Women: New Portraits By Annie Leibovitz

Raw, powerful, and unfinished is Annie Leibovitz’s latest exhibition. It’s a must-go.

Annie Leibovitz needs no introduction. After all, the 66-year-old American photographer – whose photographs has graced the covers of Vanity Fair and Rolling Stones umpteenth times – is possibly as renowned as the countless number of politicians, celebrities and popular figures she has photographed over the past four decades. First published as part of the 1999 book project ‘WOMEN’, the new exhibition showcases new additions to the project and reflects changes in the roles of women today.

Singapore is the fourth stopover in Leibovitz’s 10-city international exhibition tour (We are so fortunate!). The exhibition was in the words of Leibovitz, ‘anti-museum’ as evident from the choice of venue (Tanjong Pagar Railway Station) and also features photos of high-achieving women such as Nobel Prize winner and activist Malala Yousafzai, Myanmar politician Aung San Suu Kyi, and activist Gloria Steinem.

PHOTO: ubs.com

annie3

annie1

Leibovitz was not shy to call her exhibition a “work-in-progress just like all women are” (ST, 30 April 2016). It is easy to see why. Don’t expect to walk into an exhibition space all jazzed up like her previous exhibition held at the ArtScience Museum in 2014 – because it isn’t. The main exhibition hall consists of just a dozen LED TVs and less than a dozen display panels featuring her new photos.In two adjacent rooms, visitors can also view Leibovitz’s personal collection of books featuring her own photographs as well as those by other critically acclaimed photographers.

I made my way to the exhibition on the opening day with high hopes of meeting Leibovitz in-person but was told that she had already made her way to Hong Kong – oh bummer! What I really like about the exhibition was its raw, unpretentious and unfinished presentation. Even the portraits taken were of these high-achieving women in their natural setting – a step away from the glamourous shots Leibovitz is known for. What is left is the silent confidence and power of the women immortalised in photo.

PHOTO: theguardian.com | Malala Yousafzai taken by Annie Leibovitz and part of the WOMEN series.

PHOTO: pinterest.com | Aung San Suu Kyi taken by Annie Leibovitz and part of the WOMEN series.

PHOTO: racked.com | John Lennon and Yoko Ono, taken by Annie Leibovitz for Rolling Stone on the day Lennon was shot.

PHOTO: vanityfair.com | Demi Moore, taken by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair 1991 before everybody started copying this idea.

Visitors also have the opportunity to flip through Leibovitz’s US$2,500 Sumo-sized book containing photos from her illustrious 4-decade career. I flipped through all 476 pages of it. It was awesome.

To some, Leibovitz may simply be photographing and documenting famous personalities. But in my opinion she is every bit of a personality, and even an artist if I can put it that way. The exhibition is free and I highly recommend everyone to check it out. Leave your DSLRs at home though, photographing the photos are not allowed with the exception of camera phones.

But if anything, this exhibition is far from complete. I look forward to Leibovitz’s additions of new women at the next exhibition in the coming decade. RW

WOMEN: New Portraits Annie Leibovitz

Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

Opens 29 April to 22 May 2016

Annie Leibovitz’s most enduringly popular series of photographs ‘WOMEN’ was published in 1999. The new exhibition WOMEN: New Portraits reflects the changes in the roles of women today. In addition to the new photographs, the exhibition includes work from the original series as well as other photographs taken since.

Ticket Pricing: Free

Web Link: WOMEN: New Portraits Annie Leibovitz

Affordable Art Fair: A Peculiar Exhibition

Interesting, and otherwise unusual artworks can all be found in the 2016 Spring Edition of Affordable Art Fair.

Held once again at the F1 Pit Building from 21 to 24 April, this year’s Affordable Art Fair showcases an assortment of artworks from 41 local and international galleries representing 300 artists.

As with past year’s theme, the objective of the biannual exhibition was to make contemporary art accessible to the general public. Find artworks from paintings and sculptures to photography priced between S$100 to S$10,000. Also in line with this is the popular Charity Feature Wall ‘Let Art Speak’ which showcases artworks priced at S$500 – half of the monies raised goes to charity partner Woodbridge Hospital Charity Fund. Catering to both the young and old, there are plenty of art tours for the adults and hands-on workshops for the little ones.

