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Artzine

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Ai Jing, Artist...
Our contributor series explores the ideas of gallerists, artists, directors, curators for an insight into the development of the international art scene......

October 24, 2014

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Archipavilion Competition Frequently Asked Questions...
  We’re pleased to have received such a warm response to The OUE Artling Archipavilion Competition! Some of you have questions about the mechanics and so we’re writing this FAQ entry to answer them. If you’re interested in participating in the competition, we encourage you to bookmark this page as we will update this as we get more questions.   Important Update as of 03 Dec 2014 Following feedback and to help more young architectural practices to submit entries, the Artling and SIA are amending one of the 3 key criteria that apply specifically to the Project Lead Architect Firm which is also the firm/entrant that submits the application: 1. At least one employee/partner at the Project Lead Architect Firm is a BOA Registered Architect. 2. The Project Lead Architect Firm is incorporated in on after 2004 (thus fulfilling the competition’s definition of “young” architects).  3. At least one employee of the Project Lead Architect Firm is a Corporate Member of the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA). This will now change to: The Project Lead Architect Firm need not be an SIA member on submission of entry. However, the Winning Entry is required to become a member of SIA, whereupon The Artling will sponsor the cost of an annual membership. The membership requirement applies to the Winning Firm only. 4. The Competition Closing date has been extended to 12 January 2015 and the query deadline will also be extended to 23 December 2014. OUE ARTLING ARCHIPAVILION DESIGN COMPETITION Did you know? The Entries MUST be submitted by a Singapore incorporated Architectural Firm, hereafter known as the PROJECT LEAD. The PROJECT LEAD must be incorporated in or after 2004 (thus fulfilling the competition’s definition of “young” architects). The PROJECT LEAD can choose to enter into a “Submission Consortium” as described under Important Information. At least one employee / partner at the PROJECT LEAD or the Submission Consortium must be a BOA Registered Architect. At least one employee / partner of the Project Lead Architect Firm or the Submission Consortium must be a Corporate Member of the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA). Please refer to Important Update as of 03 Dec 2014 The eventual winning entries will be named as in the following example: OUE prize winning design by “ABC Architect - the Project Lead, with XYZ Company.” Important Information The criteria in fact allows the PROJECT LEAD to decide, at its own discretion, to work in partnership with any of the following:  A mentoring entity incorporated BEFORE 2004 which can be in but is not restricted to the architectural industry,  A mentoring foreign-incorporated entity which can be in but is not restricted to the architectural industry,  Professional individual(s) that may be an artist or designer or engineer or have a combination of expert skills the PROJECT LEAD deems would be a needful addition to their entry. Useful URLs For more information on the competition, please visit the Competition page.   The OUE Artling ArchiPavilion Competition FAQs: 1. To whom do the key competition criteria need to apply? These are the 3 key criteria for entry and they apply specifically to the Project Lead Architect Firm which is also the firm/entrant that submits the application: At least one employee / partner at the Project Lead Architect Firm is a BOA Registered Architect. At least one employee of the Project Lead Architect Firm is a Corporate Member of the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA). The Project Lead Architect Firm is incorporated in on after 2004 (thus fulfilling the competition’s definition of “young” architects). Please refer to Important Update as of 03 Dec 2014 2. In some of your press articles there was a mention of “young architectural practice”, what does “young” in this context mean?  This criteria applies to the Project Lead Architect Firm, herewith referred to as Project Lead.  The Project Lead may decide, at its own discretion, to work in partnership with any of the following:  (a) an entity incorporated BEFORE 2004 which can be in but is not restricted to the architectural industry,  (b) a foreign-incorporated entity which can be in but is not restricted to the architectural industry,  © professional individual(s) that may be an artist or designer or engineer or have a combination of expert skills the Project Lead deems would be a needfull addition to their entry. 3. Why “young architectural practice”? The organizers intend for the competition to incubate and provide opportunities for younger architectural firms who may not have the means to break through.  It is hoped that the platform will act as a launch-pad to capture international attention. The date of incorporation was chosen after studying other international competitions aimed at young architectural practices and after discussions amongst the Jury.   