Up close and personal with art

Singapore Art Week starts on Jan 22, 2021. We preview some outstanding works you shouldn't miss.

Helmi Yusof
Published Fri, Jan 22, 2021 · 05:50 AM

Jo Ho & WY Huang(Re)rooting At National Gallery Singapore

Jo Ho and WY Huang have enveloped the façade of National Gallery Singapore with phantasmal images and soundscapes, pieced together from fragments of artworks, photographs, street sounds, music and other cultural artefacts of Singapore created over the years.

Ho, who is Singaporean but has lived abroad for two decades, compares the work to her own experiences of trying to reconstruct early memories of her life here. They come to her as fragments of faded images and voices, mingled with her own imagination of what might have been.

One of the best projection mapping projects we've seen in years, Re(rooting) is on display from 7.30pm to midnight during this month.

Guo-Liang TanArrive, Arrive At National Gallery Singapore

Tan's paintings are so delicate and translucent, they look like they might dissolve at any moment. His foray into large-scale installation is a welcome one. Instead of paintings, he's created large "painterly objects" suspended from the museum ceiling.

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Appearing in extremely light hues of blue, green, orange and purple, the colours naturally change depending on the time of the day. Once again, the artist displays an extraordinary understanding of colour and light, absence and presence.

Reza HasniInner Like The OutAR At Blk 22, Gillman Barracks

Reza probably dreams in technicolor. The motion graphic artist creates trippy, fantastical augmented-reality environments you'd want to fall headlong into - what with their promise of large butterflies, towering mushrooms and psychotropic forests.

Not only are the works highly-Instagrammable, they also make sly observations about the way we live today. Like Jo Ho and WY Huang's (Re)rooting (see above), this one looks set to be a hit with millennials.

Ho Tzu NyenThe Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia At S.E.A. Focus (Tanjong Pagar Distripark)

This is perhaps one of the best works ever created by a Singapore artist. Ho, who represented the country at the 2011 Venice Biennale, has amassed thousands of images, sounds and texts to create this sprawling video work.

The video runs through all the letters of the alphabet. Each letter stands for a concept shared by the histories of South-east Asian countries. "A", for instance, stands for "Asia", "archipelago" and "anarchy"; "B" for "buffalo", "barbarian" and "boundaries"; "C" for "corruption", and so on.

Using an algorithmic editing system, the video weaves an ever-changing tapestry of sound, words and images to present a wealth of new interpretations about the region's past.

Ian TeeHistory Keeps Me Awake At Night At S.E.A. Focus (Tanjong Pagar Distripark)

In 1993, the police carried out an entrapment operation in Tanjong Rhu and arrested 12 gay men. The men were charged with outrage of modesty and had their names published in the newspapers; some were jailed and caned. Over the years, artists such as Josef Ng, Alfian Sa'at and Boo Junfeng have all created artworks in protest. And now painter Ian Tee has also created a work condemning the episode.

History Keeps Me Awake At Night is large mixed-media painting on an aluminum panel measuring 2m by 3m. The collage work on the panel includes a map of Tanjong Rhu, a cover of Alfian's book A History Of Amnesia and a newspaper headline - all placed amid dark swaths of paint and stark lacerations across the panel.

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