Despite just returning from an overseas trip on Saturday and nursing a [really] bad cough, I decided to head down to review Affordable Art Fair on the last day nevertheless (hence, I was not in top form when visiting the exhibition).

IMG_3143-7

IMG_3132-3

A visitor admiring an artwork by Bui Van Hoan.

I love this oil-on-canvas paintings (~S$7,000) by Vietnamese artist Bui Van Hoan (above). There does not seem to be anything going on in the painting above but if you look closer, you can see Bui’s subject (a fisherman) subtly placed in the background. According to Bui’s bio published by representing gallery ArtBlue Studio, Bui’s work is inspired by his serene and peaceful approach to life, often referred to in Vietnamese as ‘Thien’, roughly translated as a particular Vietnamese school of Zen Buddhism.

 

26607633986_59da237162_z.jpg

PHOTO: AAF | Visitors getting introduced to Gary Pereira’s artwork

Why wouldn’t anyone want to glaze out into beautiful landscapes? English artist Gary Pereira makes this possible, transporting us to his hometown in Norwich England through his ‘window’ paintings. Pereira is inspired from the waves and dunes of his native Norfolk coast. Pereira is represented by UK-based gallery Quantum Contemporary Art and is priced around S$3,000.

 

PHOTO: Pagesdigital.com | ‘Asphyxiate’ | Photograph on Print | Ted O’Donnell & Nicki Lee

Australian artists Ted O’Donnell and Nicki Lee prove that two is indeed better than one through this utterly gorgeous photography series ‘Asphyxiate’. A collaborative piece between the two, Lee dons the flowers in colours and emotions while O’Donnell captures that in one single shot – no retakes as I was told by O’Donnell. Obsessed with the rhythmic movement of nature and passion, the two were first inspired by Robert Browning romantic-tragic poem,  ‘Porphyria’s Lover’. Interestingly, the two lovers first met at a organic fruit and vegetable store in Spring 2011. Comes in editions of 10 or 20, and priced at approximately S$2,500.

PHOTO: Barnabashuang.com | ‘Wilton’ | Acrylic on Canvas | Monica Dixon

I love this simple painting that exudes serenity by American artist Monica Dixon. Dixon is represented by Singapore based art gallery, Barnabas Huang.

In my opinion, the most important mindset an art buyer should bring to an exhibition is that of whether we like the painting, and whether we are comfortable with these paintings as decorative pieces in our homes. Every art connoisseur and expert agree that we should never buy art sorely for the potential investment value, or simply because we were intrigued by it at the whim of the moment.

26028529054_f54b840ac2_z

PHOTO: AAF | Featured artist, Max Zorn creates stunning lightbox artworks using nothing but packing tapes and a scalpel.

IMG_3126-2

26028453544_05cb7c2acf_z

PHOTO: AAF | A great place to see beautiful people.. I mean art.

That said, I do question AAF’s curatorial direction. While there are some interesting artworks exhibited, it is puzzling how some artworks actually make the cut to exhibit at the AAF to begin with. Some of the artworks go from peculiar to downright awful. I cannot imagine people putting [some of these] artworks in their homes. Similarly, I was not very impressed by the artworks presented at the Charity Feature Wall (S$500 artworks) – but it could also be because the nicer artworks have previously been snapped up by art buyers.

Maybe I am not sophisticated enough to appreciate the exquisiteness of these artworks, but I do feel that the AAF curatorial team should step up a notch in the choosing of galleries and artworks to be represented here. After all, visitors may flock to AAF to find affordable artworks, they should not have the feeling that the artworks presented are in any way substandard to the likes of bigger art shows like Art Stage and Singapore Contemporary Art Show (see my review here).

26607571276_e3aab2d389_z

PHOTO: AAF | Fun art tours for the children

26634177735_e70e3c9045_z

PHOTO: AAF | Art buying starts early for this young one.

 

Amazingly, I was told by AAF insiders that some of these questionable artworks were bought up by art buyers very quickly. Well, whatever rocks your boat.

Overall, I do feel that AAF is a good place for new art enthusiasts to get acquainted with art and to understand the various art forms that they either like or dislike. Art collectors may also find one or two artworks that they fancy. Because of its ‘affordable’ branding, artworks found at the AAF are generally cheaper than those exhibited at other Singapore art fairs. But don’t write off a visit to AAF just yet, you might just unearth an exquisite piece of art there. RW

Disclaimer: Reuel Writes attended the Affordable Art Fair on media pass. However, Reuel Writes retains full editorial direction of this blog entry.