As stated above, the competition criteria does not preclude established practices from participating.  Entrants can also be partnerships between the young architectural practice and mentoring local or foreign firms, as long as the submitting firm is Singapore-incorporated and has one partner /director who is a member of the Singapore Institute of Architects.  Entrants, fulfilling the above criteria, can also collaborate with Artists provided the name of the artist is declared.  Please refer to Important Update as of 03 Dec 2014 4. Do you allow firms that were incorporated before 2004 to apply? The Firm submitting the entry, who is also the Project Lead Architect Firm, must be incorporated in or after 2004.  5. Can an associate member of Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) apply? SIA Associate members are not eligible.  The Firm submitting the entry who is also the Project Lead Architect Firm, must have an employee or practicing partner who is Corporate member with the SIA.  Please refer to Important Update as of 03 Dec 2014 6. Is there any registration required in advance? No. The forms just need to be submitted together with your design proposals by the 23rd of Dec 2014. 7. Are there any registration fees? No, the registration is free. 8. Is the Registration Number on the registration form computer generated upon submission? No. This number shall be created entirely by the entrant, as long as it is a combination of 1 alphabet and 3 roman numbers. In the event of coincidental duplication, the organiser will assign an alternative number to the second entrant who will be informed via e-mail.  9. What is the location of the space where the winning design will be built? Subject to The Artling rising funds for the construction, the winning design will be built at The Lawn @ Marina Bay. The tentative plan is for the pop-up structure to be erected from 9 September to 30 September 2015. The exact location may be found here: https://www.marina-bay.sg/organise/Map_of_Marina_Bay.pdf   10. How will the prize money be paid? This will be paid in two installments.  50% will be presented at the Prize Winners Ceremony on 24 February 2015.  The remaining 50% will be presented no later than 30 days after the completion of the construction of the Pavilion. If, however, the construction does not go ahead, the remaining 50% will be paid no later than 14 days from the date of such announcement. 11. Who owns the IP for the Winning Designs? The IP belongs to The Artling. However, The Artling will attribute the winning designs to the respective Project Lead (and team if the submission is a Consortium).  12. Who will own the Winning Structure? The Artling will own the Winning Structure. 13. What does the budget of S$350,000 cover? The Criteria states “the Final Total Construction Cost of the pavilion shall not exceed $350,000.00.”  The budget applies to Construction and ME only.   The Artling will seek in-kind sponsorship to cover the costs for erecting the structure therefore the role of the Winner is one of advisor to the Pavilion project. 14. Who is responsible for the Liability Insurance of the erected structure? The Artling. 15. What is the minimum size of each of the spaces required? At least 60% of the space should be allocated to Artwork Display. The rest of the space should allow for a VIP dining room for 30 people, a small café, a champagne bar, a book corner and an auction/special events/talks room for a standing audience. This allocation will be subject to final evaluation and winners are required to amend the design if necessary at no additional fee.  16. Is storage space for the artworks, etc. required? No, this is not required. 17. Is Air Conditioning required? If so, for which spaces are they required for? All spaces should generally be air conditioned by temporary devices, especially the area for Artwork Display. But if designers can prove that certain non-critical areas can be naturally ventilated comfortably, their design can be considered. 18. For the Budget stated, does it include all M&E systems such as Air Conditioning, Lighting, etc.?  The budget of S$350K should be just for the Pavilion Architecture and Lighting. ACMV cost is not included in the construction budget.  19. Is Relative Humidity Control required? This is usually part of the ACMV cost, so it’s required but not part of the construction cost.  20. Is there an overall area requirement for the entire building? Ideally, the Pavilion should be around 7,000-8,000 sq ft. The location of the structure will be towards the Marina Boulevard (facing the Promontory) end of The Lawn, with the bulk of it located on the tiled area.  21. Are there specific space/occupancy requirements for the small cafe, champagne bar, book corner, or auction/special events/talks room?  The Dining Room should sit up to 30 people, and the Special Events cum Lounge cum Auction area should be able to accommodate up to 80 people standing. There are no specific requirements for the other areas.  22. Can you please clarify “sit atop and not rest on the grass surface area of the site of construction”?  Landlord URA has recommended to consider limiting the damage to the grass turf. Thus, ideally, the floor of the pavilion should be a raised platform.  ...

