I recently popped by the opening of Gilman Barracks in mid-Sep, Singapore’s latest art and lifestyle enclave housed in refurbished buildings set amongst tropical greenery that were formerly British military barracks dating back to the 1930s and most recently Gilman Village, a F&B cluster popular for its tranquil ambience and colonial feel.
The S$10 million 6.4 hectre development is envisioned as a one-stop destination for quality contemporary art from across Asia, and will provide about 4,200 sqm for art galleries when completed, along with another 4,800 sqm of space dedicated to arts-related activities such as artist studios, an art research center (Centre for Contemporary Art led by Nanyang Technological University) which will focus on artist residencies, research and exhibitions in addition to dining establishments. Gillman Barracks is jointly developed by Singapore government agencies in a bid to enhance Singapore’s standing as an Asian contemporary arts hub.
The art galleries pulled out all the stops for their opening shows, and among the luminaries who were at the opening night were Japanese pop artists Yoshitomo Nara and Hiroshi Sugito, Chinese painter Zhang Enli, Filipino installation artists Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan flown in by their representing galleries. Among the most expensive pieces seen were Painter & Model by Pablo Picasso priced at 4.2 million euros (S$6.7million) at Partners & Mucciaccia gallery; Miss Highland by cult artist Yoshitomo Nara (price undisclosed) at Tomio Koyama Gallery; and paintings and sculptures by Yayoi Kusama priced between US$285,000 and US$345,000 (S$348,000 and S$421,000) at Ota Fine Arts.
The location is definitely beautiful, but my friends and I felt that the galleries were a bit too spread out, so one may lose the feel of art shopping after a while. A useful tip when visiting – wear comfortable shoes (I brought home two blisters as souvenirs). It’s a nice, tranquil place to chill out though, that you may lose sense of being in Singapore. I can imagine coming here with my date or simply chilling over drinks with my girlfriends.
With Art Stage, Affordable Art Fair and now, Gilman Barracks established, it would be interesting to see how the art world responds to Singapore as Asia’s contemporary arts hub. It’s great to see how the government is beginning to take a serious stance towards the arts and livening up the Singapore arts scene with many art-related events such as the Night Festival, Children’s Season, Museum Open House, etc. as well as interesting public art. So even if you are not an art buyer, there’s always an arty-farty in all of us who will enjoy the (free) art around.
9 Lock Rd
Mon & Public Holidays: Closed
Tues to Sat: 11:00AM to 8:00PM
Sun: 10:00AM to 6:00PM
How to get there
Nearest Train: Labrador Park
Nearest Bus Stop: Opposite Alexandra Point (Buses 51, 57, 61, 93, 97, 97e, 100, 166, 175, 408, 963 or 963e)
By car: Turn in via Malan Road
In his latest solo show, Singaporean artist & filmmaker Green Zeng continues his examination of the construction and manipulation of history through a series of artworks inspired by Chinese school student activism of pre-and post-Independent Singapore and the educational reforms affecting Chinese schools.
Presenting a series of blackboards covered with silk-screened images of Chinese school uniforms, painted flags and texts in English, Chinese, and Malay, Zeng transforms the gallery into a temporary classroom and invites the viewer to join in a lesson discussing the changes in Chinese education and the struggle to retain one’s cultural and historical roots amidst the building of a new nation.
Chinese School Lessons
Solo exhibition by Green Zeng
27th September to 18th October 2012
Chan Hampe Galleries
Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade #01-20/21
328 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188719
Tel: +65 6338 1962
Open daily 11:00AM – 7:00PM
About Green Zeng
Born in 1972 in Singapore and educated at LASALLE College of the Arts, Green Zeng is a multi-disciplinary artist whose works encompass visual arts, theatre and film. Zeng’s practice revolves principally around Singaporean life, as well as issues that relate to history and society. He was a member of the experimental company Metabolic Theatre Laboratory, performing with the group in Singapore and Japan. He is currently the creative director of Singapore film production company Mirtillo Films, which he co-founded. He has directed many short films, some of which have been selected for international festivals including the Cannes Film Festival. His film Passenger was awarded the Encouragement Prize at the Akira Kurosawa Memorial Short Film Competition in Tokyo in 2006.
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.