Art What! Arts Interview Preview Review Singapore

Museum Musings: National Gallery Singapore and ArtScience Museum Set to Present First Exhibition on Minimalism in Southeast Asia

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For the first time ever, National Gallery Singapore and ArtScience Museum will be embarking on an exciting collaboration this November to present the region’s first exhibition focusing on Minimalism. With the Gallery taking the lead, over 130 works will be displayed across the two sites to explore the history and legacy of the movement, which still has plenty of influence on art forms, practitioners and even daily life today.

Po Po
Red Cube
Oil on canvas, paper collage and gneiss
218 x 154 x 50 cm
Collection of National Gallery Singapore
© Hla Oo and Po Po; courtesy of Po Po and Yavuz Gallery

Minimalism, in brief, was a key movement in art history that started in New York in the 1960s, where practitioners utilised simple, geometric forms and non-traditional materials to elevate the importance of physically interacting with an art work and the space it occupies, influencing not just  the visual arts, but also on music, performance, fashion, architecture and design. Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. then seeks to take the scope of the movement beyond New York and consider how it too has origins and engagement with Asian art and spirituality in the work of Asian, American and European artists.

Olafur Eliasson
Room for one Colour
Monochromatic lights
Dimensions variable
Collection of the artist
Installation view at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2015
© Olafur Eliasson; courtesy of the artist, neugerriemschneider, Berlin and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; photo by Anders Sune Berg

On the Gallery side, visitors will be able to explore the development of Minimal art and ideas from the 1950s to the present day, tracing its evolution and influence from painting to sculpture, to spatial installations and immersive environments. Artists featured will include Mark Rothko, Donald Judd, Yayoi Kusama, Olafur Eliasson, Ai Weiwei, and Singaporean artists Kim Lim and Tang Da Wu.

Kim Lim
Column 1971-72
Stainless steel
5 parts, each 27.5 x 30.5 x 22 cm
Collection of National Gallery Singapore

At the ArtScience Museum, expect a thematic, multisensory exhibition that explores form, colour and spirituality, with works from Carmen Herrera, Mona Hatoum and Richard Long, as well as contemporary artists such as Tan Ping and teamLab. Also, Singaporean artist Jeremy Sharma will be premiering his new commission at the exhibition, while a dedicated Sound Room will explore the impact and legacies of minimalist sound and experimental composition.

Tan Ping
+40m (2012)
Woodblock Print
©Tan Ping
courtesy of Tan Ping Studio

Says Dr. Eugene Tan, Director of National Gallery Singapore: “This institutional collaboration will enable us to extend the scale of the exhibition, to further examine the many rich and complex dimensions of this significant artistic tendency, which has had such an enormous influence on contemporary art and design but has been little seen in Southeast Asia. Its profound impact will become evident through the exhibition set across both venues, each of which will have a distinct focus in our examination of Minimalism. This will further allow both institutions to reach out to and engage different audiences, due to our respective localities and programmatic focus. We hope to further enhance our understanding of Minimalism and its legacies for art today through this exhibition.”

Enso (2017)
Digital Work
© teamLab
courtesy of Ikkan Art International

Says Honor Harger, Executive Director of ArtScience Museum: “ArtScience Museum is delighted to partner National Gallery Singapore on Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. The curatorial teams at both museums have worked together to create a coherent single exhibition that shows how Minimalism became a radical turning point in the history of 20th-century art, stepping away from the experience of art as an object, to the consideration of the spatial, social and political contexts in which art exists. Playing to our strength as a museum of both science and art, ArtScience Museum will present artwork which meditates on the notions of the cosmological void, emptiness and nothingness – principles which are resonant to both Minimalism and to science. Our show seeks to exemplify the comment often attributed to Albert Einstein that, ‘everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.’”

Olafur Eliasson
Seu corpo da obra (Your body of work) 2011
Installation view: Moderna Museet, Stockholm 2015
Photo: Anders Sune Berg

Besides the exhibition, both venues will be hosting a series of special programmes, from music to film, dance to interactive installation, to show off the wide ranging impact and influence that Minimalism has had. Further details to be announced soon, mark your dates for the launch of Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. this November.

Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. runs across both the National Gallery Singapore and ArtScience Museum from 16th November 2018 to 14th April 2019. Tickets to be released soon. For more information about the exhibition, please visit the National Gallery Singapore and the ArtScience Museum  

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