On 21 September 2018, Gillman Barracks celebrated its 6th Anniversary with their popular and regular Art After Dark event – a way to draw in crowds that might not regularly attend art events and exhibitions. Coinciding with Art After Dark, many of the galleries housed in Gillman Barracks would open new exhibitions and special programmes. Local bands The Pinholes, Tiramisu and Pleasantry were also invited to perform alongside a range of food and drink stalls that filled the carpark of Block 9 til late. Gillman Barracks, a visual arts cluster launched in September 2012, inhabits a former military barracks and aims to be a key site for the presentation and discussion of international and Southeast Asian art. International and regional galleries have chosen to house their galleries within this precinct, alongside public art festivals like DISINI as well as public engagement platforms like Playuem’s Children’s Centre for Creativity and Art Outreach to appeal to different audiences. During Art After Dark, performance, music, interactive art experiences and food options attracted both serious art lovers and casual viewers alike.
Here are some highlights of Asian contemporary art that caught our eye during Art After Dark:
Robert Zhao Renhui, Trying to Remember a Tree (iii) – The World will surely Collapse, 2018. Image courtesy of the author.
Robert Zhao Renhui, Trying to Remember a Tree (iii) – The World will surely Collapse, 2018. Image courtesy of ShanghART Singapore.
Robert Zhao Renhui, Trying to Remember a Tree (iii) – The World will surely Collapse, ShanghART Singapore.
In conjunction with Gillman Barracks’ 6th Anniversary x Art After Dark, ShanghART launched a special outdoor light box installation by Singaporean artist Robert Zhao Renhui, located next to Carpark B. Trying to remember a Tree (iii) – The World will surely Collapse consists of 14 large life-size black and white photographs of a large tree, fallen and on its side, and cut into several sections. Collapsed near the artist’s home, it was cut into sections as it is standard practice in Singapore, in order to make them easier to remove. This work speaks to Zhao’s practice which uses photography in various forms to investigate man’s relationship with nature, often questioning the truth of the depiction through its portrayal. In Trying to Remember a Tree (iii), the photographic sequencing of the tree does not necessarily match its physical sectioning – drawing into question artistic strategies of capturing and presenting such a subject, in itself an ‘artificial’ imposition of a certain point-of-view on nature. Previous presentations of this work have been in interior gallery environments, and this edition is particularly striking in its inhabitation of public space. Placed on the edge of a carpark, the installation is also impossible to view in its entirety and interacts with both the lush forest that it encroaches and the rows of cars that partially obscure the photographs. It also transforms when viewed by night, glowing against the darkness of the forest. In the day, its monochrome bleakness contrasts with the greenery of its surroundings. As the title suggests, Zhao’s attempts to remember trees have taken on various methods – his piece, Trying to Remember a Tree (2016) saw his attempt to photograph all the leaves on a young raintree – 28,107 leaves, to be exact. Here, it provokes viewers to consider the seeming impossibility of capturing a tree in its entirety; at the same time, many trees are felled every day for various purposes, especially in Singapore’s utilitarian policies, where nature, like many other things, is used for its functionality. Perhaps then, Zhao’s attempts at remembering opposes this utilitarianism, but via methods which put into doubt ‘objective’ methods of recording.
Trying to Remember a Tree (iii) – The World will surely Collapse runs until 23 June 2019 at 10 Lock Road, Gillman Barracks, Carpark B, Singapore 108938.
For more information, click here.
Installation view, Entang Wiharso: Hybrid Brain, Image Courtesy of Mizuma Gallery.
Entang Wiharso: Hybrid Brain, Mizuma Gallery.
Opening night fell on 19 September, with Mizuma Gallery presenting a solo exhibition by prominent contemporary artist Entang Wiharso to coincide with Art After Dark. Since 1997, Wiharso and his family have transited between his Indonesian studio in Yogyakarta and his American studio in Rhode Island, U.S., and the experiences and cultures of living in these two different countries have become integral parts of his identity, and are reflected in his work. In a previous interview with Artling, he describes his relationship with this ambiguity as such: “I travelled back and forth between Rhode Island and Yogyakarta, and America became my new home. Slowly the border between the first and second home became blurred. Both places are part of my identity.”
In Hybrid Brain, Wiharso’s works from both studios are intentionally presented, reflecting on his identity as an Indonesian or American artist as a product of what society defines or frames the individual to be. These competing notions of integration, alienation, assimilation and prejudice within varying environments manifest in this body of visually abstract paintings; they draw on the artist’s emotions and “mind notes” to erupt in tumultuous, vivid and multilayered paintings. This body of work for Hybrid Brain departs from Wiharso’s previous work, which also draws keenly on the artist’s personal experiences as well as his socio-political environment, but are more immediately figurative, often featuring figures, detailed landscapes and other symbolic elements. A cross-cultural feeding of imagery from both American and Indonesian references contribute to the richness of Wiharso’s work, and the slippages in identity and languages that are constantly occurring. This is also evocated by the title of the exhibition, where the hybridity of one’s experience of identity is translated into one’s physical and neurological makeup.
Entang Wiharso: Hybrid Brain runs until 21 October 2018 at Mizuma Gallery.
For more information, click here.
Installation photo of Kamin Lertchaiprasert, “ “ , Image Courtesy of Chan + Hori Contemporary, Singapore.
Kamin Lertchaiprasert, The Ground, Gillman Barracks. Image Courtesy of Chan + Hori Contemporary.
Kamin Lertchaiprasert, The Ground and accompanying exhibition “ " solo exhibition at Block 7
Part of DISINI’s many outdoor installations in Gillman Barracks which invites artists to activate the site by engaging with the collective and historical context of the Gillman area, Thai artist Kamin Lertchairprasert presents The Ground, located at the cul-de-sac near Block 37. While the 8m tall sculpture is hard to miss, it is located right at the edge of the road, framed by the Gillman forest. This outdoor installation is accompanied by a solo exhibition at Block 7 titled “ ", as part of DISINI Festival’s From the Studios series, and ties in with The Ground’s themes of art as a means to achieve a greater understanding of the self, nature and the world. The exhibition featured some of the artist’s recent works, including meditative paintings, sculptures, video installations and works on paper which reflect the artist’s investigation of these themes. Stemming from a Buddhist spiritual core, Kamin approaches art as a way to convey his searching of the meaning of life. The Ground is one of these works that reflect this spiritual quest – comprising of three papier-mâché sculptures in stacked transparent cases, it depicts firstly a man in meditation (the artist himself), a life-sized elephant, and a tree with bare branches. What is remarkable is that these large sculptures were created purely from the artist’s personal paper waste, accumulated over more than 18 years. The Ground observes the interdependence between man and nature; the paper waste representative of the products of excessive consumption, and the depiction of living beings encased in cargo-sized transparent cases as isolated and empty existences. The accompanying exhibition “ ", or Emptiness, provides a valuable context for Kamin’s works, presenting many various recent works that give a sense of his thought processes behind The Ground.
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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