Tag Archives: arts

Minimalism: Space . Light . Object. National Gallery Singapore

“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, who is poor,” – Seneca

The world we live in today crave excess, reward the most extravagant and embrace the worship of material things. And I think some people believe, the more you have, the better. Arts have become one of those status symbol, the object of obsession for those who wants to convey a certain image in our excessive world. Thus the irony of an exhibition glorifying minimalism is not lost on me. This is a continuum of my previous post on Minimalism art exhibition I recently went to in Singapore and unlike part one, this one held in National Gallery Singapore is shouting excess in the most minimalist way.

Housed within City Hall and previous Supreme Court building, the National Gallery Singapore is the largest visual art gallery and museum for the island nation. The building played many significant role in Singapore’s national history, and many of the country’s historical documents are still stored within the building.

Compared to Minimalism exhibition in the ArtScience Museum, this one is much larger in scale and filled with the more traditional form of artworks, dominated by paint work and sculptures. The vast building provides an endless pockets of artwork which begins on the ground floor with Dan Flavin’s installation which resembles New York’s Empire State Building.

The first room that displayed a Rothko (far left in picture above), is accompanied by few other Rothko inspired canvas works. I do believe that Rothko always intended for his works to be displayed in groups, but the difficulties of the task does not elude yours truly, hence the grouping of his work with others is aiming for the same impact. A study of black and every possible shades of it, is perhaps an appropriate theme of this second pocket of artworks. The idea of Rothko expressing human emotions through his work by using only black seems dark and repressive. But what if, we can translate this as a language of positive emotions? How do you talk about black without associating it with negative emotions? If only black is understood as the beginning of something, before any other shades of colour were added.

Many of the artworks displayed are significant but not many captivates me the way Mona Hatoum’s does here (picture above). Appeared to float above ground, the wire is suspended from the ceiling and arranged in such a way to resemble a square. A forest of bard wire box that you can’t escape from. As you walked around the installation, you can’t help but feeling a certain pull towards the centre of the work. Barb wire have longed been associated with boundary lines to keep things out, but in this case, it feels a lot more like an enchantment that wants to draw you in.

What about this mountain of porcelain sunflower seeds made painstakingly by hand from the a small studio of specialists in China, each seeds are unique as with most hand-made work will be. Porcelain work has long been associated with the Chinese civilisation and history, and such an appropriate choice of material for the work that represents the ‘Made in China’ phenomenon. Is it a complimentary work by the artist, or is it a painstaking mockery of the inability of self expression in such oppressive environment? When view from afar, all the seeds looks homogeneous perhaps representing the view of the world of China as a communist nation. But when you look closer, each seeds are unique like that of the Chinese people or even perhaps Ai Wei Wei himself as the artist.

Perhaps it is an accidental silver lining that connects the two exhibitions, ending the show with the works of Olafur Eliasson. The room for one colour is a stark contrast to that of the previously colourful work at the ArtScience Museum’s exhibition. The neon lights that omits all other colour but orange, and with that we are back to black at the end of the exhibition.

-k.

Minimalism: Space . Light . Object. ArtScience Museum, Singapore

“A work will only have deep resonance if the kind of darkness I can generate is something that is resident in me already,” – Anish Kapoor.

Some of the greatest artists in the Art-world happens to be some of the darkest, depressed, lost and confused people of all time. Therefore, to compress the amount of arts under the banner of, “Minimalism: Space.Light.Object”, can be quite ironic. Despite that, Singapore’s ArtScience Museum, in conjunction with the National Gallery Singapore, managed to curate one of the most exciting exhibition on minimalism in the Arts I have personally been to.

Singapore’s ArtScience Museum is located in Marina Bay Sands, the building is an amazing architectural highlight amongst many located around the area. The building reminds me of the lotus flower, was designed by an Israeli-Canadian architect, Moshe Safdie.

At the time of my visit, aside from the minimalism exhibition, a fun and interactive exhibition created by TeamLAB was on show. The neon filled, colourful and interactive exhibition for children of all ages.

