With over 60 artworks on view at this year’s Singapore Biennale, it is too easy to miss out on some of the works. Here our 5 of the best works you might quite easily miss! Let us know which works are your favourite via Facebook or Twitter!
Kentaro Hiroki, Rubbish (2016)
Colour pencil on paper (8 pieces), Various dimensions
It is all too easy to walk past Japanese artist Kentaro Hiroki’s work and not even realise it. Hiroki has a specific, methodology of hand-copying everyday objects such as receipts, tickets and rubbish in 3D as part of way in which he documents his daily travel activities. He selects the objects according to this ability to reflect time and space, with each object being unique to localities he finds them in and imbued with the meaning of each of the communities they are found in. A discarded crisp packet or cigarette box, the negligible economic value of these items are replaced with a meaningfulness as an art object. These works of art that are in some sense ‘mirrors’ of reality are at once also a map of Hiroki’s personal journey.
Do Ho Suh, Gate (2003)
Silk and stainless steel tubes, 326.5 × 211.5 × 100 cm
Gate is part of Suh’s wider artistic technique of creating ghostly and ethereal structures of stainless steel tubes and translucent silk. His choice of medium highlights his focus on structural compositions of once-inhabited spaces and a commentary on dislocation and transformation. Gate is modelled after a gate at the artist’s family home, rendering it a poignant and personal memory.
Jiao Xingtao, The Unity of N Monuments (2016)
Cypress wood and copper (100 pieces), 45 x 34 x 34cm (each)
Jiao’s The Unity of N Monuments is a work that is located further afield than most of the other works at the Singapore Biennale. Displayed at the Asian Civilisation Museum, Jiao’s work mimic the mass-produced plastic stool chairs found all across China. Seen as isolated objects, they appear unremarkable, but Jiao gives them visual strength and a sense of monumentality The Unity of N Monuments. These stool revisits the tripartite relationship between the art object, the readymade and everyday objects that Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes addressed so many decades ago.
Han Sai Por, Black Forest 2016 (2016)
Wood and charcoal, Variable dimensions
Located in its own gallery on the top floor of the Singapore Art Museum, it is all too easy to neglect Black Forest 2016. This work perhaps lacks some of the flashier novelties of the other works at the Singapore Biennale, but is perhaps one of the stronger, more touching works. Looking at the towers of blackened wood, we immediately see the work at as a loss – the death of nature and its fragility, perhaps even our own inability to protect the world we live in. However, it speaks too, to the resilience of nature to withstand every imaginable catastrophe and that we can be less complicit in the rapid destruction of our landscape. To see more works by the artist, click here.
Subodh Gupta, Cooking the World (2016)
Found aluminium utensils, monofilament line and steel, 600cm (diameter)
Last, but certainly not least on our list is another work that you might miss, because of its location. Hanging from the foyer of the National Museum of Singapore is an installation by eminent contemporary Indian artist Subodh Gupta. The work is made of used aluminium vessels that are inscribed with personal histories, monumentalising the lives of people marginalised by life and history. To find out more about the work, you can read our interview with him here.