Exclusive: Interview with Adrian Pang

Reuelwrites interviews theatre extraordinaire Adrian Pang on life after MediaCorp, his role as LKY, and his new play about autism.

Turning 50 last January, Adrian Pang is unstoppable. Nailing his biggest role as the [late] Mr Lee Kuan Yew in The LKY Musical and starring in Hollywood film Blackhat just last year, Pang seems to be doing everything right.

But there were moments of doubts and struggles even for undoubtedly one of Singapore’s most recognisable and talented actor. Reuelwrites interviews Pang on life after MediaCorp and his new play, FALLING.

Directed by Pang and his wife Tracie, Pangdemonium’s FALLING tackles the taboo topic of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with brutal honesty, challenging its audience to immerse themselves and empathise with a family dynamic dictated by autism. For more info, visit the link hereRW

RW: Hi Adrian, thank you so much for accepting this interview! I’m a big fan of your work in theatre. You’ve been very busy in 2015, isn’t it? From directing and acting in theatre (Circle Mirror Transformation, Tribes, Chinglish, The LKY Musical) to starring in films (The Faith of Anna Waters, Blackhat), how do you manage [such a busy] schedule like this [and still find time for your family]?

AP: My life is all about work and family. They are my two obsessions, and they keep me sane and make me feel alive. I have actually very little time and energy for anything else. And it works out well because my work with Pangdemonium is a shared thing with my wife Tracie, and my two boys Zack and Xander also both love the theatre, so as a family we are individually and collectively invested in it in every way. 

RW: In 2010, you made an announcement that surprised many – that you would leave MediaCorp and start your own drama company. Was it a big risk on your part then? In hindsight, what did you learn from the past six years of running Pangdemonium? If given a choice, would you have walked down the same path again?

AP: After working as a freelance actor in the UK for nine years, coming back to Singapore to become a full-time employee of a TV station was itself a big risk. And after the next nine years working for the TV station, it was an even bigger and scarier risk to say goodbye to a regular income, to start a new business that was not just any regular business, but a theatre company of all things. In Singapore.

In the middle of a global financial crisis. Six years down this very bumpy, winding, pot-holey road, I’m happier now as an actor, as a husband, as a father, and as a person than I’ve ever been. I’m lucky to be doing what I love and loving what I do, and in spite of all the challenges big and small that we face, I love this life and I every day I am filled with gratitude. If I could do it all again, I would have started on this road sooner.

RW: The Straits Times calls your portrayal of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew in The LKY Musical ‘a stirring performance’. Now that the dust has settled, how did you feel about your role, LKY and the musical after taking on the role of arguably the most important public figure of Singapore?

AP: Apart from my work with Pangdemonium, I’m also a jobbing actor for hire, and the offer of the LKY gig was something that I was able to fit into my schedule in between Pangdemonium’s shows, so it was a very pragmatic decision to take it on. Of course because of the very nature of this specific role, there were all kinds of baggage and pressure and expectations that came with it, so I had to shut all that out, and just get down to doing my job.

I’m just relieved to have survived it intact – although I almost didn’t the night I ran into the underside of a metal staircase backstage and did the last twenty minutes of that performance with blood streaming down my face. Politics, eh?

RW: I understand that you are working with local autism associations to produce ‘Falling’, Pangdemonium’s second theatre production for 2016… Could you tell us a little about this new play that you are directing and starring in? What did you learn about autism both the good and the bad?

AP: First of all, the autism spectrum is so wide that no two persons with autism are alike, and one person with autism cannot be representative of the condition. And a lot of the time, the person with autism is so much the focus that their caregiver becomes the one to suffer in silence. Most families untouched by special needs will never have a clue about the hell that these families live through day by day. And they get so little support or even basic understanding from the public and even friends and extended family members.

Very often, an individual with autism can really test the patience and endurance of his/her caregivers, and FALLING demonstrates how a family can be pushed to the edge of despair and desperation. And what happens in the play may make some people feel uncomfortable or even disturbed, but this is the reality for some families.

And what is most remarkable and very real is that this family in FALLING (like so many real families in similar situations) is soldiering on, with bruises but also with resilience, with tears but also with a sense of humour, and with pragmatism but also with hope. And through it all, loving unconditionally. They really are heroes.