October 24, 2014

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Interview with Annie Jael Kwan, Festival Producer and Curator of Visual Arts & Moving Image at SEA ArtsFest London...
In its second consecutive year, SEA ArtsFest London opened its series of events on September 25th. The ArtsFest takes place at various prominent venues throughout London and it continues until November 2nd.  The Artling speaks to one of the founders and organizers of the SEA ArtsFest, Annie Jael Kwan, to learn more about this promising initiative. How did the SEA ArtsFest come about?  SEA ArtsFest started, as many good ideas do, around a delicious meal and a chat. The food was of course, Southeast Asian, and typically, spicy and plentiful. The conversation was, as I remember, quite inspiring. It was a table of academics, artists and producers – all coming together with very different perspectives and foci of interests, which perhaps were exactly the right ingredients. What is your background and how did you end up as one of the originators and producers of SEA ArtsFest? I grew up in Singapore. My interests were always in the creative field, first in literature and then I started studying and working in the theatre in my teens. I then went to London to study Drama and Theatre Arts, and research in cultural theory and moving image at Goldsmiths, before doing a law conversion degree. I’ve lived and worked in London for over a decade now, working across various fields in visuals, filmmaking, installations and exhibitions. A few things came together over the last few years – first, reaching a point in my life where there was an urge to reconnect with Asia, with a sense of cultural identity, and subconsciously seeking out projects and opportunities that would allow me to do so, and this led to meeting more likeminded people with shared interests. I see the festival as a great platform, to do projects that specifically seek to connect both regions, and hence encourage dialogue and artistic exchange between the two regions.   Photo credit: Jai Rafferty   The festival focus is exclusively on SEA. Why this regional choice within the broader Asia?  There are several reasons for this. In the UK, there’s been a lot of work done to increase representation for South Asian communities but even as the numbers of Southeast Asians living in the UK increase, this group is still quite underrepresented. The region is also undergoing a lot of change, with a flow of economic investment into developing countries in the region, and in the last few years, there’s also been a surge of activity in terms of political and social development. At the same time, and maybe, typically, there’s been a lot of interesting, innovative work emerging from artists, writers and practitioners in the region, all responding or calling into question these trends.  Does this regional art have specific characteristics that distinguish it as typically SEA?   This is such an interesting and yet challenging question. Different curators and programmers might say so but yet posit the reasoning entirely differently. There are references to shared Hindu/Chinese heritage strands, an all-encompassing Buddhist sensibility, etc. but to a certain extent, it is such a culturally diverse region, where each place has its own particular socio-economic, cultural, political and religious context. It’s daunting and also dangerous to draw too broad strokes which might negate these finer points.   Photo credit: David Sentosa Within SEA art, is the ArtsFest drawn specifically to certain art practices? Was there something you tried to move away from while selecting / conceptualizing the ArtsFest? I think one of the exciting things about our team, is that we each have quite different passions and different foci in our work, which allows for development of different strands of work in visual arts and moving image, literature and music, heritage and performance. We each lead on different aspects, though usually, we all end up quite interested and involved in each other’s programmes. I lead the visual arts and moving image programme. I wouldn’t say we “tried to move away” from anything in the selection – personally, my approach is more about being interested in what is happening on the ground level in the UK and in Southeast Asia, the dialogues relevant to the relationship between the regions. Could art works shown away from the SEA region be misinterpreted as exotic? Yes, one could say so, and even so, geographically within the region, depending on who is looking. One could argue that the viewer projects his own fantasies or anxieties on the object, and that can happen anywhere.  There are also always situations where one can self-‘exoticise’ – by being aware how one is presented to the international eye and trying to cater to the demands of the global market. But the subjective eye/I is on the move as well, as artists and makers extend their practice abroad via residencies and collaborative projects, and there’s an increase in self-reflexivity in different directions.   Photo credit: Annie Jael Kwan 2014 is the second edition of the SEA ArtsFest. How was it received last year and what did you learn from last year’s experience?  SEA ArtsFest simply exploded last year from an initial idea of a weekend, into 6-week programme that spanned theatre and outdoor performance, film, literature, music, and visual art. We had terrific support from diaspora artist groups, researchers and local communities. What we did learn very quickly, was that we needed a bigger team – or try to do less, but as you can see, we didn’t succeed on that front this year. What do you hope audiences in London may take away from this festival?   I hope they take away a sense of the diversity and rich potential of the region – and also an insight into some of the issues currently in discussion over there and also very much relevant here. Also, I hope people just have a really good time and enjoy the work, and of course, the food! BIO  Annie Jael Kwan trained in theatre arts, film and cultural theory at Goldsmiths College and then obtained a postgraduate qualification in Law. She has worked as producer and curator on numerous arts projects, including with arts collective, The Light Surgeons from 2006 till the present. Works included producing immersive installation, Domestic Archaeology at the Geffrye Museum, funded by Arts Council England; Articulated London, a large-scale multidisciplinary exhibition at the four storey London Oxo Barge House, sponsored by Nokia Nseries; the Overture Film commissioned by the South Bank Centre and projected on the Royal Festival Hall during its re-opening weekend; the visuals for Vangelis: A New Hope; “TLS vs ELO”, a LED installation on the front façade of the Wembley Theatre; and touring The Light Surgeon’s live audio-visual performance, Super Everything, commissioned by the British Council Malaysia, to Singapore. Apart from being co-director and founder of Something Human, she is also Festival Producer for SEA ArtsFest, the UK’s only arts festival that champions Southeast Asian artists and works inspired by the region, and leading on curating its visual arts programme and SEA ArtsFilm, its screening programme of feature-length and short moving image works.   The SEA Arts Fest is a collaboration among: Mark Hobart - Director of SEA Arts Ni Made Pujawati - Artistic Director of SEA Arts Hi Ching - Artistic Director of River Cultures and Director of SEA ArtsFest 2013/2014 Annie Jael Kwan - Festival Producer and Curator of Visual Arts and Moving Image  Cui Yin Mok - Producer-at-Large, leading in Marketing and Digital programming Lin Mingyu - Associate Producer, Theatre and Performance Thong Kay Wee - Videographer and Production Jai Rafferty - Videographer, production and technical consultant Dr Tan Shzr Ee - Consultant for Academic Panel...

