SINGAPORE - In a contemporary art scene where mixed media, video installations and performances are common, the new exhibition at the Parkview Museum goes back to the basics.
Intriguing Uncertainties, which runs at the private museum till Jan 5, puts the spotlight on contemporary drawings and features two-dimensional, often monochrome works in charcoal, pencil, or ink. Drawings by 42 contemporary artists from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas are on display. Admission is free.
Dominating the 1,400-sq-m space are art pieces such as noted Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie's 7.2m-long Map Of Art And China After 1989: Theatre Of The World (2017). It mixes fantasy and politics by putting the spotlight on events from the birth of Communist China to the landmark Beijing Olympics and beyond.
Other works play differently with reality. Italian artist Serse's shadings of graphite on paper on aluminium create a photo-realistic depiction of sunlight on water in A Fior D'Acqua (2014). Hungarian artist Tibor iski Kocsis' Luna 7-12 December 1972 (2014-2015) is a charcoal rendition of lunar rocks that could easily be mistaken for scientific images from a moon mission.
Some striking works are smaller: American artist Allison Hawkins' coloured pen and ink studies are roughly 21cm by 30cm; while pieces in Italian artist Ugo Giletta's Face series are about 30cm by 20cm each.
Curator Lorand Hegyi says: "Drawing is an incredible artistic medium. Even a very small drawing can be monumental emotionally, but not monumental in execution."
This is the second of a series of themed exhibitions of contemporary art at the Parkview Museum. The first was The Artist's Voice, an exhibition of major artwork from starred names such as Marina Abramovic and Dennis Oppenheim, which was on display until March this year. It was also curated by Hegyi, a noted Hungarian art historian and critic who is also Parkview Museum's artistic director.
The museum was the brainchild of the late Mr George Wong, whose father founded the Parkview Group. Before his death last December, he told The Straits Times that he aimed to start a chain of private museums in the buildings owned by the group. The Singapore museum is the second after one opened in Beijing, China in 2014.
At least two other curated exhibitions have been programmed after Intriguing Uncertainties. The works on display include art from private collections as well as others on loan from artists and galleries.
Other notable names featured in Intriguing Uncertainties include the late American conceptual artist Dennis Oppenheim and Chilean artist Sandra Vasquez de la Horra, whose fantastical demons are rooted in mythical tradition.
The 51-year-old reads and researches extensively about Asian myths as well those of the Americas and Europe. She is struck by the fact that most cultures have the concept of a devil.
As a hyperactive child, she was often taken to church by an aunt who was convinced that the young girl was possessed. Today, television series such as Lucifer and American Gods have captured contemporary imaginations.
"I try to make a bridge between different cultures," she says of her drawings, during a one-week visit to Singapore earlier this month.
She likes the immediacy of drawing and describes her creations of graphite on wax-soaked paper as "mummifying the moment". "Maybe visually colours are more attractive but for me it's about the ideas, what I want to express," she says. "I like drawing because it's very immediate. You can go very easily to the subject that you want."
WHERE: Level 3, 600 North Bridge Road, Parkview Museum
WHEN: Until Jan 5 next year, Mondays to Saturdays, noon to 7pm.