RW: You staged Tribes – a play that dealt with the theme of deafness – last year. This year, there’s Falling that looks into the world of the autistic. Are we seeing a trend here?

AP: Yes, if you look at our body of work over the last few years, the so-called “trend” is to tell stories that affect us all in ways that we perhaps don’t realise should affect us, stories that are relevant and resonant to our community that we are perhaps not even aware of, stories that show us another side of life that we perhaps choose to ignore, stories that celebrate struggle, survival, compassion, empathy, and life itself, stories that make great theatre and at the same time open our eyes and minds and hearts, that make us give a damn about someone and something else apart from ourselves and our lot, to dare to change what we feel needs changing, and be thankful for the good in our lives. That is Pangdemonium’s mission.

RW: Finally, tell us in your own words why Singaporeans should catch Falling?

AP: This story needs to be told to as many people as possible because – apart from it being a brilliant family drama about unconditional love – we need to get the message out there that there are individuals in our community living with autism who need our understanding and acceptance, and our genuine, tangible efforts to help them assimilate into our society. At the same time, and perhaps just as importantly, their caregivers need much more empathy and support. FALLING is really a unique piece of theatre that we hope will reach out to everyone and make a difference.

FALLING

KC Arts Centre

Opens 13 May to 5 June 2016

Tami and Bill are ordinary parents doing their best to bring up their two teenage kids – Lisa, 16, full of attitude and angst; and Josh, who demands extraordinary attention, because he’s an 18-year-old boy with severe autism. Family life is a precarious balancing act revolving around Josh, his routines, his obsessions, and the rigid set of rules that have been created for them to get through each day.

When this delicate balance is shattered by the arrival of a visitor, impossible choices have to be made, and it literally becomes a matter of life and death for this family. FALLING is an electrifying and enlightening family drama that shatters unspeakable taboos, explores the lives of a misunderstood and marginalised minority in our society, and examines the meaning of unconditional love.

Ticket Pricing: $30 – $50

Web Link: FALLING

[Giveaway] Shakespeare in the Park – Romeo & Juliet

Win tickets and jio your Romeo or Juliet to watch Shakespeare’s most iconic play.

“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love and I’ll no longer be a Capulet. Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this? ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy: thou art thyself, though not a Montague.”
– Juliet to Romeo, Romeo & Juliet (William Shakespeare, 1591)

Oh the words of Shakespeare like fine wine. After last year’s hit play (The Tempest), the folks from Singapore Repertory Theatre are back with Romeo & Juliet, their 9th Shakespeare in the Park production. 2016 is also a special year as the world from all over over commemorate the 400th death anniversary of William Shakespeare, his life, works and contribution to literature.

Romeo & Juliet will be performed on the Fort Canning Park lawn and the public can purchase 7.30pm show tickets from 27 April to 22 May. Ticket prices start from S$40 (for information on ticket prices, click here). Remember to bring your own picnic mats, snacks, canapes and an umbrella for good measure.

The leading roles will be played by Thomas Pang (Tribes) and Cheryl Tan (Beauty World, Red Riding Hood). While I didn’t catch Tan in Beauty World as I was recovering from my surgery last year, Pang did a phenomenal job as a damaged and deaf individual in Tribes by Pangdemonium (my review here).

For the uninitiated, Romeo & Juliet tells of the tragic love story of two star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Despite hailing from rivaling families, the two falls hopelessly in love with each other. But that love was not to be and ultimately ends in tragedy.

Isn’t it funny how we would invest time and money into something we used to hate? I remembered reading Romeo & Juliet for my literature studies back in high school and hating it so badly.

In any case, I have a pair of 5 May (7.30pm, Thursday) tickets worth S$116 to give away to my readers!

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Like this post on Facebook/Instagram

  2. This year is William Shakespeare’s __th death anniversary. Submit your answer in the comments.

Giveaway ends this Sunday at 11.59pm. The winner will be chosen at random and my decision is final. This is a golden opportunity to ask your Romeo / Juliet out, so don’t miss it!

Note: This giveaway is made possible by the good people from Singapore Repertory Theatre. I do not receive any monetary remuneration for this.

Shakespeare in the Park – Romeo and Juliet

Fort Canning Park

Opens 27 April to 22 May 2016

Brought to you by the company that has captivated thousands each year with its successful productions of The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing.

