National Gallery Singapore’s Light to Night Festival – a marquee event of Singapore Art Week – makes its post-pandemic return to the Civic District from 6 – 26 January 2023. This edition of the festival features a myriad of art-meets-lifestyle activities, Singapore premiere of artworks by artists from around the world, as well as new immersive day-to-night installations. All happening on-site at the Civic District, Light to Night 2023 promises fun and enriching encounters with art for all.
Held right after the turn of the new year, Light to Night 2023 celebrates what it means to be in the present. The theme, “Here and Now”, calls for reflection of one’s time and environment – an appropriate invitation to mark the new year – and draws attention to art as a platform to document and respond to one’s lived experiences. Coupled with the concept of play and innovation, the festival features a multidisciplinary line-up of over 60 programmes and artworks by local and international artists to spark spontaneous and ephemeral encounters with art across the Civic District. It also offers a fresh opportunity for visitors to welcome contemplation on today’s contemporary topics and advocation in the new year.
Ms Suenne Megan Tan, Festival’s Executive Director and Senior Director, Museum Planning and Audience Engagement, National Gallery Singapore says, “We are very excited for the return of Light to Night as a marquee event of Singapore Art Week. This festival serves as a platform to showcase Singapore’s vibrant arts and culture landscape, as well as the magnificent artworks of a diverse group of talented artists and students, stimulating conversations about the history of the Civic District and social issues. Art is a reflection of the times we live in, and this is a timely invitation to pause and reflect on the present moment amidst the current flux. Through this year’s theme, we invite visitors to encounter art in various ways and fully immerse themselves in present moments, drawing meaningful connections between art and their personal lived experiences.”
The festival continues to provide an invigorating and accessible entry point for all to engage with art. Best experienced in-person, visitors are invited to immerse themselves in the electrifying atmosphere and ephemeral experiences happening throughout the day. National Gallery Singapore will be offering free entry to all visitors on Fridays to Sundays during the festival period and extend its opening hours to 11pm on the same days.
Out at the Padang, Hearing Padang by Sai is made by two curved structures that create an acoustic experience by allowing sound to travel from one end to another. Taking inspiration from the former Supreme Court in the Civic District, the installation references the main function of a court — to resolve disputes between people through hearings.
Beside it, Ephemeral by Atelier Sisu takes the form of massive bubbles set up on the Padang, possibly permanent, possibly temporal, and either way, encourages a sense of playfulness and positivity, and encourage participation for positive engagements with art. By emulating the ethereal quality and magic of bubbles, Ephemeral appeals to our innate playfulness while evoking a sense of childlike wonders.
Amidst the artworks, within the Gallery, you might spot There Is A Window In My Eye If You Look In You Will See The Sky by Dawn Ng at the Padang Atrium. With a visual mechanic that recreates the circadian rhythm of dawn to dusk, Dawn Ng’s resplendent artwork prompts reflection as visitors are confronted by a large visual representation of the invisible passage of time. Inspired by sunrise and sunset, Dawn uses lenticular colours to create an optical illusion where the colours are changing from dark to light or vice versa as you traverse around these panels, and bringing out the rarely showcased idea of windows and views in a museum space.
Glimpse is a self-guided accessible multi-disciplinary installation by Access Path Productions and RJ Thomson, where visitors are invited to ponder the theme of “disability visibility” as they explore the self-guided installation co-created with four performers with disability. The installation and performance are structured around concepts of presence and absence, and will spotlight and expand on themes of self-care, disabled visibility, and the aesthetics of care. Meanwhile, First Responders features Augmented Reality imaginations by Nanyang Polytechnic Students allows visitors to experience the Gallery’s collection in the DBS Singapore Gallery in new ways, with over 25 web-based AR filters on Instagram created by students from Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Design and Media.
As the Light to Night Festival’s signature work, Art Skins on Monuments once again returns to showcase a visual feast of spectacular light projections created by various artists on the façade of cultural institutions around the Civic District. Within the Gallery itself, check out the dome of Rotunda Library & Archive, where you’ll be greeted by Botanica by Davy and Kristin McGuire from the United Kingdom. This exhibit features illuminating light projections in the form of hypnotic blooming flowers beyond the Gallery’s Rotunda Library & Archive dome, and on to the library’s table tops to bring the magical experience closer to visitors.
Elsewhere, including National Gallery Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum, The Arts House and Victoria Theatre & Victoria Concert Hall, Art Skins on Monuments will premiere commissions by international and local artists, including a work titled Changing Landscapes by Cultural Medallion winner Han Sai Por, in collaboration with Flex Chew. Inspired by the Black Forest series—which Han Sai Por has worked on since 2011—Changing Landscapes brings to light the pressing issues of deforestation and biodiversity loss in our environment. The urban jungle of skyscrapers in an ultra-fast paced and land-scarce city like Singapore was created from the bulldozing of natural landscapes to make way for the island nation’s economic progress.
