Starlight Alchemy’s spectacular showcase of its multi-disciplinary flow arts at Singapore Night Festival 2015 combines a variety of aerial and large custom-made fire props, as well as LED technology performance props. Their performance tells of the exhilarating journey of reconciliation between Apollo from the world of Ethereal Light and Nuri from the world of Eternal Flame, through three 25-minute segments during the night. I am so proud we have such a great performance art group from Singapore :)
Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here features a series of handcrafted photographic and typography-based collages by one of Singapore’s most adored contemporary artists, Dawn Ng. Exploring the notion of “home”, the works are a tongue-in-cheek, visual documentary of present day Singapore compiled over a four-month period utilising photojournalism and interviews with locals.
By slicing phrases through large-scale photographs, the collages expose the cultural sentiments beneath one of the world’s most highly “case-studied” cities as it tells the ongoing story of a country in the making via humorous, provocative captions to everyday sights. The juxtaposition of image and text sets up a visual “peek-a-boo”, revealing hidden socio-commentaries on the tensions, idiosyncrasies, and hopes unique to Singapore. Beneath the canvas of an image of something so close to home, the accompanying statement brings to light various social, economic and political tensions of our country. Having spent 10 years shuttling between Singapore, Paris and New York, Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here is core to Ng’s obsession with the notion of home, identity, and belonging.
I got to know Dawn when I was working with her on an exhibition of her most well-known art installation – a ginormous white rabbit balloon sculpture Walter (I liked it so much I asked Dawn if we could create a female Walterina as a mate for him, haha). I appreciate the tongue-in-cheek character of Dawn’s work; it is matter-of-fact enough for the man-in-the-street to understand yet carries a relevant social statement while being able to bring a smile to the audience’s face. More importantly, Dawn brings your attention to the beauty in ordinary everyday things which is invisible to most people. Not losing the sense of wonder about the simple things in life makes us more appreciative of what we have around us instead of incessantly working towards material gains which may bring only a moment of fulfillment.
Dawn’s latest work got me thinking – is everything I ever wanted right here? While there is always the desire to do better in life, get a bigger house, own a car, work overseas for a few years, travel more, lose a few more kilos, buy more Birkin bags and the list goes on, at least for now I could not pinpoint what I was really lacking. I am blessed with an awesome and caring chum like Darren (I wouldn’t want it any other way), loving parents, a God who watches over me (trust me, I get into loads of mischief with my antics), a comfortable home with a room Darren thinks it’s more of a shopping mall, the ability to be financially independent and go on travel adventures, and fun friends like Ben, Calvin, Darren Ang, Darren Chin, Darren Sim (I seem to get along REALLY well with all the Darrens!), Dawn, Maddie, Mark Ong, Mint and so many more. These days, I find more pleasure in listening to the sound of sea waves and feeling the cool breeze caress my cheek, than acquiring another material possession. I guess we need to take a step back from our busy lives at some point in time, to question ourselves what it is that we are seeking for in life. The answer may be unexpectedly simple. Perhaps there is one thing lacking for me – the inability to express how thankful I am for all the things that I am, and to be.
Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here
Solo exhibition by Dawn Ng
7th to 24th September 2012
Chan Hampe Galleries
Raffles Hotel Arcade Units #01-20/21
328 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188719
Tel: +65 6338 1962
Open daily 11:00AM – 7:00PM
About Dawn Ng
With a background in studio art and journalism at Georgetown University and the UCL Slade School of Fine Art, Dawn Ng spent 10 years across Singapore, Paris and New York straddling art and advertising. Her time in advertising is reflective in the pop cultural resonance of her personal work and its attempt to toy with the obvious to tell the truth.
To date, Dawn has worked across a breadth of mediums, motives and scale ranging from collage, photography, illustration, light and installations for both private galleries, as well as the Singapore Art Museum. In 2009, I FLY LIKE PAPER GET HIGH LIKE PLANES, an installation at the BlackOut art show, received much press across Channel News Asia and the Business Times, who coined Dawn the new tour de force of the local art scene. Following which, her solo, WALTER, garnered more media attention for its controversial guerilla content and form, and was later acquired into the permanent collection of the Singapore Art Museum.
A range of Dawn’s collage, light and space installations, such as SUPERHIGH, HELLO STRANGER, MASSIVE ATTACK, and THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER ON THE INSIDE, have since been commissioned and curated by the Singapore Art Museum. Dawn was the youngest artist to be commissioned to design the museum’s building façade in 2010 for the Art Garden show. Her latest works THE SLEEP SERIES was be exhibited in the Jenkins Johnson Gallery group show in New York, while 31 KINDS OF WONDERFUL in Paris was part of the Future Proof Show at the Singapore Art museum. Dawn continues to work on a public art commission for the Singapore Art Museum in 2012.