Spread your picnic blanket under the stars and relish in the greatest love story ever told – Romeo & Juliet.

Ticket Pricing: $40 – $85

Web Link: Shakespeare in the Park – Romeo and Juliet

2016 Prudential Eye Awards Review

 

PHOTO: Courtesy of ArtScience Museum | Artificial Theater-The Leader (2011-2014) | Photo Rag | Photography (Finalist) | Zhang Wei

The 3rd edition of the annual awards is centered around the issues of industralisation and globalisation.

Held at the ArtScience Museum, the 2016 Prudential Eye Awards which runs from 16 January to 27 March 2016 is part of the Global Prudential Eye Programme and a key highlight of Singapore Art Week. The awards enable the work of emerging Asian artists to reach audiences and receive international exposure.

15 Asian artists were shortlisted to present their art in the categories; Digital/Video, Installation, Painting, Photography and Sculpture. Awards were presented to winners of each category and overall best emerging artist on 19 January 2016.

Prudential Eye Awards should not be confused with last year’s Prudential Singapore Eye exhibition. While both are under the Prudential Eye Programme, the latter was [probably] a one-off major exhibition focused on Singapore’s art scene and her local artists.

My Review

Head slide shumon ahmed   metal graves 1

PHOTO: Courtesy of Prudential Eye Awards | Metal Graves 1 (2009) | Photographic print on archival fine art paper | Photography (Winning Entry) | Shumon Ahmed

Before the infamous Bangladesh ship-breaking exposé by National Geographic, Shumon Ahmed is. The Dhaka-based artist explores the modern metropolis he calls home through the fusion of video, photography and text in this photography series. While the country surges ahead to keep up with the world’s economy, there are locals involved in backbreaking and dangerous underpaid jobs such as ship-breaking. These people are also compensated with the bare minimum, thus trapped in a vicious poverty cycle.

Head slide zhang wei artificial theater big star marilyn monroe brosnan

PHOTO: Courtesy of Prudential Eye Awards | Artifical Theater-Big Star, Marilyn Monroe (2014) | Photo Rag | Photography (Finalist) | Zhang Wei

Russian president Vladimir Putin posing for a photo? The late Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn captured on camera? Nope, there are probably several dozen individuals [facial features] represented here. No doubt one of the more striking exhibit, Artificial Theater is the work of Chinese artist Zhang Wei. Zhang assembled and collaged the parts of the real ordinary performers’ bodies using ‘more than 300 ordinary Chinese faces’ which he has collected in the past. Yet while every ‘performer’ plays his or her role in this virtual portrait, Zhang calls it ‘superficial, temporary, or even meaningless’.

Head slide svay sareth warning house 2013 ongoing found materials dimensions variable

PHOTO: Courtesy of Prudential Eye Awards | Warning House (2013-Ongoing) | Found Objects | Sculpture (Winning Entry) | Sareth Svay

How Cambodian artist Sareth Svay was introduced to art was rather interesting. Whilst taking refuge in a refugee camp, Svay met a French volunteer who was teaching the art subject. The rest is history as they say. Recounting his [country’s] past and subtly challenging political ideologies in his art, Svay constructs a structure made entirely of local found objects. Suffice to say, the ‘house’ in each exhibition is different depending on the found materials available.

Head slide manish nai billboard series  number 4  epson enhanced matt  ultra chrome k3  size 36 h x 34.5 w inch  edition number 2 3

PHOTO: Courtesy of Prudential Eye Awards | Untitled, Billboard Series, Number-4, Edition Number- 2_3 (2014) | Epson Enhanced Matt, Ultra Chrome | Painting (Winning entry) | Manish Nai

Mumbai is India’s most populated city and is also home to the most number of millionaires and billionaires in the Motherland. Billboards of all sorts of dimensions are literally everywhere as companies fight for a share of the consumer pie. But Indian artist Manish Nai is more interested in the billboards in their ‘downtime’, contemplating his country’s current state of socio-economic progress in that process.