Now on to the “Minimalism: Space.Light.Object”…

Greeted by a giant sand-pit of a zen garden created by Mona Hatoum, I was instantly given a snapshot of what the entire exhibition is all about. As seen in the photograph below of the artwork, the arm moves clock-wise and constantly changing the texture of the sand’s surface. The work can be interpreted in any number of ways, according to each visitors’ understanding. I personally believe that this is the best choice for the first piece, as it symbolises that despite the simplicity of minimalist arts, there are always deeper meaning behind each work.

I adore the pop of colours in the works by Donald Judd and Olafur Eliasson amongst all the lack of them in most minimalist pieces. Eliasson’s installation, pictured below, has got to be my most favourite. The work is colourful and immersive, as you walk around the various neon coloured sheets, your perspective and your sight changed and filtered.

Overall, Minimalism is a well-curated exhibition. The way each artworks are placed in the sequence that have been decided by the curatorial team, gave the exhibition a flow that is easily followed by any visitors with various degree of understanding towards the Arts. Plenty of international names, such as Kapoor, Judd and Eliasson, but also loved that the curatorial team also involved a good mix of artists from Asia, mainly Taiwanese and Japanese artists. Forever grateful to be able to visit Singapore at the right time to see this great exhibition.

-k.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Bangkok, Thailand


“Art should be something that liberates your SOUL.” – Keith Haring


Truth be told, one the privillage of traveling for me is to be able to experience new cultures. Places that I love to visit the most while traveling are local market and galleries or museums. Having been to Bangkok few times before, I’m pleased to see the development of the city has extend to a brand new Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Museum is privately own and perhaps not the easiest place to get too. But with the developement and extension of Skytrain line, this place will be easily accessible in a few years. But for now, taxi is the way to go and it was worth the time to visit. The building is five level filled with outstanding work by Thai artists. The ground floor is their temporary exhibitions, while the rest are the Museum’s own private collection of artworks.


Above paintings are self-potraits of the great Thai artists whose work filled the Museum space.


What I gather from roaming around the Museum, as a predominantly Buddhist country, the artworks produced by their artists are influenced by the principles of Buddhism. The idea of life is a suffering, the enlightenement and reincarnation are all reflected in many of the artwork. The below painting is so striking to me when I saw it, as it strips a woman bare of all her worldly possession and asked us the viewers to reflect on what really matters. At the end of it all, we are skull and bones. 


The play of colours in the following painting reminds me of the great work of British modern artist, William J. Turner. Such a playful and positive body of works, 


One of the floor of the Museum were dedicated to Surrealist arts. I must say, Thai surrealist artists are very unique. As they are still influenced by Buddhist principles, the ideas portrayed in the paintings are familiar. The first thing I noticed were Dali’s influenced in all the paintings, down to the use of eggs as the symbol of universe, 


The following painting has to be my ultimate favourite, as it brings so much joy when you see it, 


During the time of my visit, I was lucky to see the exhibition on the late King Bhumibol’s life, which was very moving and filled with love and adoration from the people of Thailand to their late King. 


The Museum is well curated, they are divided into very enjoyable rooms of organised works of art. Not to mention, very informative security guards that not only direct you to what you should see first, but also a fountain of knowledge in the meaning of some of these paintings.

For more information, check out their website,

MOCA Bangkok

-love K.

ArtJog 2017 Changing Perspective

Indonesia and Contemporary Art… might not be the combination of subjects you’ll expect, and yet… here I am writing on the topic of the biggest Indonesian contemporary art fair, ArtJog 2017! ArtJog is in its 10th year, which is such a wonderful statement for a country with an ever growing tendency of attracting negative press coverage.


I am an Indonesian, it is the place where I was born and raised for thirteen years of my life. Frankly, I haven’t had much things about the country that I was proud of. Yes, it is a beautiful island nation. Yes, it has a tremendous amount of natural resources. And YES, it is the place where yours truly first encounter arts. The past decades however, have stopped me from being proud of Indonesia, the political turmoils, the blatant stupidity of a small number of unfortunately, extremist influential figures.

