One day to Singapore Art Week

See art in unusual spaces

Exhibitions are staged in a shophouse, chapel and shopping centre carpark

From art in freight containers to art in shophouses and a carpark. This year's Singapore Art Week is seeing more exhibitions being presented in some rather unusual spaces. No longer are such shows restricted to swish galleries or museums.

Art collective Vertical Submarine is presenting its latest installation in a shophouse in Geylang. Artist Sookoon Ang and fashion designer Sorcha O'Raghallaigh's artistic collaboration unfolds in a chapel, while PPC: A Public Living Room sees art being used for the transformation of the People's Park Complex carpark.

Over at Gillman Barracks, off Alexandra Road, an exhibition titled Scout presents works by 25 emerging and mid-career Singapore artists in 16 shipping containers in one of the carparks.

The increasing use of non- conventional platforms for art is not new. For instance, The Substation's artistic director Alan Oei has long used factory and industrial spaces.

Independent curator and art historian June Yap says displaying works "in other contexts allows artworks to respond to these contexts, historically, socially, or even how such spaces become defined".

Taking art outside the domain of the white cube of galleries also allows artists to explore new ways of looking at their own practice.

Curator and artist Yen Phang's Repurposing Nostalgia, an ongoing exhibition he has curated, features the works of 20 emerging contemporary artists and explores ideas of nostalgia. It unfolds in a shophouse in Petain Road in Little India.

Says Phang: "Unconventional spaces engender a heightened sensitivity in an artist's response to his environment." He applauds the increased acceptance of such settings by artists and the audience.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2016, with the headline 'Art gets out of galleries'. Print Edition | Subscribe