October 16, 2014

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Spotlight: Isaac Julien at CCA...
For two days only, don’t miss this rare opportunity to meet internationally acclaimed artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien.  Julien’s illustrious career includes exhibiting in MoMA, Documenta11 and collaborating with cinema’s finest, such as showing James Franco as a sleek art advisor in “Playtime” and casting legendary Chinese actress, Maggie Chung for the epic work “Ten Thousand Waves.” Julien’s “Vagabondia” (2000) currently playing in CCA’s “Theatrical Fields” was nominated for UK’s prestigious Turner Prize in 2001.  Isaac Julien, Vagabondia, 2000. Installation. Two screen projection, 16mm film. Digital transfer, colour, sound. 7 min., looped. Choreography by Javier De Frutos. Image courtesy of the Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (CCA) Artist Talk Friday, 24 October, 7.00pm–8.30pm School of the Arts Singapore (SOTA) SOTA Concert Hall, Level 2 1 Zubir Said Drive, S(227968)  Register at vafaculty@sota.edu.sg Contact number: +65 6594 8480 The talk is part of the Louis Vuitton - SOTA Arts Excellence Programme.   Brunch, Conversations and Screening  Isaac Julien and Mark Nash Sunday, 26 October, 11.00am–1.00pm CCA Seminar Room  Block 43, Malan Road Gillman Barracks Join in the discussions with curator Mark Nash on Isaac Julien’s earlier works and the screening of his recent production.  ...

October 15, 2014

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Interview with Ivan Pun...
The Artling interviews Ivan Pun, Head of Pun+Projects and Founder of TS.1....

October 09, 2014

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A Review: Countershadows (Tactics In Evasion)...
Read our review of "Countershadows (Tactics in Evasion)," an exhibition curated by Melanie Pocock....

October 01, 2014

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Gillman Barracks Turns Two!...
This September, Gillman Barracks turns two! A former military camp, Singapore’s premier contemporary arts cluster will play host to a series of exciting events and initiatives in the weeks ahead. Home to 17 international art galleries, the Centre for Contemporary Art and 3 restaurants and bars - this week, the team at The Artling has taken the liberty to select key events and highlights for you and your family to enjoy, so don’t miss out on the festivities! Part two next week, The Artling will present a snap shot of the must-see gallery shows in Gillman Barracks - stay tuned! Anniversary Party – Friday, 26th Sept from 6pm till late Gillman Barracks will be transformed into a mini-festival village for a night filled with exhibitions, public art, live music performances, a local maker pop-up market, food and bar stalls! Admission to all exhibitions and events are free, so come join us for a night of revelry! Courtesy of Silverlens   DRIVE – Public Art Installation The first-of-its-kind public art project presented by the Gillman Barracks Association will launch end of September and run for four months. DRIVE aims to transform the pristine facades of the Barrack’s colonial buildings with outdoor art installations by the galleries, international artists and members of the public. Check out www.artdrive.com.sg  for more info!   FOM Tours Friends of the Museums offers free guided tours to provide an introduction to the world class contemporary art works, and share the rich history of the ex-military camp site. Take a walk and uncover this treasure trove of art and history! Next tour is on Friday, 26th Sept at 5pm, meet at Blk 9. Pls register at:  www.gillmanbarracks.com/tours Courtesy of Gillman Barracks    More in November! For family and kid-friendly fun, check out The Big Draw! On 8th – 9th November, Playuem will present their annual award-winning flagship event called The Big Draw! that focuses on play-based programming in the arts, technology and design for children. The second edition of Singapore Art Book Fair, jointly organized by BooksActually and HJHER will take place from 14th – 16th November. Back by popular demand, the Fair will present at least 50 vendors and fringe activities such as film screenings, talks and workshops. So watch this space!   Centre for Contemporary Art presents Theatrical Fields – Critical Strategies in Performance, Film and Video Developed as a research project by CCA Director Ms Uta Meta Bauer, Theatrical Fields examines forms of artistic practice and explores the analytical and political potential of theatricality through various manifestations ranging from an exhibition to public presentations, film programme to live performance. This exhibition brings together major video installations by internationally acclaimed artists including Judith Barry, Stan Douglas, Joan Jonas, Isaac Julien, Constanze Ruhm. The exhibition was commissioned by and presented at the Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden in 2013. Admission to CCA is free.   Courtesy of Gillman Barracks   ...

