Hour At The Museum: Navigating Nameless Seas at Singapore Art Musuem

Adrift (2013)

Odyssey: Navigating Nameless Seas at the Singapore Art Museum is an exploration of the ocean through the eyes of contemporary artists. Artworks by 11 artists from Asia and Australia provide an immersive and innovative look at how life comes about and how identities are shaped.

Adrift (2013)
By Wyn Lyn Tan, single-channel video with sound, 1h 31m

The Singapore artist recorded this time-lapse video throughout her 16-day journey around the Arctic Circle, capturing the dazzling Arctic landscape awash in colour. Shot from the porthole of her cabin, the video carries the sound of the ship's engine mingling with the lapping of the ocean waves.

Algahest (2012)
By Pratchaya Phinthong, acrylic on canvas, moveable acrylic window enclosing sand, water and air, 360x500cm (canvas), 75x120cm (moveable window)

The presence of liquid water on Kepler-22b - an extrasolar planet about 600 light years away from Earth - marks it as a potential candidate for human habitation in the future. The artist from Thailand taps on this possibility, depicting the planet through a moveable window filled with water, earth and air - the basic building blocks of life.

Breathing Together (2016)
By Entang Wiharso, acrylic, car paint and oil on canvas, resin, aluminium, plants, insects, shells, coral, plastic, thread, fabric, light bulbs and electric cable, 400x1,700x30cm

The Indonesian artist's surrealist seascape explores the experience of living on an island, surrounded by waters that have witnessed history. In these "memoryscapes" are fragments of the past, from pedicabs outlawed by the Indonesian government and thrown into the sea to the traces of sea lanes used during the colonial era.

A Short History Of Man And Animal (2015)
By Richard Streitmatter-Tran, wood, iron and unfired porcelain clay, 100x160x70cm

The artist, who is from Vietnam, reflects on the influence animals have on humans' everyday lives. His work, a wooden boat with a set of unfired porcelain bones within its hulls, is a nod to how humble fishing boats around the world have taken on the fusiform shape of the whale.

The Exquisite Pirate: Odyssey (2016)
By Sally Smart, painted canvas and fabric, metal, embroidery and pins, dimensions variable

The artist, who is from Australia, turns to poet Paul Eluard's cheeky The Surrealist Map Of The World piece as a source of inspiration for her work , through which she explores issues such as gender and identity.

Offshore Accounts-1 (2006)
By Rashid Rana, C-print, Diasec, 300x600cm

This seascape is made up of miniature images depicting colonial ships as well as mounds of trash. For the Pakistani artist, the serene surface of the sea belies the legacies of colonial trade and empires, as well as the wasteful consumerist culture, which sees products being disposed in the ocean.

Passage III: Project Another Country (2009)
By Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan, used transport cargo boxes and wood, dimensions variable

This piece is among the many projects that was sparked by the art duo's relocation from the Philippines to Australia. They arranged re-purposed cardboard to resemble a shanty town perched on a wooden boat, suggesting the precariousness of the concept of home.

Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh

WHERE: Singapore Art Museum, 71 Bras Basah Road MRT: Bras Basah WHEN: Till Aug 28, 10am to 7pm (last admission 6.15pm, Saturday to Thursday); 10am to 9pm (Friday) ADMISSION: Free for Singaporeans and permanent residents; free admission for all on Friday from 6 to 9pm and on Open House days

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2016, with the headline 'Hour At The Museum'. Print Edition | Subscribe