Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Help! I need some art!

It's a long way from the art galleries of London, and every now and then I just need that art fix in Singapore.

But Singapore is a place that didn't even have an art gallery until 1950! So things are  not quite the same - especially for someone who worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum for 4 years.

Yes I know we recently had the Affordable Art Fair and the Contemporary Asian Art Fair  but what about what about the galleries here? I set out on a mini-discovery tour to find out.

Yesterday was World AIDS Day, so I wanted to go see  the "Show Me  Love" exhibition at the Chan Hampe Galleries - where young and established artists showcased works that exemplify what World AIDS Day stands for.

I got there and the gallery is closed....ON WORLD AIDS DAY!

I don't care if  the gallery does not usually open on Wednesdays, it was World AIDS Day and this is supposed to be an exhibition to commemorate it!

Helllo! Did somebody miss a small detail here?

I peeked through the glass door the exhibition was no bigger than my  living room - perhaps a correlation to the voice of HIV in Singapore. But the works inside looked interesting including a pillar made of blown up condoms and a "blood" stained statue...

So off to the Substation I went. The exhibition Us and Them and You was trying to push the boundaries a little by hightlighting  a minority group of Singaporean-Malay individuals bucking tradition including Singapore's first transgender tour guide. But it was just so small you could do a circuit in under 10. Speed art!

Khairuddin Hori

Next stop Singapore Art Museum  at Q8 - the new contemporary art wing - for some Japanese contemporary art at Trans-Cool TOKYO.  I was welcomed by a  taxidermy deer with lots of glass bubbles stuck on it -
Kohei Nawa, PixCell-Deer #17, 2008-2009,
mixed media, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo collection

Just the kind of bizarre that I love...and then as I meandered up the levels of exhibition I finally got what I was looking for at the very last room...the highlight of my day...

...a dance booth for one complete with private glitter ball!

Yeah how cool is that! Yes you can get in it, shut it, put your headphones on, bop away and make your own art. Sadly there is no video footage of me doing this but thank goodness it was a quiet day. Anyway, this is my kind of contemporary art - quirky and interactive.

Seeing as the ticket included entry to the main part of the museum, I thought I'd mosey over. It reminded me of the Victoria and Albert Museum before it had it's big overhaul and I think the SAM might be due a shake up to similar effect. 

There were a few little gems out there but it felt like there could be so much more.  I won't give up hope - if Singapore can do most things to a global standard, at some point art has got to be one of them and who knows maybe there might event be a blockbuster exhibition coming our way!

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