A nocturnal extravaganza of light art, spectacular aerial performances, music and dance is set to wow visitors at the 5th edition of the Night Festival. The events will take place on the public green spaces of the Singapore Management University, National Museum of Singapore (NMS), Singapore Art Museum (SAM), SAM at 8Q, School of the Arts (SOTA) and The Substation. All museums including The Peranakan Museum and The Philatelic Museum will open till 2am as part of the festival and what’s even better – all visitors can enjoy complimentary late night admission– sounds like an adventure!
Held over two weekends on 24-25 August and 31 August – 1 September, Night Festival 2012 showcases 74 acts, out of which 66 are local. The most prominent local artwork would be that of Brian Gothong Tan’s light projection onto the façade of the National Museum of Singapore. He aims to bring Singapore’s historical buildings to life – through his experimental film “WE THE PEOPLE”. Also look out for acrobats from Another highlight Circus Swingapore, the only school here that teaches Circus Arts (I didn’t know we had that!).
The most exciting part for me would be Night Lights, an outdoor showcase of spectacular light installations at Singapore Art Museum , SAM at 8Q and School of the Arts. These artworks were first presented at Fête des Lumières in Lyon, France which hosts the world’s grandest and oldest light art festival in the world. It’s a highly-coveted festival for light artists to exhibit at, so we can expect world-class standards here.
I was there both days, and there was so much to see I understood why the festival went on till 2am. Visitors sat on the grass, transfixed by the light projections on SAM and NMS, or simply merry little figures come alive on the steps of SOTA. A pity about the hot weather, else I would have thought I was on the streets of Lyon watching a beautiful art performance.
For the first time, Armenian Street will be closed on the second festival weekend (31 August – 1 September 2012), from 8pm to 2am due to planned programmes for the public along the street. I’ll certainly be back next weekend to catch this, and Argentinian group Fuerzabruta’s aerial spectacular. And loading up on the coffee to last me thought the night.
Night Festival 2012
Fri & Sat, 24 & 25 Aug and 31 Aug & 1 Sep | 7:30pm – 2am
SAM, SAM at 8Q, School of the Arts (SOTA), and various locations
I popped by my friend Ben’s art gallery for Vincent Leow’s latest art exhibition opening. I was quite looking forward to the show cos’ Vincent the “enfant terrible” of the Singapore art community is a pivotal figure in the alternative contemporary art scene in Singapore. His multi-discipline art is nothing short of thought-provoking – it has been known primarily for the provocative and aggressive which continually explores issues of identity, memory, mortality and its legacies. To me, he is definitely the Jean Paul-Gaultier of the Singapore art scene. One of his more memorable artworks for me would be his recent man-dog silver sculptures Andy – based on his black mongrel and named after Andy Warhol – which were exhibited at the Singapore Art Museum as part of an exhibition.
Vincent Leow: Resembling Imaginary Creatures
27 July to 21 August 2012
Download the exhibition catalogue
Chan Hampe Galleries
Raffles Shopping Arcade
328 North Bridge Road
About Vincent Leow
Singapore’s leading contemporary artist Vincent Leow (b. 1961) Celebrated as an enfant terrible of the Singapore art community, Vincent Leow is a pivotal figure in the alternative art scene in Singapore. His practice parallels the development of contemporary art in Singapore; and as a painter, he is regarded as a remarkable imagist who has dipped into an astonishing range of images from popular culture, literature, cinema, politics and the mass media.
Leow stands as a central figure in the history of the ‘art collective’ in Singapore. One of the early members of The Artists Village (TAV) , founded in 1988 by the iconic Tang Dawu (b 1943), Leow subsequently helmed other artist-run spaces. Co-founding Utopia (now defunct), Leow is also the founder of Plastique Kinetic Worms (PKW), a leading alternative artist-run space in Singapore. He was also selected to represent Singapore at the 2007 Venice Biennale.
Engaging a range of media that has manifested in performances, installations, sculptures, digital and mixed-media works, Leow’s practice has maintained the element of anarchy and rebellion so critical to alternative practices. He acquired public notoriety with his 1992 performance in which he drank his own urine, and another dressing up in a suit made of fake dollar bills. The art gesture was later elaborated upon through the packing and sale of bottles of urine – epitomizing Leow’s artful handling of ‘underground, subversive’ practices with a savvy understanding of the mechanics of market consumption and its desire for and absorption of infamy, scandal and controversy.
His earlier paintings formed the emergence of unapologetic aggression, blatant sexuality and emotional temperament in the field of painting in Singapore. Leow’s later paintings assumed several shifts, particularly during and after his art studies in the USA (1991) on several art scholarships.
Some of Leow’s works in the 1990s were marked by an ‘urban street style’ and arguably of Neo-Surrealism; others carry a Pop-art sensibility, a taste for kitsch and always a highly individual visual vocabulary – prompting art writers to describe his practice as epitomizing ‘post-modern’ visual strategies.