If you have visited the PANORAMA: Recent Art from Contemporary Asia exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) since its inception on April and thought to yourself “Oh dear, if there were only more artwork I could see…”, well, you are a scary mind-reader. SAM totally understood you and have scavenged countries like Cambodia and Vietnam to bring 24 additional works to the expansion of the exhibition which launched on 29 September 2012 at SAM at 8Q.
Works by artistes such as Wire Tuazon, Cheo Chai Hiang and Mak Remissa form the new expansion that focuses more on Southeast Asian art and the evolution of its communities in the face of globalisation and possible identity erosion. SAM director Mr Tan Boon Hui calls the new collection “fresh and confident” and one can definitely tell across the 3 levels of SAM at 8Q that the exhibition takes up.
Take for example Wire Tuazon’s Resurrection Resurreccion (see featured image) that uses word-image interplay, with references to the salacious Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo 1884 artwork Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas Al Populacho. This 2005 artwork by the Filipino artist tries to contextualise archaic work in a new form, using a ’60s photograph of Bondi Beach as the backdrop for the reference. The post-Marcos sociorealism is also seen in the mixed media piece by Leslie De Chavez, “Governators”. With figureheads sitting on a swing facing back-to-back in regalia but with their red hands and covered faces, it almost seems to mock the farcical nature of politics but yet give rise to a new breed of politicans.
The clash between tradition and growth is a key theme in the new expansion as Southeast Asia seeks to discover its new self through amalgamations of past and present. Particularly intriguing pieces come from Richard Streitmatter-Tran’s video piece “Missed Connections” and a walkthrough installation featuring teas and books (spot the connection yet?) by Syagini Ratna Wulan called “BiblioTea”. Other artworks come from the likes of Victor Balanon, Richard Streitmatter-Tran and Tang Mun Kit.
Upcoming events related to the exhibition include a curator’s tour by SAM senior curator Joyce Toh where she will explain the artworks on display and delve into the process of acquiring them for SAM’s national collection. Coming up is a book supplementing SAM’s contemporary collection called “Tomorrow, Today: Contemporary Art from the Singapore Art Museum (2009-2011)” that features more than 300 artworks by some 140 artists. The book retails at $30 and will be available at the Museum Label shop in SAM from December 2012.
The curator tour takes place on 21 November 2012, 7.30-8.30pm at SAM at 8Q. Tickets are $12, including admission to the exhibition, and are available at SAM and SISTIC. PANORAMA’s main exhibition runs until 25 December 2012 while the expansion runs until 14 April 2013. SAM admission fees, including concessionary fees, and opening hours apply. For more information, visit www.singaporeartmuseum.sg.