September 26, 2014

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Interview with Curator Iola Lenzi...
From 17 September 2014 onwards, ARTER will be hosting a group exhibition The Roving Eye curated by Singapore-based Iola Lenzi. The exhibition will feature works by Southeast Asian artists who attempt to look at culture from multiple points of view, from both inside and outside their respective localities. This split gaze will be at the centre of the exhibition's framework, the latter with its historical roots in diasporic patterns, ethnic hybridity, the region’s ancient trade ethos and colonial/post-colonial history.   An initiative of the Vehbi Koç Foundation based in Istanbul, ARTER opened in 2010 to offer a sustainable infrastructure for producing and exhibiting contemporary art. ARTER has been presenting solo and group exhibitions with the aim of providing a platform of visibility for artistic practices and encouraging production of contemporary artworks. What was your background and how did you end up as a curator? I originally trained in law in Canada but after qualifying, gravitated to art. I moved to London, did a post-graduate course in art history at Sotheby’s, worked for Sotheby’s and in Chinese art, and in 1994 moved to Singapore. Southeast Asian contemporary art was exploding onto the scene then, riveting with its combination of social ideas, formal brio, and conceptual sophistication. I started writing about regional art for SPH Business Times in 1995, and from there contributed longer critical essays to the Australian journal ARTAsiaPacific. Galleries and artists commissioned essays and I was invited to curate my first exhibition in 2000. It was a solo of new work by Sutee Kunavichayanont at an independent space called Atelier Frank & Lee in Emerald Hill. The Lee was Singapore artist Yvonne Lee. I curated four shows in that space, and then two large regional exhibitions at Sculpture Square in the early millennium. After that I called myself a curator. What kind of artists or practices are you drawn to? Was this something you kept in mind or tried to move away from in this show? From the start of my curating career I have been interested in regional art that combines conceptual play, a certain type of performativity unique to Southeast Asia, and social content. I believe the best art of the region owes its excellence to artists’ interest in using their practice to further social progress. These artists do not necessarily call themselves activists, but they care deeply about their nation and people, they look outward even when their practice is rooted in the most intimate places. The work is socially and politically thoughtful -not to be confused with earnest-, sometimes critical of the status quo, but never in a literal way. This sort of art is not critical for the sake of it, but rather addresses very real concerns as a means of taking part socially. In Indonesia of the 1990s, some artists used their production to champion democratic institutions and the rights of minorities before the end of the Suharto regime. Today, the region has changed politically and socially. Yet still to me the most challenging and exciting art has social bite. Expressive languages have evolved but the formal command, the allusiveness and conceptual play, and the interest in involving audiences remain in the practices of many. For “The Roving Eye” I selected art that whether recent or less so, I feel is significant because it combines these attributes. I argue the roving eye as a methodology typical of regional artists. So yes, i definitely aim to further some of the ideas I have been researching in the last decade with this show. To prove my point, I include a number of young, emerging artists whose approach can be compared to that of pioneers such as Lee Wen, Vasan Sitthiket, Heri Dono or FX Harsono. Ping Pong Go Round 2014, by Lee Wen (Singapore) What is this space ARTER about? Did it play a role with the selection of artists, and how did this collaboration come about? ARTER is one of the best-regarded independent contemporary art spaces in Turkey. It is a non-profit showcase for international and Turkish contemporary art that comes under the Vehbi Koc Foundation umbrella of cultural philanthropy. It is a young space, but since its inception has held some remarkable exhibitions invariably accompanied by an excellent publication. The space itself is both state of the art in terms of facilities, and broad public- accessible, positioned on one of Istanbul’s busiest pedestrian streets. It is highly considered internationally despite being so young, those running it among the most committed and visionary art people I have met anywhere. In May 2011 I met ARTER head Melih Fereli in Hong Kong through a friend; Melih was already familiar with some Southeast Asian art so our discussions about the field were quite natural. Some months later we met again in Singapore and Melih suggested I propose an exhibition concept for ARTER. I did this, and then travelled to Istanbul with a power point showing the sort of regional work I would put up at ARTER within a possible exhibition framework. My concept was accepted and from there i had absolute freedom to select whom and what I wanted, the only limitation being the size of the space. I seized the opportunity to present the very best Southeast Asian contemporary at ARTER, a very visible platform outside Asia; I also seized it as a way of putting up a large regional exhibition that I hope expands Southeast Asian art discourse. “The Roving Eye: contemporary art from Southeast Asia”, through its choice of works, aims to bring to light a certain way of looking that I see as a marker of the field. It should be noted here that not only did ARTER afford me liberty regarding works and artists, but also actively supported