One degree north of the equator, the island nation of Singapore has established itself as an economic hub in Southeast Asia, excelling in finance, technology, and commerce, and is now looking to conquer the world of art. The 54-year-old city-state has recently seen an influx in cultural capital, with international galleries opening and the complete overhaul of the former Supreme Court into the National Gallery. There is still a strong focus on art from the region, with most of the public institutions and a brand new fair, S.E.A. Focus taking place at Gillman Barracks, concentrating on Southeast Asian art.
GETTING AROUND Singapore is very easy, with numerous options to bring you from gallery to gallery. Public transportation on the bus or train (MRT) is easy to navigate but might require a bit of walking in the heat. If you'd prefer air-conditioned comfort for your whole trip, taxis, Gojeks and Grabs are easily found throughout the city.
There are many options of places to STAY, all at varying price points depending on location. Our recent favorite is the Warehouse Hotel, a stylish boutique hotel on the edge of the Singapore River.
Singapore is hot all year round, apart from bouts of monsoon weather in the middle and end of the year. The best time to GO is in January, to coincide with Singapore Art Week, which includes over 100 events over a two-week period.
One of the blocks at Gillman Barracks
Image courtesy of Gillman Barracks Programme Office
Built in 1936, these former colonial army barracks were repurposed to become a contemporary arts cluster, housing local and international art galleries, restaurants, a design retailer (Supermama) and more. This should be your first stop to get a condensed view of the Singapore arts scene within a scenic venue surrounded by lush greenery.
6 Lock Rd #02-09, Gillman Barracks
Image courtesy of Chan + Hori Contemporary
Recently relocated from the historic Raffles Hotel, and rebranded as Chan + Hori Contemporary, this local gallery aims to “provoke, challenge and stimulate” Singapore and Southeast Asia through thought-provoking and strongly curated exhibitions. With Angeline Chan and Khairuddin Hori, former curator at Palais de Tokyo, the gallery works closely with artists to further develop their practice.
Richard Koh Fine Art
47 Malan Road, #01-26, Gillman Barracks
Image courtesy of Richard Koh Fine Art
Richard Koh Fine Art has been in operation since 2005 and is regarded as a pioneer for introducing contemporary art to Malaysia and the region. Promoting an adventurous roster of emerging and established artists, the gallery regularly mounts exhibitions locally and abroad with a commitment to emerging practices and challenging media.
1 Lock Rd #01-02, Gillman Barracks
Image courtesy of FOST Gallery
FOST Gallery was founded in 2006 and has been one of the strongest supporters of Singaporean artists since then. One of the first galleries as you enter Gillman Barracks, FOST presents novel solo exhibitions by artists in various stages in their careers, such as John Clang, Nguan, Heman Chong and more.
22 Lock Road, #01-34, Gillman Barracks
Image courtesy of Mizuma Gallery
Executive Director Sueo Mizuma established Mizuma Art Gallery in Tokyo in 1994, and since the opening of Mizuma Gallery in Gillman Barracks in 2012, it aims for the promotion of Japanese artists in the region as well as the introduction of new and promising young talents from Southeast Asia to the international art scene. In 2014, the artist residency space “Rumah Kijang Mizuma” opened in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, to create a new vector of dialogue within Asia, by supporting exchanges between East Asia and Southeast Asia.
OTA Fine Arts
7 Lock Road, #02-13, Gillman Barracks
Image courtesy of Ota Fine Arts
Ota Fine Arts was founded in 1994 in Tokyo and has been a pioneer in the promotion of Japanese contemporary art since then. With the opening of their Singapore gallery in 2012, OTA has made an effort to create and promote collaborations with artists throughout the region, supporting artists working across a variety of media, including performance, video and sound.
Pearl Lam Galleries
9 Lock Road, #03-22, Gillman Barracks
Image courtesy of Pearl Lam Galleries
Recognized internationally as an important force in the art world for the past 20 years, Pearl Lam Galleries represents artists from all over the world and has been a vital player in the East/West dialogue. Pearl Lam has galleries in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, and works closely with renowned curators to present very strong programs whether it be solo shows, artistic projects or group exhibitions.