Head slide letters old lady

PHOTO: Courtesy of Prudential Eye Awards | Letters from Panduranga (2015) | Video (Winning Entry) | Trinh Thi Nguyen

The essay film, made in the form of a letter exchange between two filmmakers, was inspired by the fact that the Vietnamese government is to build Vietnam’s first two nuclear power plants in Ninh Thuan, right at the spiritual heart of the Cham people, threatening the survival of this ancient matriarchal Hindu culture that stretches back almost two thousand years. The film also reflects on the legacy of war and on-going colonialisms; and landscape and portrait, documentary and fiction, art and ethnography, as methods of working and their limitations in accessing the other cultures, peoples, experiences, as well as history and the past. (Artist statement)

Honestly, I was expecting a little more from the exhibition. While these works are representative of the artists’ ideals and to that of their country, I found it difficult to connect with the artworks. Perhaps I was looking to be ‘wowed’ by the ‘edginess’ of the artworks, or to be primed emotionally to connect with the art and their underlying stories. Neither happened and I found it a tough sell to give this exhibition a two thumbs up.

Of course, the exhibits presented here are not really commercial in nature, but I left the exhibition whilst found wanting. Interestingly, those thoughts led me to a few questions of my own.

Should we attend an exhibition with the intent to connect, to sympathise – or even to pity – with the artist and their country of origins – assuming their art explores local themes and issues?

If so, what should be the outcome? A change in attitude towards the said? Or taking some form of action? Or more often than not, status quo?

Are those feelings and thoughts superfluous, hypocritical and/or exploitative?

Must contemporary art have ‘shock value’ in order to ascertain its worth as a contemporary work of art?

In any case, I thought that Prudential Eye Awards was definitely an eye-opener and worth a visit. Be sure to take your time to go through this rather cozy exhibition. Maybe you might find something that I missed. RW

PRUDENTIAL EYE AWARDS EXHIBITION

ArtScience Museum

Opens 16 January to 27 March 2016

The Prudential Eye Awards return to Singapore for a third edition. The annual Awards celebrate emerging contemporary artists from across Greater Asia and highlight the breadth, range and diversity of the works created by these artists. This year’s 15 featured artists include Singapore finalist Robert Zhao in the category of Best Emerging Artist Using Photography. The Awards Ceremony will take place on 19 January, while the accompanying exhibition will run until 27 March.

Ticket Pricing: $12 / $8 (Local adults)

Web Link: Prudential Eye Awards Exhibition

Disclaimer: Reuel Writes attended the Singapore Contemporary Art Show on media pass. However, Reuel Writes retains full editorial direction of this blog entry.

Singapore Contemporary Art Show: Inaugural Edition Review

PHOTO: Courtesy of Fabrik Gallery | ‘The Paradox of Beauty’ | Oil on canvas | Myoung Jo Jeong

Singapore Contemporary Art Show made its debut in Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.

No, there aren’t any cockroaches or rhino installations here. But there’s Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, and a whole ensemble of some of Asia’s most talented artists represented here. New kid on the block, Singapore Contemporary Art Show is no greenhorn. Having run 7 successful shows in Hong Kong, their inaugural Singapore edition themed ‘A World of Art’ presents more than 3,000 artworks and art installations from 65 exhibitors and artists.

Showcasing quality contemporary artworks and installations of successful established artists, as well as works from some of today’s most promising emerging artists in the lacking mid-tier art market, visitors can expect to find works ranging from S$10,000 to S$100,000 and up. Tickets were priced at S$30 for single day and S$54 for a three-day pass.

Despite taking place alongside Singapore Art Week anchor Art Stage Singapore and a pre-show controversy, Singapore Contemporary Art Show attracted a respectable number of attendees – more than 16,000 visitors visited over four days (The Straits Times, 26 Jan 2016).

Reuelwrites got into the thick of the action and discovered that Singapore Contemporary Art Show is more than just ‘another art exhibition’.

Artworks

Artworks by Asian artists made up about 70% of the exhibits at the show, this arrangement probably owing to its parent show, the Asian Contemporary Art Show in Hong Kong. Art enthusiasts who have walked the ground in other art exhibitions would have found some familiar faces (galleries) participating in this year’s show.

In spite of this, there is a rich diversity in the artworks curated and there’s something for everyone. More than once I found myself impressed and even captivated by some of the artworks presented at the show. Below are some of the works that caught my eye.