new productions. Roughly a third of the works in “The Roving Eye” are entirely new pieces, or expanded pre-existing works. ARTER and the Koc Foundation have been very open and generous in their support of Southeast Asian contemporary. Piano 2010, Alwin Reamillo (Philippines) With this show, what do you hope to convey to Turkish audiences about Southeast Asian artists? With “The Roving Eye” I hope to convert Turkish audiences to the idea that contemporary art can simultaneously be aesthetically triumphant, socio-politically engaged, and audience involving. In Turkey, as in Europe more generally, few seem to see art as able to have both form and critical function. I hope too with this show that through the art, Turkish viewers will become acquainted with some of Southeast Asia’s concerns, many of which are likely to resonate. Ultimately, what I hope Turkish audiences will take away is that art in Southeast Asia, before being a commodity, is very much part of and about life, has a role to play on the ground in shaping society. Lastly, do you have any major projects on the horizon? I am currently embarking on a major academic research project. In terms of exhibitions, I am curating a compact Mekong show in Yangon at the end of the year, taking “Concept Context Contestation” (the 2013 co-curated BACC Southeast Asian show about regional conceptualism) on the road, and curating the Singapore/Southeast Asian platform for ARTParis next March in Paris. And then there is the Southeast Asian digital art project ‘Masterpieces’ for Samsung which is on-going. A great deal of essay writing supports all these exhibitions. I also spend time teaching at LASALLE in Singapore, and running or joining symposia around the region. There is a great deal to do on the educational front. That’s it for the next few months! Insect series called Suitcase of a Pilgrim 2001-2006, by Vu Dan Tan (Hanoi, Vietnam)  The Roving Eye, Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia will be open from 18 Sept 2014 till 4 Jan 2015. For more information on ARTER, click here: https://www.arter.org.tr/W3/?sAction=Contact +++ Rapid Fire Quiz! What is your favourite place to see art? In artists’ studios or on their mac screens if it’s new Southeast Asian art; in one of the great Asian or European museums if it’s classical Asian art (Palace Museum in Taipei, Shanghai Museum, Musee Guimet in Paris). Do you have a museum or gallery-going routine? No special routine. I attend institutional and commercial openings if I am in town as a way of supporting the artist and institution. I try to go however busy I am. Otherwise, I may do a museum/gallery trawl if I have foreign artists friends in town staying with me. Outside of this, I don’t have time to do the rounds more frequently. What’s your favourite post-gallery watering hole or restaurant? At home in Singapore I usually attend openings late so there is not much ‘post’. Out with artists, anywhere will do, i’m not fussy. When on research trips in Jogjakarta, Hanoi or Bangkok i go out with artists, so either we go to local spots or peoples’ homes. Do you collect anything? I don’t really consider myself a collector though my husband and I live with Southeast Asian art of all types. Early regional ceramics are a pet interest, as well as regional contemporary art, much of which i would qualify as ‘research art’ since it is mainly non-painting and not commercially mainstream. Most of the contemporary comes directly from artists, numerous pieces not purchased but swapped for catalogue essays, or given to me as presents. Some pieces, sadly, are ephemeral and have quite literally disintegrated. That probably makes me a custodian rather than a collector. What’s the last artwork you purchased? Not purchased, given. A photograph. I would rather not reveal the artist! What work of art do you wish you owned? The house is stuffed already. I don’t covet anything except more space to put things! What’s your art world peeve? That Asian art is still perceived as validated essentially by interest outside Asia. What international art destination do you most want to visit? I’ve never been to Moscow, I am curious about what non-mainstream artists are doing there now, with the climate in Russia so feverishly nationalistic. What under-appreciated artist, gallery, or work do you think people should know about? There are too many poorly-known Southeast Asian artists deserving of wider public recognition to be listed here. As a whole, contemporary Southeast Asian art the field needs more visibility! What is the last great book you read? Two at once: ‘The Cat’s Table’ by Michael Ondaatje, recent, and ‘The Key’, a 1950s classic by Juchiro Tanizaki that examines old age and constructions of Japanese and European identity through an erotic lens. Last Drop, by Jason Lim (Singapore) Iola Lenzi is a Singapore curator, critic and researcher of Southeast Asian contemporary art. She has conceptualised numerous institutional exhibtions charting art historical themes predicated on the region’s cultural, social and political landscape. Selected major projects include Negotiating Home History and Nation: two decades of contemporary art in Southeast Asia 1991-2011, Singapore Art Museum (2011); Concept Context Contestation: art and the collective in Southeast Asia, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (2013); The Roving Eye: contemporary art in Southeast Asia, ARTER, Istanbul (September 2014); Masterpieces- digital art in Southeast Asia, Samsung art projets (ongoing). Lenzi is a lecturer in the Asian Art Histories MA programme of Singapore’s LASALLE-Goldsmiths College of Art and publishes regularly in anthologies and periodicals on regional art. She is the editor of several multi-text catalogues and the author of ‘Museums of Southeast Asia’ (2004 & 2005).    ...

