by Lehmann Maupin, will present work at Art SG that reflects on intertwining cultures of Asia. PHOTO: ABTIN ESHRAGHI

International gallery Lehmann Maupin will present works from three women artists, Mandy El-Sayegh, Tammy Nguyen and Lee Bul, whose works reflect the cultures of Asia.

Tech-savvy artist Jakes Elwes will present his video artwork called Zizi & Me – Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better) for Gazelli Art House. In an e-mail, he describes the work as “a deep-fake drag double act to challenge narratives surrounding artificial intelligence”.

A still from a single channel video from artist Jake Elwes’ Zizi & Me – Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better) (2020), which involved artificial intelligence technology. PHOTO: GAZELLI ART HOUSE

New artists such as Tae Kim, represented by Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, will be presented at a salon-style exhibition called New/Now. Art SG founding and lead partner UBS and organiser The Art Assembly will also present public art programmes of site-specific installations, a curated film sector, as well as talks.

Where: Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, 10 Bayfront Avenue
MRT: Bayfront
When: Jan 12 to 13, noon to 7pm; Jan 14, 11am to 7pm; Jan 15, 11am to 5pm
Admission: Tickets start at $30
Info: For tickets and programme information, go to artsg.com

2. Singapore Art Museum

Apart from public programmes that include tours, live music and art workshops, admission to the Singapore Biennale exhibition at Singapore Art Museum at Tanjong Pagar Distripark (SAM at TPD) will be free from Friday to Jan 15. On show will be more than 100 artworks by over 50 artists from around 20 countries. Of these artworks, there are 29 new commissions.

Artist Joo Choon Lin’s experiential artwork at Singapore Art Museum titled Dance In The Destruction Dance is part of the museum’s Singapore Art Week programme.   PHOTO: JOO CHOON LIN

Also part of SAW at SAM is artist Joo Choon Lin’s experiential work called Dance In The Destruction Dance. “The exhibition transforms into a staging space where the works are brought into being, activated, contorted and annihilated by the words spoken by the performers. Moreover, both the audience and the work itself take on the role of performers,” says the artist.

Where: Singapore Biennale, SAMily Funday and SAM Late Nights, Singapore Art Museum at Tanjong Pagar Distripark, 39 Keppel Road
When: Friday and Saturday, and Jan 13 to 15, from 1pm
MRT: Tanjong Pagar
Admission: Free from Friday to Jan 15
Info: For full programme listings, go to bit.ly/SAM-SAW2023

3. Artwalk Festival 

Katong-Joo Chiat and Little India will have four new murals by artists Laurie Maravilla, Mural Lingo, Mohammed Zulkarnaen Othman and Sophia Ong. These are part of the Artwalk 2023 arts festival that includes street performances, workshops and dinner theatre. It is jointly organised by Lasalle College of the Arts and the Singapore Tourism Board, with the support of the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association.

A dancer performing and leaving imprints on a mural in Liminal States by Lasalle College of the Arts diploma in dance students for Artwalk 2023, part of Singapore Art Week 2023. PHOTO: LASALLE COLLEGE OF THE ARTS

Curator Milenko Prvacki, a senior fellow at Lasalle, says: “Artwalk aims to tell the stories of our local heritage through multisensory art experiences to engage all of one’s senses”.

The festival will centre on the theme, Echo – how culture, heritage and traditions reverberate in all directions like sound waves. “The metaphor of an echo reminds us that our culture is in constant flux,” adds Prvacki.

Where: Various locations in Katong-Joo Chiat and Little India

When: Friday to Jan 15, various times

Info: For admissions details and programme listings, go to artwalkfest.sg

4. S.E.A. Focus

This year marks the 5th edition of S.E.A. Focus, the art fair that features South-east Asian contemporary art. It is an anchor event of SAW and is commissioned by the National Arts Council and led by STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery. 

Five galleries will participate for the first time. Regional artists featured include Rirkrit Tiravanija, Mit Jai Inn and Sawangwongse Yawnghwe. Singapore galleries include AC43 Gallery, Art Porters Gallery and 39+ Art Space.

