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12-Day Art Mania
Art from the Streets
Jan 13 to June 3
ArtScience Museum has been mounting exhibitions centred on the crossroads of art and technology. Its latest show, however, is an unexpected but very welcome foray into street art simply titled Art From The Streets.
Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Futura, Invader and JR are just some of the big names whose works are featured through videos, photographs and archival material. But what's more exciting is that the exhibition boasts 11 new works by international street artists creating fresh art on the museum walls.
Among them are Felipe Pantone from Spain, Eko Nugroho from Indonesia, and Singapore's Speak Cryptic, the only Singaporean artist to be featured in the inaugural Kuala Lumpur Biennale that's now on. The guest curator for the show is Magda Danysz, who's published a number of books on the subject. She says: "Street art is perhaps the most important art trend of the 21st century. For the first time in history, an art movement has hit the whole planet almost at the same time and the vast majority of people have experienced it."
Compared to, say, Renaissance or Impressionist art, street art is seen in the flesh by most people living in an urban environment. At its worst, it is flagrant, pointless and dismissed as vandalism. But when it's good, it addresses contemporary situations more pertinently than most forms of art.
"In many ways, it challenges the more traditional fields of contemporary art," says Ms Danysz. "These artists do not wait for formal permission. They raise their voices to be heard, and they share their art with everyone in a straightforward and generous manner. After all, the streets are the widest and tallest galleries on earth,"
Meanwhile, the commercial market for street art has been steadily increasing, with prices in the affordable region of US$20,000 to US$50,000 for established names, and upwards of US$200,000 to US$1million for superstars like Banksy. "We are far from the heights of the general contemporary art market and good deals can still be found easily," says Ms Danysz.
In Singapore, street art came into public debate when the Sticker Lady aka Samantha Lo was sentenced in 2013 to 240 hours of community service for stenciling "My Grandfather Road" on streets and pasting stickers on traffic light buttons. But in 2016, she managed to persuade organisers of a street carnival to allow her to write in chalk paint a massive "My Grandfather Road" from one end of the 170 metre-long Circular Road to another.
Speak Cryptic (or Farizwan Fajari) who's practised street art for 11 years says: "The conversation has progressed in this country and it does suggest some change in attitudes towards street artists. But for me, there's always a clear distinction between true street art and 'street art' that's been given approval beforehand; street art that takes 10 minutes to create before you're caught and street art that takes 10 hours to make."
ArtSciene Museum is at Marina Bay Sands, 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974.
National Gallery Singapore
Jan 19 to 28
Enter National Gallery Singapore and you might just encounter one of 12 singers who will fix her eyes on you and serenade you with a beautiful Schubert lied (song). The singer could be any one aged between 16 and 60, but chances are, the song will break your heart. And when the song ends, she will leave you and never see you again.
The performative artwork titled Sonic Blossoms is created by Taiwan-born artist Lee Mingwei. It is one of six new commissions by the Gallery premiering during Singapore Art Week. Lee says: "I'm drawn to the idea of fate and chance, the idea that the song can evoke or create a memory that the listener takes with him forever, a memory that's aural instead of visual (which a painting or sculpture provides)."
Lee explains: "The entire work is inspired by my experience. When I was a young child, my mother played Schubert lieder (songs) to calm me down. And when she was recovering from a serious operation more recently, I too would play Schubert lieder to help her recuperate."
Lee has already shown the artwork in other renowned institutions such as the Städel Museum in Germany and Mori Art Museum in Japan. Reactions from visitors range from annoyance ("Please don't sing to me," some might tell the singers) to unabashed tears of joy. In the latter case, the songs typically remind the listeners of a previous experience.
Lee says: "I think of it as a participatory artwork where you're immersed in a potentially intimate experience. And like any other artwork, this experience - however fleeting - has the power to move you deeply."
Besides Lee, five sought-after Asian artists and collectives are unveiling their new commissions during Singapore Art Week. They are international superstar Rirkrit Tiravanija, Singapore's Ho Tzu Nyen, the Philippines' David Medalla, Thailand's Pinaree Sanpitak and Japanese art collective teamLab.
A leading proponent of relational art, Rirkrit is presenting a large-scale work on the Gallery's rooftop. It draws on regional materials, craft and architecture to create a new social environment for visitors.
Meanwhile, Ho's work titled One Of Several Tigers is a large-scale multimedia installation that's a hybrid of shadow puppetry and 3D animation technology. Ho has created a series of works centred on the iconic tiger, including two theatrical presentations The Song Of The Broken Hearted Tiger (2012) and Ten Thousand Tigers (2014). This new work is the final entry in the series.
From Jan 19 to 28, National Gallery Singapore as well as various other institutions in the Civic District are also hosting the Light To Night Festival to showcase interactive public art at different times of the day. There will be music performances, an art and design market, and dramatic lights shows on the facades of the buildings within the district.
National Gallery Singapore is at 1 St Andrew's Rd, Singapore 178957
Jan 26 , Art After Dark
Every year in January, almost every art lover descends on premier art cluster Gillman Barracks for Art After Dark, a hip after-hours party with good food, live music and, of course, contemporary art. This year, the date is set for Jan 26 when the galleries and art spaces will open till late to show their latest exhibitions.
Three of Singapore's top artists - Charles Lim, Sarah Choo Jing and Dawn Ng - will be debuting new works at Future Perfect, Yeo Workshop and Chan + Hori Contemporary respectively.