However, there’s a ray of hope in me that one day, I will be so proud of my home land especially when keeping a close eye to the ever growing popularity of contemporary art works by the nation’s artists. Why? Because art is a creative forward thinking machine and so long as the art world thrives, Indonesia has the chance to continue to move forward.

ArtJog 2017 Changing Perspective is the best example of the young, creative minds of Indonesia at its best. I would love to share with you some of my favourite pieces from the art fair,

The artists influences varied. We can see large size skull sculpture perhaps influenced by Koons, or abstract colourful painting courtesy of Basquiat, or perhaps the geometrical uniformity of Mondrian. Regardless of the influences, it is evident that Indonesia’s contemporary artists are forward and outward thinking. They are innovative and not afraid to be different, to shock and to get their audiences’ mind thinking. As long as we have this freedom to pursuit arts, there’s hope for the future in a country that so desperately need a change in perspective.

– k.m.

Música en las Tullerías, Edouard Manet

The music in the Tulleries gardens was created in 1862 by the great, Edouard Manet. First exhibited in 1863, depicting a scene of modern life. A band is playing and a fashionable crowd gather to listen. Simple enough. However, this painting featured a cast of characters from Manet’s inner circle which includes the famous poet Baudelaire, who first called for artists of the generation to depicts modern life.

If we look closely, no band is in fact depicted in the painting. You can see the fashionable crowd gathers, and the only reference to the band will be from us, the viewers, assumptions by looking at the title of the work. The cast of characters are framed in this painting by the vertical trees, placed horizontally across the canvas, with no vanishing point as an anchor for the viewers’ perspective.

Manet applied a more relax composition, which makes this painting modern for his time. If we use William Powell Frith’s The Railway Station, as a point of reference, Frith composed his painting by placing a distinct social class order. Wealthy class characters were painted in details, placed in the middle of the canvas. The lower class characters were painted out of focus, blurred out to symbolize their insignificant existence in society of the time. 

In Manet’s body of work, no such class order were imposed on his characters. As a matter of fact, characters in the middle of the canvas, were almost blurred out on purpose, to show that Manet care very little of their social status. 
We can now see why The Music in the Tuilleries garden, stirred little uproar when it was first exhibited. However, now, we can appreciate the modernity of Manet’s body of work and perhaps contribute his work to the birth of Impressionist art movement, even perhaps, the modern art. 

Where can you see it? National Gallery, London. 

Images: Google Art and Culture

-K.

David Hockney: Current, NGV Melbourne

Perhaps one of the great living artist of our generation, David Hockney’s latest exhibition in National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne is a wonderful collection of his current works.
Featuring some of Hockney’s latest works, including his groundbreaking ipad drawing series. It’s hard to ignore the genius behind his eye for detail. Every pen strokes he made to compose a great landscape painting on his ipad is modern and inspired. Don’t miss out on this amazing exhibition and see Hockney’s brilliance. 


Plenty would disagree I’m sure, but his brilliance lies in his ability to spark a conversation one way or another…

-K.

Culture// For Your Inner Child

I am a true believer of the saying, A Sunday well spent, brings a whole week of content. Last Sunday, I had the privillage to honour the inner child in me and spend few good hours inside the National Gallery of Victoria. Yes, I did say inner child because I went in and discover this…

   
 

I did get excited when I saw the three artists are originally from Bandung, Indonesia. Absolute proud moment here. Anyway, back to the exhibition, their concept is an open house with a twist. 


The Kitchen…

 

  
I found this profound statements/questions thrown to us…

 

The Dining Room, turned upside down, literally. This one’s called Dancing in the Ceiling…

   

Onto the Back Garden…

   

  

  

  
Their idea of The Bedroom, and I have to agree here, just walls of pillows…

 
The Bathroom Supplies…

 
The Front Porch Feature Lanterns…

 
It was such a light and exciting exhibitions with enough interactive features to get the kids involved. Open House: Tromarama for Kids is a definite must-see when you’re in Melbourne city next. 

-love K.