September 19, 2014

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Interview with Independent Curator, Artist and Writer Jason Wee...
Re/call/Re/form/Re/master, a group exhibition of Southeast Asian artists curated by Jason Wee taking place at Silverlens Gallery, Gillman Barracks from September 12 to October 12, 2014.  The exhibition explores the ways in which creative reuse and modes of material transfer produces a frisson of unexpected meaning and a tingle of strong emotion. The exhibition looks specifically at three processes: the syneasthetic recollection of one sensation (sound) that is provoked by an experience of a different sensation (sight); the transformation of found material into new physical form; and the transfer of ideas and information from one material substrate to another.  These dynamic material transformations are analogous to the fluid conturbations that we witness in contemporary art practices. The artists in this exhibition work in a variety of media such as sound, performance, moving image, photography and installation. They are Bani Haykal (Singapore, b. 1985), Nipan Oranniwesna (Thailand, b. 1962), Prilla Tania (Indonesia, b. 1979), Vanessa Ban (Singapore, b. 1989) and Vincent Leong (Malaysia, b. 1979). BANI HAYKAL The Americans have colonised our subconscious, 2014 What was your background and how did you end up as a curator? Oh, I still shy away from calling myself a curator, and still understand myself as an artist and a writer, and the latter is where I’d premise my work, where exhibitions becomes occasions for writing. And as proof of this, I remain one of those who are drawn to notions of independent curating, where ‘independence’ is compatible with ‘unschooled’. And that’s really how I begin, as an untrained, bad curator.  What kind of artists or practices are you drawn to? Was this something you kept in mind or tried to move away from in this show? There are some ideas about the ecology of things, and how things relate to one another quite apart from us, that I’ve been thinking about. And working with Lucy Davis on her show at the NUS Museum has given me another opportunity to think these through. I followed one strand of that idea without worrying immediately about the limits of national borders or place of birth, and Silverlens was game to be my partner in this. NIPAN ORANNIWESNA Monument in progress 2013 Did Silverlens Gallery play a role with the selection of artists, and how did this collaboration come about? Isa Lorenzo really left me to do my work, and I am sure there are many moments where the gallery must have wondered if it’s actually coming together! But I really appreciate the freedom to work this way. I am most keen on artists who I think can speak alongside what I will say in the exhibition essay, and have sufficiently dense connections to the works in the same space as them. The space also has its specificities, its size, no fully enclosed room, and so on, so that influenced my decisions too. I was also looking for a new home for my photo-based works after Valentine closed his gallery, and Silverlens will be showing some new photo works of mine in January. With this show, what do you hope to convey to audiences about Southeast Asian artists? Are there any similarities or dissimilarities amongst artists from different parts of the region? I don’t have a lot to say about Southeast Asia that does not repeat platitudes about it, and I am working with Kathleen Ditzig, a young curator, on developing writing about the development of this idea of a coherent ‘Southeast Asia’ that we seem to take for granted, looking at Cold War alignments for example between Africa and Asia.  So maybe I’ll just say that, that we think we know what we talk about when we talk about Southeast Asia. Maybe it’s time to locate Southeast Asia on something else other than geopolitical categories or national social histories. VINCENT LEONG Socketron 2008 Lastly, do you have any projects on the horizon? I am a Writer-in-Residence at NUS-Arts House for the rest of the year, and I will have a poetry manuscript to complete by January. Also preparing to show work next year in Berlin. But I am currently in New York for my opening with Sundaram Tagore, who is showing my new paintings. It’s a relief not to be responsible for the whole show, I can chill and drink my beer and talk to my friends! Re/call/Re/form/Re/master opens from 12 September to 12 October 2014.  Silverlens Gallery is at Gillman Barracks, 47 Malan Road, #01-25, Singapore. +++ Rapid Fire Quiz! What is your favourite place to see art? Wherever my friends are showing me their work Do you have a museum or gallery-going routine? Yes. I get dressed first. Otherwise I might shock people more than I need to. What’s your favourite post-gallery watering hole or restaurant? Wherever they have milk stout on tap or a floral cider. Do you collect anything? Notches on my bedpost. What’s the last artwork you purchased? A photograph by Jovian Lim. What work of art do you wish you owned? The yet-unseen classified materials on Operation Coldstore and Operation Spectrum. There’s an art work in there, I’m sure of it.   What would you do to get it? Ask like I do now? What’s your art world peeve? Where are the toilets? What under-appreciated artist, gallery, or work do you think people should know about? I think more people should read Yeow Kai Chai’s poetry. NIPAN ORANNIWESNA Vichitvathakan 2014 Jason Wee is an artist and a writer. His art practice is concerned with the hollowing out of singular authority in favour of conundrums and polyphony. He transforms these singular architectures, histories and spaces into various visual and written materials. He runs Grey Projects, an artists’ space and residency in Tiong Bahru. He is a graduate of The New School and Harvard GSD.  He is the author of Tongues (2012), a commission by the Singapore Fringe Festival. His latest poetry book The Monsters Between Us was named by TODAY newspaper as one of the top art picks of 2013.    ...