Top regional artists are set to make a splash: Indonesia's top performance artist Melati Suryodarmo, who helmed the recent Jakarta Biennale, will stage a live durational performance stretching across two days at ShanghART Gallery.
Hot emerging Filipino artist Yeo Kaa is making her solo debut in Singapore with several canvases in Yavuz Gallery, while several of her established compatriots are showing their works in a Filipino group showcase in Sundaram Tagore Gallery.
For more European fare, head to Partners & Mucciaccia for a group show by Marc Chagall, Mimmo Rotella, Maurizio Savini and other European masters. For limited edition items produced by artists and independent makers, check out FOST Gallery for its unusual exhibition critiquing consumerism and the commodification of art.
As if these aren't enough, there's also a brand-new site-specific visual arts festival DISINI debuting at Gillman Barracks. It features outdoor sculptures and large-scale murals by emerging and established local and international artists, with the trail of artworks stretching from one end of Gillman to the other.
Gillman Barracks is located along Lock Road and Malan Road.
ART STAGE SINGAPORE
Jan 25, Vernissage
Fair dates: Jan 26 to 28
The country's flagship art fair Art Stage Singapore enters its 8th edition with a special focus on Thai art. With Bangkok set to stage its first biennale in November and new private museums opening in Thailand, the Thai art scene is certainly on the ascent.
Art Stage founder and director Lorenzo Rudolf says: "With its economic growth and an internationally oriented new generation, Thailand today - especially Bangkok - is changing from a quite traditional society to a modern, cosmopolitan one. Similarly in arts and culture, there is a shift from craft-inspired, religious art towards mainly conceptual contemporary art.
"On top of the various international investments in Bangkok, the city is increasingly becoming the lifestyle center of South-east Asia - particularly so on the high-end - as it attracts people from across the world. And this has a big influence on the Thai art scene and market in attracting new art enthusiasts and collectors."
Bangkok is home to almost 100 commercial galleries and art spaces. And among those participating in the fair are Numthong Gallery presenting Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Tang Contemporary presenting Arin Rungjang and Whitespace Gallery Bangkok presenting Maitree Siriboon. Malaysia-based Richard Koh Fine Art will present Natee Utarit, whose satirical paintings of Western classical art are highly sought-after.
The fair has shrunk considerably - less than 100 galleries this year compared to 170 in 2016 - because of what Mr Rudolf claims to be a "weak market". But the fair is still evolving, adding a new programme called the Signature Collectors' Visits where VIP guests are invited to tour the homes of three prominent art collectors and view their collections, namely the Teng Collection by Teng Jee Hum, the Samson's Private Collection by Michelangelo and Lourdes Samson, and Nijkerk's Private Collection by Mr and Mrs Richard Nijkerk.
Mr Rudolf says: "Many good and important Asian - and especially South-east Asian - contemporary art works are in private hands. And collectors worldwide love to see the collections of other collectors to get fresh ideas as well as build relationships with them."
Mr Rudolf decided to introduce these visits after successfully launching a similar programme for the sister fair Art Stage Jakarta. Hundreds of VIP guests got to see the collections of Deddy Kusuma, Alex Tedja and others in their palatial Jakarta homes. Mr Rudolf hope this will spur more Singaporean collectors to open up their homes to other art lovers.
Art Stage Singapore will also have its regular feature, the Southeast Asia Forum, featuring an exhibition and a series of lectures on the social, cultural, economic and political issues impacting the region. Other highlights include a display of Alexander Calder's paper works, as well as a talk and exhibition by Fernando Botero.
Art Stage Singapore is at Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Level 1, Hall A - C, 1 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018971
THE ART WEEK CONVERSATIONS
JAN 20 TO 27, VARIOUS LOCATIONS
The Art Week Conversations has evolved into a serious event for connoisseurs to discuss the direction of the art market and various art scenes of Asia. Organised by THEO Arts Professionals, the highlight of the fourth edition is a discussion of Cambodian art and art market that brings together a distinguished panel that includes scholar Erin Gleeson and artist Leang Seckon.
THEO's director Seah Tzi-Yan says: "Our intention with these talks has always been to help people make sense of the world from which the art emerges, so that it isn't just about the buying, but also the systems in which the art scenes operate. This year, we have a focus on Cambodia because we think it's a young but very exciting scene."
THEO Arts Professionals is also taking visitors to the Central Business District to look at the art collections of a bank, a property developer and clan association, among others, to examine how corporate collecting has evolved over the years.
For more information, visit http://www.theoartspro.com/programs/the-art-week-conversations/
State Of Motion: Sejarah-ku (My History)
Jan 12 to Feb 11, various locations
Singapore was once the centre of Malay cinema. And this series of tours, performances and screenings take inspiration from seminal films to create new works and assess perspectives. They include a boat tour to surrounding islands where some of these classic films were shot.
For more information, visit https://stateofmotion.sg/2018/
The Artist's Voice REFRAME
Jan 17 to 27, The Parkview Museum
Our pick for the best art show of 2017, this long-running exhibition will be open till end- February but has special programmes during Singapore Art Week. Conceived by Lorand Hegyi, it boasts 40 spectacular works from important artists such as Marina Abramovic, Liu Xiaodong and Jannis Kounellis.
For more information, visit https://www.parkviewmuseum.com/
ARTWALK Little India
Jan 18 to 27, Little India
As one of the most authentic and charming enclaves in the country, Little India is set to showcase new murals, public art installations, performances and film screenings. The artists include Cannes-participating filmmaker K Rajagopal and storyteller Kamini Ramachandran.
For more information, visit http://artwalklittleindia.sg/