With its second anniversary coming up on Friday, things are looking up at Gillman Barracks.
Local gallery Yavuz Fine Art opens this week, bringing the number of galleries there to 17.
When the barracks opened in September 2012, there were concerns about whether anyone beyond serious art collectors and those passionate about the arts would make their way to the former British Army quarters.
With galleries offering more joint openings and presenting strongly curated shows, there are lots more on offer there.
A big gamechanger has been the Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore, a non-profit exhibition and research venue run by Nanyang Technological University, which has been holding talks, artist residencies and exhibitions.
If you still have not made it to the art cluster, Friday is a good time to start. Life! picks some must-see exhibitions.
DANIEL CROOKS: HAMILTON’S PATH
Where: Future Perfect, 47 Malan Road, 01-22
What: For Melbourne-based artist Crooks, the frantic pace of contemporary life offers new ways of looking at things. He is drawn to diametrically opposed subjects, from high-speed trains to solitary drifters, amid the urban chaos.
For his first solo in Asia, he presents three videos which take his Time Slice series, begun in 1999, in a fascinating new direction. The 41-year-old artist’s departure point is the motif of the path. He says that in many Asian cultures, the path holds special significance as a vehicle for pilgrimage, meditation and enlightenment.
In 2011, he captivated Singaporean audiences with his piece Static No. 12 (Seek Stillness In Movement), a study of an elderly taiji practitioner in a Shanghai park. He received the APB Foundation Signature Art Prize, Juror’s Choice Award, for this piece. He received the digital/video prize at the inaugural Prudential Eye Awards earlier this year. His works are in several private, public and museum collections including the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.
Where: Silverlens Gallery, 47 Malan Road, 01-25
What: This group exhibition of works by South-east Asian artists, curated by artist and writer Jason Wee, explores ways in which creative re-use produces unexpected meanings.
It looks specifically at two processes – the recollection of one sensation (sound) that is provoked by an experience of a different sensation (sight), and the transformation of found material into new physical form.
These dynamic material transformations are often seen in contemporary art practices across the world. Artists in this show work with varied media including sound, performance, moving image, photography and installation. They are Singapore’s Bani Haykal, 29, Vanessa Ban, 25, Vincent Leong, 34, Thailand’s Nipan Oranniwesna, 52, and Indonesia’s Prilla Tania, 35.
Haykal will be part of an artist-in-residence programme at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore next year. Oranniwesna has exhibited in the Thai Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007) and Tania is a featured artist in the upcoming fifth Fukuoka Triennale, Ban has been involved in shows at the London Design Festival and Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore while Leong’s work was part of the No Country exhibition. This was an initiative by the Guggenheim Museum in New York to widen its Western-centric collection by featuring art from this part of the world.
CRISTIANO PINTALDI – SUSPENDED ANIMATIONS
Where: Partners & Mucciaccia, 6 Lock Road, 02-10
What: Artist Cristiano Pintaldi, who is based in Rome, invented a new pictorial approach in the 1990s.
He recreated on canvas the same scientific mechanism of the three colours – red, green and blue – from which electronic images were born.
Using pixels, he creates paintings which, on close examination, look almost like a TV colour bar from the past. Once you move away from the paintings, forms ranging from busy street scenes to airplanes in flight and lightning strikes emerge. The chromatic grid makes it hard for the viewer to look away.
Pintaldi presented his art at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011. This is his first solo in South-east Asia.
HEINZ MACK SOLO
Where: Arndt, 9 Lock Road, 03-21
What: German gallerist Matthias Arndt opens his enlarged gallery space in Gillman Barracks with a solo by German artist Heinz Mack.
This is the first solo in South-east Asia by the artist, one of the most significant figures in German art and a founding member of the Zero group. The 83-year-old was among a group of artists who represented Germany at the 35th Venice Biennale in 1970.
Mack and the Zero group are considered one of the key movements in post-war European art. Recent years have seen numerous retrospective exhibitions on his art and his contributions. The exhibition at Arndt is a must-see as it features works from various key periods of Mack’s artistic journey, from early works to recent ones. The show presents works in various media ranging from paintings, reliefs, sculpture, kinetic installations and works on paper, reflecting his multi-faceted artistic life. His art is in more than 100 public collections and has been shown in almost 300 group and solo shows. In 2011, Germany honoured him with the Grand Order of Merit with Star for his contributions to the art world.
THE REIGN OF QUANTITY BY PETER PERI
Where: Pearl Lam Galleries, 9 Lock Road, 03-22
What: This is the first solo exhibition in Asia by British artist Peter Peri. He has created a new series of large-scale paintings for it. The paintings, an extension of his past, are built up by a dense monochrome screen of horizontal lines, bordered by a single black vertical strip. He continues with his presentation of what have been called “sparse pictorial fields”. The delicate and refined use of lines and arcs lends a great degree of abstraction to his work. The 43-year-old artist is known for his drawings, paintings and sculptures. Each of these explore the tensions between line and volume. His works are in the permanent collections of museums such as the Tate Modern and Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
There is an artist walkthrough on Sept 28 at 3pm.
ANNIE LEIBOVITZ SOLO
Where: Sundaram Tagore Gallery, 5 Lock Road, 01-05
What: This exhibition presents images taken by famous photographer Annie Leibovitz, known for her iconic portraits of public figures, film and rock stars, and politicians. This adds to her show at the Marina Bay Sands’ ArtScience Museum. This exhibitions comprises 38 large-scale prints in colour and black and white from her 40-year career. It is a showcase of some of her most enduring work. There are images of actress Angelina Jolie in a bathtub and of Queen Elizabeth II, which became the subject of a controversy in 2007 after the BBC aired a clip showing a photographer suggesting that she remove her crown. The BBC later apologised for implying that the Queen had walked out on the shoot. American film director and artist Julian Schnabel is captured in paint-splattered striped pyjamas napping on a couch, while the late pop artist Andy Warhol is framed with a camera in his hand. Leibovitz’s works are in collections worldwide and she has exhibited extensively at museums and galleries.
TORU KUWAKUBO: ONE WONDERFUL DAY WHICH CANNOT BE FORGOTTEN
Where: Tomio Koyama Gallery Singapore, 47 Malan Road, 01-26
What: Through his paintings, Kuwakubo wants to question the very nature of artistic practice. Inspired by the work of the Impressionists, his paintings depict everyday objects set within vibrant seascapes.
He uses thick layers of richly coloured pigments that lend an almost theatrical touch to his canvases. The 35-year-old artist graduated from Tama Art University in 2002. He has exhibited widely and his work is now in major collections in Japan including the Toyota Art Collection as well as the Takamatsu City Museum of Art. There is an artist talk on Sept 27 at 3pm.
Admission to all exhibitions is free. Closest MRT is Labrador. Gallery opening hours: noon to 7pm (Tuesday to Friday), 11am to 7pm (Saturday). 11am to 6pm (Sunday), closed on Monday & public holiday