Pearl Lam Galleries moves to Dempsey

The gallery (above), which used to be at Gillman Barracks, opened with a new show, What You See Is What You See (right), which includes the works of a Singaporean artist and Asian and American artists.
The gallery, which used to be at Gillman Barracks, opened with a new show, What You See Is What You See (above), which includes the works of a Singaporean artist and Asian and American artists.PHOTOS: PEARL LAM GALLERIES
The gallery (above), which used to be at Gillman Barracks, opened with a new show, What You See Is What You See (right), which includes the works of a Singaporean artist and Asian and American artists.
The gallery (above), which used to be at Gillman Barracks, opened with a new show, What You See Is What You See, which includes the works of a Singaporean artist and Asian and American artists.

Pearl Lam Galleries has moved from arts enclave Gillman Barracks to bigger premises at lifestyle hub Dempsey Hill.

At 452 sq m, the new space is bigger than the 360 sq m it occupied at Gillman.

Gallery director Priya Mudgal, 37, says: "After building a strong presence in Singapore over the years, it was a natural move to expand to a bigger space at Dempsey Hill to further develop and consolidate our base in Singapore and South-east Asia."

The gallery was one of the stalwarts at Gillman Barracks, opening in 2014 before five galleries there closed in 2015. While it has left the art hub, Ms Mudgal says: "The precinct continues to be an instrumental locus in shaping local and regional contemporary art practices."

She points to events such as the recent S.E.A. Focus art fair, as well as the Art After Dark open house and Disini visual arts festival as evidence of Gillman's continuing vibrancy.

While she declines to reveal the length of the gallery's lease for its new premises, she says: "Dempsey Hill's rich heritage and state-of-the-art facilities make it an ideal location for the Galleries."

In the wake of Art Stage Singapore's abrupt cancellation in January, questions have been raised about Singapore's position as an arts hub. But Ms Mudgal points out: "While the art market might be slow here, it is a global trend and does not have much to do with the Singapore or Asian art market."

She reiterates the gallery's commitment to providing a platform for both local and international artists, as evidenced by its new show, What You See Is What You See, which features Singaporean artist Francis Ng alongside six Asian and American artists. The show, which opened on March 1, is on till the end of the month.

It takes as a starting point American artist Frank Stella's famous declaration that "What you see is what you see".

Ms Mudgal says the exhibition was planned to complement the Minimalism blockbuster show now at the National Gallery and ArtScience Museum by "foregrounding the diversity in materials, processes and approaches that has burgeoned in Asia since Minimalism's zenith in the 1960s".

Just as Stella's black paintings stripped the idea of an artwork down to its essentials as an object, some works in the show accomplish the same effect.

Ms Mudgal points to South Korean artist Chun Kwan-young's use of Korean mulberry paper and Chinese artist Su Xiaobai's employment of Chinese lacquer technique as examples, adding that these works "recontextualise traditional materials and seek to connect to the artists' cultural roots" .

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2019, with the headline 'Pearl Lam Galleries moves to Dempsey'. Print Edition | Subscribe