Artist Keith Teo’s Extroverted Introvert (2022), an oil on canvas and wood at AC43 Gallery at S.E.A. Focus 2023, at Singapore Art Week 2023. PHOTO: AC43 GALLERY

S.E.A. Focus show partner Tezos will present a non-fungible token (NFT) showcase called Living System: An NFT Show. Curator Tulika Ahuja of art programming consultancy Mama Magnet says visitors “will experience how the six artists interpret shifting paradigms across technology, materials, mental space and time through visual and sound-based NFTs”. 

Where: Tanjong Pagar Distripark, 39 Keppel Road
When: Friday to Jan 15, 1 to 8pm daily
MRT: Tanjong Pagar
Admission: $10
Info: For tickets and programme listings, go to www.seafocus.sg

5. Aliwal Urban Art Festival 

Live graffiti painting, music and dance performances, and a pop-up artists’ market in Kampong Gelam are the highlights of the Aliwal Urban Art Festival, organised by Arts House Limited (AHL).

The festival will showcase Singapore’s street art, dance, music and urban youth culture, as well as the artist tenants at AHL.

Street dance duo ScRach MarcS will perform at Aliwal Urban Art Festival, which is part of Singapore Art Week 2023. PHOTO: SCRACH MARCS

Ms Sim Wan Hui, director of venue programmes at AHL, says “we invite audiences to go back to the roots of various urban art forms and learn about street art and culture”.

The visual artist and founder of RSCLS known as Zero will collaborate with Yogyakarta-based graffiti artist Tuyuloveme to refresh the facade of the side alley wall at Aliwal Arts Centre. Also participating in live graffiti painting are Has.J and Titan Aerosol Crew.

David Siow of Steady State Records will present a line-up of independent bands and artists including Astronauts, featuring Thai artist Lukpeach. Also performing are street dance duo ScRach MarcS.

Where: Aliwal Arts Centre, 28 Aliwal Street
MRT: Nicoll Highway
When: Jan 14, noon till late
Admission: Free
Info: For programme listings, go to str.sg/wyV3

6. SAW x PAssionArts

Singapore Art Week (SAW) 2023 is collaborating with People’s Association (PA) to present the first SAW x PAssionArts platform for artists and the community.

Artists and residents of Bukit Gombak working on the exhibition called Insect Inventorium for Singapore Art Week 2023. PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION

At Yew Tee Community Centre (CC), Forgotten Fragments is an interactive installation that invites audiences to reassemble three-dimensional jigsaw sculptures of lost places in Singapore. Insect Inventorium, an exhibition of insects documented and imagined by the community, will be held at Bukit Gombak Park.

At Radin Mas CC, an intergenerational community art project called Kuti Kuti? reimagines the old-school game as an interactive, life-size soft sculpture playground through co-creation. The installation called If Life Gives You Slime is the result of 30 families using slime to create dreamscapes at a community park in Bedok South.

Block Party: Our Neighbourhood Furniture Tetris is an installation inspired by the game of Tetris and comprises a sculpture made from second-hand furniture.

Where: Various locations
When: From Friday
Admission: Free
Info: For more information, go to artweek.sg

7. Pulp III: A Short Biography Of The Banished Book 

More than 240,000 visitors experienced artist Shubigi Rao’s creation, Pulp III: A Short Biography Of The Banished Book, at La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale) in 2022. Now Singaporeans can as well – for free – at the ArtScience Museum.

A film still from Talking Leaves (2022) by Shubigi Rao, which is part of her work at the ArtScience Museum called Pulp III: A Short Biography Of The Banished Book. PHOTO: SHUBIGI RAO

Rao’s Pulp III: A Short Biography Of The Banished Book is an installation that includes her film, Talking Leaves, and a presentation of her book, Pulp III: An Intimate Inventory Of The Banished Book, Volume III Of V (Pulp Vol. III). It marks the midpoint of Rao’s ongoing decade-long project Pulp, which explores the history of book destruction and its impact on the future of knowledge.

There are four daily screenings of Talking Leaves. Accompanying public programmes have also been included in the Singapore edition for the Singapore audience. 

Where: ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Avenue
When: Friday to Jan 24, 10am to 7pm daily
MRT: Bayfront
Admission: Free
Info: For programme listings, go to pulp-iii.com

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