September 19, 2014

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Interview with Japanese Artist Teppei Kaneuji...
The latest artist to join STPI gallery’s Artist in residence program is award-winning Japanese artist, Teppei Kaneuji. Teppei is known for his assemblages which involve collecting objects to create an entirely new concept. In Endless, Nameless (Constructions), he was inspired by objects and symbols reflecting the culture of Singapore, a city which he describes as a collage in of itself. “Multi-cultures are blended together like chaos and order in one place.I was very much drawn to that, and I was influenced by the shape, colours and spaces of Haw Par Villa…”* The Artling speaks to Teppei about his experience in Singapore and the impact of this residency to his art. Before coming to Singapore what symbols / images did you associate with the country? And what are the new images that you would associate to Singapore after your 6-week residency at STPI and why? I had this impression that Singapore was a New Asia—much like a new wave unlike other Southeast Asian counterparts. I was surprised to find such complex cultures coexisting together in orderly fashion—all in one place.  Games, Dance and the Constructions (Color thick paper) #1 Games, Dance and the Constructions (Color thick paper) #4 Working with print could seem daunting to some artists who produce more sculptural artwork. You seem to have conquered this obstacle and seamlessly applied dimension to the work you created with STPI. What was that experience like for you, working with the tools that you were given? Because my style of working has always been to connect different dimensions and situations, it was such a great experience for me to work with different mediums at STPI.  There’s an entertaining energy to your construction, and everyday objects seem like they now have new roles to play.  What was behind the selection of objects that you brought together?  The objects are selected according to the work and what I set out to achieve. For example, in the case of the White Discharge series (pouring white resin over objects amassed together), I wanted to build a sturdy and tall structure, so I tried to collect different kinds of objects that could play the role of a column and a beam. That was the one criteria in the selection of objects for that work. The original meaning of these selected objects are different the way I see it and the act of putting disparate objects together breathes new life into them. It creates new encounters for all who see the result.  You collect things which seem to have no correlation to each other, and yet when you put them together, out come a certain cohesion that only you saw during the process of creating the work. Do you aim for the viewer to find and accept that same new meaning around the new object you’ve created? Or, do you encourage them to create their own when looking/experiencing the work? Even though we are looking at the same piece of art or object, how we interpret it differs according to one’s experience or cultural background. The things you know and the things you don’t also differ and that is beyond our control. Take for example my work Hakuchizu, where I poured white powder over various objects on a table. It was understood by some as the ashes of an atomic bomb or pollution from China. Some might say it’s a Japanese Zen garden, or a scene of winter, while others say it’s a fictional representation of the final days of the earth. Whether we’re aware of this or not, the notion of Variety will always co-exist in a space.  And, finally while on the subject of putting things together, which living artist are you hoping to collaborate with? Any artist whose language I do not speak.  Model of Something #8 Endless, Nameless (Constructions) opens on 20 September at the STPI gallery in Singapore and runs until 25 October. *Quote from the STPI website  ...

September 18, 2014

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