Singapore Art Museum opens its doors at Tanjong Pagar Distripark

Guest curator Tang Fu Kuen (left) explaining an art installation to Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth & Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong at the opening of the new Singapore Art Museum in Tanjong Pagar Distripark. PHOTO: MCCY

SINGAPORE - Singapore Art Museum (SAM) has opened its new space at Tanjong Pagar Distripark (TPD) in Keppel Road, marking more than just an extension of its premises in Bras Basah.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong referred to the new space as part of SAM's "disappearing museum concept, where you see a lot more of the works and a bit less of the walls".

Speaking at an opening ceremony on Thursday, Mr Tong added that with SAM as an anchor tenant of TPD, the area will become a new "arts and culture cluster".

At least three new tenants have opened recently at the distripark: art gallery 39+ Arts Space, art advisory Art Agenda, and art auction house 33 Auctions.

Mr Tong said SAM at TPD not only represents the development of visual arts in Singapore, but is also a significant milestone "for the presentation of art experiences in unexpected and everyday spaces".

Essentially a warehouse space, SAM at TPD spans 3,000 sq m on two floors - Levels 1 and 3. It will also be the new home to SAM's artist residency programme.

On the potential of the large galleries with high ceilings, Dr Eugene Tan, director of SAM, said: "This expansive space allows us to showcase large-scale works and installations - from experimental, multidisciplinary art to multi-sensorial family-friendly exhibitions."

"The artists are provoking us to think," he added.

One of the museum's inaugural highlights is an installation by Thailand-born and United States-based artist Korakrit Arunanondchai, titled A Machine Boosting Energy Into The Universe, which turns the gallery into a post-apocalyptic environment. Central to it is a video fantasy created by the artist with social and spiritual themes.

The distripark also plays host to several events that are part of Singapore Art Week (SAW), which runs this year from Jan 14 to 23.

On Level 5 of Blk 39 at TPD, four art collectives which participated in SAW's Open Call will present work individually.

S.E.A Focus, a major SAW art exhibition, features more than 150 artworks from 50 artists and 24 galleries from the region, with about 80 per cent of artworks said to be new.

Mr Tong, who is also Second Minister for Law, noted that the first edition of SAW in 2013 opened with only about 50 events, while this year's edition has more than 130 events. He lauded the SAW vision for its "activated, engaged and united visual arts ecosystem".

View it: Singapore Art Museum at Tanjong Pagar Distripark

Where: SAM at Tanjong Pagar Distripark, 39 Keppel Road
When: From Jan 14, 10am to 7pm daily
Admission: Free until Feb 14, after which it will be free for Singapore citizens and permanent residents, while a standard admission fee of $10 will apply for others.
Info: Singapore Art Museum's website

Note: This article has been updated for clarity

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