9 Lock Road, #02-22, Gillman Barracks
Image courtesy of ShanghART Gallery
ShanghART Gallery was established in Shanghai in 1996. It has since grown to become one of China’s most influential art institutions and a vital player in the development of contemporary art in China, representing over 40 pioneering and emerging artists, including DING Yi, Melati Suryodarmo, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Xu Zhen®, Yang Fudong, and Zeng Fanzhi. Established in Singapore in 2012, ShanghART Singapore is ShanghART Gallery’s first overseas gallery located in the contemporary arts cluster Gillman Barracks.
5 Lock Road, #01-06, Gillman Barracks
Image courtesy of Sullivan+Strumpf
One of the more recent additions to the arts cluster, Sullivan+ Strumpf is an Australian import with their main base in Sydney. They represent 29 artists from the Asia-Pacific region, and aims to provide a platform for artists to further develop their practice and gain exposure to the broader Southeast Asian arts community.
5 Lock Road, #01-05, Gillman Barracks
Image courtesy of Sundaram Tagore
Sundaram Tagore established his eponymous gallery in 2000 in New York City, with galleries opening in Hong Kong and Singapore subsequently. The gallery focuses on cross-cultural dialogues and exchanges that range from the visual arts, to performance art, film and music.
9 Lock Road, #02-23, Gillman Barracks
Image courtesy of Yavuz Gallery
Established in 2010, Yavuz Gallery focuses on contemporary art from the Asia-Pacific, and has a strong curatorial programme that is driven by the social significance of artists and their artworks.
150 Tyrwhitt Rd, 207563
Image courtesy of Art-2 Gallery
Established in 1991, Art-2 Gallery, the pioneer Singapore gallery, functions as a contemporary art gallery and as an art consultancy. Specialising in sculpture, paintings and ceramics, they promote a high standard of art from Singapore and the S.E.Asian region. Art-2 have been consultants for several worthy high profile art projects working from conception to installation of artworks.
Art Seasons Gallery
50 Genting Ln #03-02, Cideco Industrial Complex, 349558
Image courtesy of Art Seasons Gallery
Art Seasons Gallery was founded in 2001 with a mission to explore and promote contemporary Chinese and Asian art. Almost twenty years later, the gallery continues to present interesting works from contemporary artists, such as David Chan and Jia Aili.
39 Keppel Rd #03-04, Tanjong Pagar Distripark, 089065
Image courtesy of Gajah Gallery
Gajah Gallery opened in 1996, and now represents some of the region’s leading artists such as Yunizar and Ashley Bickerton. The gallery recently moved to a 6,000 sq ft warehouse space that has expanded the gallery’s ability to showcase the works of their impressive roster of artists.
12 Marina View #11-01 Asia square tower 2 Singapore 018961
Gallery Huue is making a comeback to Singapore's gallery scene in 2019, opening in February at a new location in Asia Square. In Korean, the word “Huue 휴 休” holds an artistic value of being in a restful and meditative state. They want their gallery to be a place where visitors can experience the meaning of the word by escaping the busy world to retreat into a relaxed atmosphere dedicated to art, tranquility, and beauty.
11 Upper Wilkie Road, Emily Hill, C2-5, S 228120
Image courtesy of Kult Gallery
Kult Gallery differs from most of the other commercial galleries on this list with its focus on urban and street art. It features works from local and international artists in a variety of media, from prints to zines, to t-shirts.
Aloft at Hermès
541 Orchard Rd, Liat Towers, Singapore 238881
Image courtesy of Aloft at Hermes
One of the Fondation d'entreprise Hermès' five art spaces around the world, Aloft at Hermès is a platform for contemporary artists to explore new expressive forms and to bring their creative dreams to life through original works created in situ. Each year, two artists are invited to interpret an annual exhibition theme that engages the public in an ongoing dialogue exploring key issues and new perspectives.
NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (NTU CCA Singapore)
Blk 43 Malan Rd, Gillman Barracks, 109443
Image courtesy of NTU CCA
NTU CCA Singapore is a national research center that can be found in Gillman Barracks, with a large space for exhibitions, research symposiums, as well as studios for artists-in-residence. Under the stewardship of the internationally-respected Ute Meta Bauer, the NTU CCA Singapore has produced a dynamic program of regional and international projects that consider and facilitate critical discourse in Southeast Asia and beyond.
Lvl 2, 41 Robertson Quay, 238236
Image courtesy of STPI
STPI, or the Singapore Tyler Print Institute, is a print workshop and contemporary art gallery that hosts internationally-renowned artists for residencies that focus on experimentation within the media of print and paper, making use of STPI’s extensive print facilities.
45 Armenian St, 179936
Image courtesy of The Substation
Housed in a former power substation built in 1926, The Substation was launched as Singapore’s first independent contemporary arts centre. Since its establishment in 1990, it has built a reputation for presenting pioneering and experimental arts programming.
Singapore Art Museum
71 Bras Basah Road,189555)
Image courtesy of Singapore Art Museum
Housed in a 19th century mission school, the Singapore Art Museum has built a strong collection of contemporary Southeast Asian art since its opening in 1996. The main museum building is currently under renovation until 2021, but their Queen Street Wing, dubbed SAM at 8Q, is just around the corner and remains open with ongoing exhibitions.
* SAM is open through Singapore Art Week 2019, but will be closed and under construction until 2020
6 Bayfront Ave, 018956
Image courtesy of ArtScience Museum
ArtScience Museum is located along the Marina Bay waterfront, in an iconic building designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie. As the name suggests, the museum explores the intersection of art, science, technology and culture through their exhibitions and programmes. A must-see is the museum’s permanent exhibition, ‘Future World: Where Art Meets Science’, filled with immersive installations by Japanese ultra-technologist art collective teamLab.
National Gallery Singapore
1 Saint Andrew's Rd #01–01
Image courtesy of National Gallery Singapore
The latest addition to Singapore’s public art museums is the National Gallery Singapore, housing a collection of modern art from Singapore and the Southeast Asian region. The museum’s architecture fuses the historical buildings of City Hall and the former Supreme Court with modern additions.
National Museum of Singapore
93 Stamford Road, 178897
Image courtesy of National Museum of Singapore
The oldest museum in Singapore, the National Museum Singapore not only presents exhibits relating to the history of Singapore, but also incorporates the works of contemporary artists, through visiting exhibitions, the Singapore Biennale, and their annual Night Festival.
120A Prinsep St, 187937
Image courtesy of DECK
DECK is a non-profit communal art space launched in 2014 that pushes the boundary of photography with curated year-round exhibitions. DECK cultivates the understanding of the medium through its research-based projects, and supports the community with its photobook library, school education, artist residency programmes, and analogue darkroom. DECK is the home to the biennial Singapore International Photography Festival, a platform for professional photographers in the region to meet.
155 Middle Rd, 188977
Image courtesy of Objectifs
Objectifs is a non-profit arts space that presents exhibitions, screenings, talks and workshops aimed at fostering dialogue and advancing the practice and appreciation of photography and film.
101 Desker Rd, Singapore 209623
Image courtesy of Supernormal
Supernormal is an independent art space and a project of design studio Modular Unit. Supernormal derives from a desire to provide a platform for young and emerging artists to show and develop work. What sets Supernormal slightly apart is its focus on artwork that explores the intersections between art, design and technology, one that aligns with Modular Unit’s interests.
3 Coleman Street, Peninsula Shopping Centre, 3rd Floor, Singapore 179804
Image courtesy of I_S_L_A_N_D_S
I_S_L_A_N_D_S exists as a linkway corridor connecting two shopping centres: it is a place of movement and transit. Visitors pass from one commercial space to the next, and the very format of display is one that is historically, keenly tied to advertising and conspicuous consumption. However, what makes I_S_L_A_N_D_S so effective is its subversion of the format of display, as an experimental platform for artists to test ideas and alternative means of exhibition-making.
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Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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