SINGAPORE: At next year’s Singapore Art Week (SAW), you can take a bicycle for a spin around Gillman Barracks or flex your muscles at a jungle gym.
These are just some of the unusual experiences that audiences can have at the annual visual art event, which will take place from Jan 11 to 22. Now on its fifth edition, SAW comprises around 80 programmes so far. These range from exhibitions and tours to film screenings and art fairs. Among the notable events taking place are the ongoing Singapore Biennale and the next instalment of Art Stage Singapore fair.
“When people say there’s nothing much happening in the arts, it’s just not true. If you take a consolidated view, there are many things that happen on a weekly basis,” said Low Eng Teong, National Arts Council's director for sector development (visual art), during a media preview on Tuesday (Nov 22).
Citing SAW as the perfect way to kick off Singapore’s consistently busy visual art calendar, he added: “In time to come, we hope that (January) will always be that time of the year when people look forward to something new and interesting.”
The logo for DXXXXD's No Regrets For Our Youth, which will feature an installation inspired by a jungle gym. (Photo: DXXXXD)
Among the offerings at SAW is the multimedia exhibition No Regrets For Our Youth. Organised by Singapore art collective DXXXXD, it examines today’s popular gym culture by transforming a music studio at Aliwal Arts Centre into a jungle gym of sorts, with other sculptures in the form of sporting equipment. There are also plans to hold bodybuilding and wrestling workshops.
“Gym culture usually envisions a utopian reality that has to do with one’s health and body. Nowadays, the purpose of the gym has changed and going to one has become a kind of lifestyle or vanity thing,” said Muhammad Izdi, one of the members of the collective.
Meanwhile, Gillman Barracks’ outdoor spaces will come alive with public artworks courtesy of the group show LOCK ROUTE.
Among these are a dozen bespoke sculptural bicycles created by Acit Salbini, Kilas and The Killer Gerbil, which one can use to cycle around the area - or simply admire when they are parked.
Curator Khairuddin Hori said the exhibition was partly inspired by the art enclave's former use as an army barracks and the idea of the route march that army recruits undergo during Basic Military Training.
Other works on display will include a huge mural and a sculpture by Los Angeles urban artist Cleon Peterson, who had previously worked with another famous urban artist, Shepard Fairey; a life-sized melting Volkswagen van courtesy of Austrian artist Erwin Wurm; and a pyramidal sculpture by artist Kirsten Berg, who is known for creating installations for the annual Burning Man Festival in the United States.
An installation by Kirsten Berg at Burning Man Festival in the United States. She will be creating a similar piece for LOCK ROUTE. (Photo: Kirsten Berg)
Elsewhere, a group show at Objectifs Centre For Photography And Film takes a look at the relationship between Batam and Singapore. Titled Fantasy Islands, the multimedia showcase will include works ranging from video to sound installations by Indonesian and Singaporean artists who have been traveling to Batam for the past eight months to do research.
“The two islands are very close yet their realities are very, very different,” said Dr Mitha Budhyarto, one of the show’s curators, who added that they are also exploring the idea of exhibiting the show in Indonesia. “In the 1970s, Batam was considered the Singapore of Indonesia. Currently, the popular imagination of it is that of an industrial, port city,” she said.
Other notable events during SAW include a solo show by Singaporean artist Amanda Heng at Singapore Tyler Print Institute, a site-specific performance by OH! Open House revolving around tigers, and an art tour of different sites in Singapore that were used as filming locations.
“One of the challenges is to get people to go out and see art,” said Low. “You can read about it, check it on the Internet, but there’s nothing like going to see the real thing. And that’s fundamentally what (Singapore) Art Week is all about.”
Untitled, Nongsa, a work by artist ila as part of Fantasy Islands. (Photo: ila)