Aesthetic Escapade

AULIA MEIDISKA on ART & CULTURE

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If you happen to be someone who seeks art and always browses distinct art destinations with compelling activities to do, it’s time to end your search at Singapore Art Week.


If we are asked to point out why Singapore fits the criteria to be an art destination, the answer lies in the apt strategy to permeate the exhibition throughout its small territory. Plenty of international and local art installations can be found here—everywhere from public facilities around Little India to former military camp Gilman Barracks. In this article, we have rounded up a number of masterworks at the Singapore Art Week 2017, including those presented by Indonesians.

ART STAGE

This time Art Stage Singapore brought up the issue of the balance between art, commerce and content, which connect to the values of art, imagination, progress and the price of doing art business in the global capitalist system. This subject came up since the relationship between money, ideals and the fault lines in the present financial age influenced the art market and the value of creativity. Several artists presented this issue on their works, against the profound and far-reaching consequences of global capitalism, declining social protection, rising statism, militarised accumulation, and forced migration.

Afterwards, we studied the contemporary arts inside the ballroom of Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre that was held from January 12 to 15, 2017. While examining the art pieces of 131 exhibitors from 27 countries and 54 cities, we took note of Indonesian artists whose works were the highlights of the event. Yudi Sulistyo’s, Out of Control, 2016, was the center of attention due to his gigantic replication of ‘paper tiger’ war machines using recycled materials of cardboard, plastic pipe, wood, steel, acrylic and paint. Somewhere else, Eldwin Pradipta’s Waterkasteel: Canto, 2015, an installation comprising video projection, bird cage, and chicken cage, provided visitors with intense cultural history in each element that was based on his research in Yogyakarta. It revealed multiple versions of Taman Sari Water Castle’s stories told by different local guides. Likewise, Jim Allen Abel also attempted to transfer the culture of his folks via his installation, Motorcycle Diaries, 2010, which offered photographs on a number of mirrors from motorcycles to share the impact and ironies of the city’s socioeconomic conditions on daily behaviors and events.

ARTIST AND EMPIRE

Heading to the Downtown Core of Singapore, HighEnd was guided to visit the National Gallery Singapore to see the largest public collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Inside this former City Hall and Supreme Court, a special exhibition titled Artist and Empire was held from October 6, 2017, to March 26, 2017. In association with Tate Britain, London, this exhibition sees the representation of British Empire through art that emphasizes on the relationship between colonialism and modern art. It was indicated by the colonialism in Singapore, focusing on Sir Stamford Raffles.

WHAT IS VISIBLE IS NOT INVISIBLE

Upon our arrival, we had a look at artworks from the French Regional Collections of Contemporary Art, which proposed visual paradox embodying philosophical and physical of unconventional approach in art-making. All the 34 artworks carried the theme “What is Not Visible is Not Invisible”, displayed from October 7, 2016 to February 19, 2017. Everywhere around the exhibition, our sight was challenged by the subdued or total absence of light but set to intangible interpretative objects. The purpose was to encourage visitors to interact with and experience the emotional and the volatile relationship between the abstract, the organic and the structured.

FANTASY ISLANDS

On the last day of our trip, we were re-energized by Fantasy Islands, which is temporarily showcased from January 11 to 26, 2017 at Objectifs, a center for photography and film located on Middle Road. The art exhibition sees the excitement of travel and discovery between Singapore and Batam, based on the research of both countries’ artists.

Curated by Kin Chui (Singapore) and Mitha Budyarto (Indonesia), the exhibition was presented by Indonesian and Singaporean artists, including Stephanie Burt, Fyerool Darma, Ardi Gunawan, Wu Jun Han, Ila, Eldwin Pradipta, and Evelyn Pritt. It puts highlight on the concept of borders and desires. The geographical feature of both countries lends itself to the metaphors of closure and openness, interiority and exteriority. The works hold the representation of people, objects, ideas and histories that move across their borders apart.