The Paradox of Beauty #13-04

PHOTO: Courtesy of Singapore Contemporary Art Show | The Paradox of Beauty | Oil on canvas | Myoung Jo Jeong

I am a big fan of hyperrealism paintings and why South Korean artist Myoung Jo Jeong wasn’t in my radar is beyond me. Even though it wasn’t the most expensive artwork (approximately S$38,000), Myoung Jo Jeong’s artwork (the first image in the blog) left me with the deepest impression.

I absolutely love Myoung’s idea of capturing the beauty of his subject from the ‘back’. While beauty in realism is often expressed through the subject’s facial features, I like that Myoung’s painting transcended popular conventions. I can imagine this being the show piece at the dining room in my house. Represented by Fabrik Gallery, Hong Kong.

V.Host

PHOTO: Courtesy of Singapore Contemporary Art Show | V.Host (2013) | Acrylic on canvas | Wang Min

Morbid, dystopia, and indifference. These are the words one could use to describe China artist Wang Min’s works. Step into Wang Min’s imagination of humankind’s not so distant future where cloning is a norm and we become homogeneous as a species.

For this rather depressing artwork, I was told by the gallery representative that the artist was quite the opposite. Definitely a striking piece although I can’t imagine seeing this anywhere in someone’s home. Represented by The Dragon Year Gallery, China.

Inner Wisdom

PHOTO: Courtesy of Singapore Contemporary Art Show | Inner Wisdom | Acrylic on linen | Simon Wee

Traditional Chinese calligraphic art is very underrated. I love this artwork by our very own Singaporean artist, Simon Wee. It’s not just a mere stroke of the brush. Trained by master painter Chen Wen Hsi himself, Wee’s work exudes unrivalled strength and energy.

I remember accepting a consignment of Wee’s ink on rice paper paintings and having such a hard time convincing people to purchase it. It’s one of those artworks that’s perfect for the office and Wee deserves more credit. Represented by Tembusu Art Gallery, Singapore.

March

PHOTO: Courtesy of Singapore Contemporary Art Show | March (2015) | Oil on canvas | Zorikto Dorzhiev

Back when I was working in an art gallery, one of my big ticket sale was an artwork by the young established artist, Zorikto Dorzhiev. Was delighted to find his artwork exhibited in the art show. Represented by Khankhalaev Gallery, Russia.

IMG_9999

Acrylic on canvas artworks by South Korean artist, Yoo Sun-Tai

What many people don’t realise is that art doesn’t just improve the aesthetics of one’s home, they can also create conversations. Such is the surrealism artworks by South Korean artist, Yoo Sun-Tai. Back in my gallery days, Yoo’s artworks were the crowd favourites. Represented by Galerie GAIA, South Korea.

Tours and Activities

IMG_9993

Complimentary art tours are available for art enthusiasts and members of the public.

IMG_9982

Indonesian artist Awiki doing a live painting.

Hats off to the entire Singapore Contemporary Art Show team for putting up such a pleasant, family-oriented show. There are so many activities going on for the four-day art show to which all guests and ticket holders get to enjoy. Get up to speed with the rising stars in the arts world by joining the many art tours, or get inspired by live painting demonstrations by the artists.

Visitors with children could also sign up for the complimentary kids art tours and art studio workshops.

Meet the Artists

IMG_0034

UK artist Jeff Murray introducing his artwork to members of the public. Murray also

One of the things I enjoyed most about the art show was being up close and personal with the artists behind the artworks. Beyond simply enjoying the intricate paintings and sculptures, what completes an art show experience is hearing from the artists themselves on their inspirations and their stories, et cetera.

Singapore Contemporary Art Show trumps Art Stage in this regard. The art show – which took place at the spacious 6,000 sq/m Suntec Convention Centre – is not overcrowded and there are ample opportunities for members of the public to interact with the artists many of which are present at their booths.

Overall, to term the Singapore Contemporary Art Show experience as mere pleasant is an understatement. Singapore Contemporary Art Show is for the art collectors who wants to acquire more art but isn’t ready to move into the top-tier art market, and for art enthusiasts who value an enjoyable art expedition without being overwhelmed.

If you are feeling gutted for missing out on the show, mark it down on your calendar and don’t miss next year’s show. Singapore Contemporary Art Show will return with its 2nd edition on January 19 to 22, 2017. For more information, visit their website here. RW

Disclaimer: Reuel Writes attended the Singapore Contemporary Art Show on media pass. However, Reuel Writes retains full editorial direction of this blog entry.