Visitors can look forward to Dwelling by Vince Ong Choon Hoe (VOCH), an art installation which explores an archetype of a house and what a home truly represents. Located at the front lawn of The Arts House, the work was inspired by the idea of how architects consider one definition of ‘dwelling’ as a home with a hearth at its core.
STARDUST by Muhammad Izdi at Funan’s Underground Pedestrian Link will take viewers on a journey through a speculative otherworldly narrative depicting a strange 15 reality full of subliminal messages and riddles which enables us to fully immerse and contemplate about our lives – Is this an alternate reality, or a possible future for us?
At the Asian Civilisations Museum Green, visitors can discover a multi-sensorial art installation, Look to the Heavens by Cake Theatrical Productions, recreates the contemplative stillness of a quiet garden. Clay wind chimes suspended on coiling rows of bamboo beckon viewers into the heart of the installation, revealing a garden altar which acts as an ephemeral gateway and a sanctuary of reflection and intercession. The rows of bamboo stretch upwards towards the heavens, while the fragile interlocking clay pieces represent life’s transience. The gentle sound of wind chimes are a reminder for burdened minds to release their troubles, while also helping them stay rooted to the present.
As you explore the Civic District, bask in the here and now with the return of Art X Social, featuring a fresh line-up of over 50 food and beverage stalls, new craft and art brands, exciting live performances and outdoor workshops across St Andrew’s Road and Empress Lawn.
Light to Night reinvigorates guests’ appreciation of art with new approaches to view and experience the world through fun games, entertaining performances, and insightful dialogues. Visitors can soak in the festival vibes through live performances with Gallery Gigs and Gallery Mix. This year’s line-up includes performances that explore collaboration across genres, merging the beauty of various interdisciplinary artforms with artists like Aisyah Aziz, Lalit Kumar, Anise x Sonia Kwek and many more.
Kolektif Trivia Night is the Gallery’s experimental youth arm which aims to empower young people to bring their creativity and concerns to art museums. Visitors can join the Kolektif Trivia Night and look forward to a range of general knowledge questions from pop culture fun facts to scientific questions from your primary school textbooks, and of course, a healthy dash of art and local culture 101.
Meanwhile in Artsplaining, visitors are invited to partake in lively and enriching dialogues with Gallery curators and well-known personalities like Tiara Yap and Hafidz Rahman. These thoughtful and casual conversations about artwork in the Gallery will create a safe space for audiences to be curious and engage with art. At Funny Fridays, enjoy this free-for-all live-comedy series featuring local stand-up comedians, such as Patricia Mok and Siraj Aziz, where audiences can laugh their socks off.
The Gallery’s Civic District collaborators host a wide range of multidisciplinary art programmes during the festival to engage audiences of all interests. Textures 2023 is happening at The Arts House; thrill-seekers can attend a creepy showcase of five ghost stories with a play titled Cherita Hantu…Kembali (Ghost Stories…Returns), by The Arts House and Hafidz Abdul Rahman. Dramatized readings of three popular novels by Singaporean female writers, Inez Tan, Kirstin Chen and Erni Salleh are available in A Novel Idea: SingLit Edition.
A variety of musical performances at the Victoria Concert Hall include classical music performances at the atrium with Atrium Playoff – NPVC Talents & Friends, as well as Stroboscope – Light Beats, percussion music by the Singapore National Youth Orchestra Percussion Ensemble. Esplanade Outdoor Theatre’s daily outdoor performances celebrates new music and fresh faces. At the Asian Civilisations Museum, visitors can get crafty and join in activities like making their own Glow-in-the-dark Reminder Bracelet and Paint with Nature.
Ms Elaine Ng, Senior Director, Engagement and Participation at National Arts Council says, “The engaging line-up of activities and interactive installations at Light to Night 2023 continues to complement the annual pinnacle event Singapore Art Week. As we witness how art takes over the Civic District and spaces around the island, we also invite Singaporeans to share feedback for the current draft of Our SG Arts Plan (2023 – 2027), in appreciating the role that the arts play in building a distinctive city. We are excited for everyone to start the new year by immersing ourselves in the here and now and enjoy the wide range of arts offerings with a rush of positivity and excitement.”
Light to Night Festival runs from 6th to 26th January 2022 around the Civic District. More information and the full line-up of programmes can be viewed at the microsite lighttonight.sg
SAW 2023 runs from 6th to 15th January 2023. For more information on SAW 2023 programmes, visit artweek.sg, or follow @sgartweek on Facebook, Instagram and Telegram.
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