5 Stars: Art Reflects on Peace, Justice, Equality, Democracy and Progress
The Artling recently got a sneak preview of Singapore Art Museum’s newly-opened 5 Stars: Art Reflects on Peace, Justice Equality, Democracy and Progress exhibition. This exhibition provided the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) with the opportunity to commission five artistic legends of the Singapore art scene to create new work in response to the Golden Jubilee. The artists are Matthew Ngui, Suzann Victor, Ho Tzu Nyen, Zulkifle Mahmod along with art historian TK Sabapathy.
This is Matthew Ngui’s first new public work in 3 years. Ngui is a Singapore / Freemantle based artist and curator whose last huge project was the Singapore Biennale 2011. Ngui was invited to explore Democracy. Continuing his exploration of anamorphosis - a distorted perspective requiring the viewer to occupy a specific vantage point to reconstitute the image – Ngui invited 10 Singaporeans from different walks of life to sum up Democracy in a Singapore context in 50 words. Their words are painted across a forest of white poles. As you wander through the forest you try to piece together their responses. At certain vantage points you can make out a whole sentence. This is a neat and effective physical representation of the need to “walk in someone else’s shoes” before you can understand their viewpoint.
T.K. Sabapathy’s “Of Equal Measure” (2015), Books, mixed media, video and artworks
The TK Sabapathy room is a tribute, more than an art work, to Singapore’s Minister Mentor of Art History. He has mentored many of the curators and artists working in Singapore’s museums and is revered as a guide to the study of, and the need to study, art history. As Joyce Toh, the SAM curator, said “If you don’t know history you don’t know yourself”. Sabapathy’s latest academic project was a monograph of Kumari Nahappan so to end the chronological overview of his work, Nahappan was invited to create a conceptual portrait of Sabapathy. The work sees Nahappan departing from her usual palette of orange and red, instead working in blue, green and yellow. The yellow represents the deep knowledge of her subject. Overall this room is a powerful tribute.
Suzann Victor’s “Bloodline of Peace” (2015), Fresnel lenses, blood and metal pins
Suzann Victor’s work explores Peace. The installation has a soaring, cathedral-like impact on the space which seems appropriate given the theme. It involves a huge amount of hand craft and has been constructed to be agile which enables it to be installed to suit any architecture or space – almost like the works of El Anatsui. The work is constructed from small drops of blood contained within magnifying plates used by scientists. The blood was donated by diverse groups of Singaporeans who were interested in capturing the essence of the hard won peace of the second half of the 20th century. The combined impact of the personal commitment of the donors, the handicraft of the artist and challenges of blood as a biohazard leads to a work that succeeds on conceptual, aesthetic, material and craft-based levels.
Zulkifle Mahmod’s “Raising Spirits and Restoring Souls” (2015), 64-channel midi controller, solenoids, e-bows, amplifiers, piano/bass/guitar strings, copper pipes, midi player and others
The exhibition was curated by Joyce Toh, Tan Siuli and Louis Ho and runs from 2 October 2015 - 2 May 2016 .
For more information on the exhibition, please click here.
Singapore Art Museum
71 Bras Basah Road
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