Khairulddin Wahab, Flight of the Gods, 2022.
COURTESY THE ARTIST AND CUTURI GALLERY
As the long-awaited inaugural edition of ART SG opens its doors at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore this Wednesday, droves of dealers, exhibitors, collectors, and industry observers from around the world will congregate upon the tropical island. Blue-chip galleries such as WOAW and Whitestone opening for the first time in Singapore are likely to draw visitors. However, it would seem rather pointless to come all the way to this scenic port city and miss out on the latest curatorial and artistic offerings from its ambitious yet adolescent local art scene.
In fact, ART SG happens during the same time as the eleventh edition of Singapore Art Week, running from January 6–15. While the annual art week calendar can seem intimidatingly packed, here are five highly diverse exhibitions worth checking out in various locations across the island, beyond the usual museums and galleries.
Khairulddin Wahab at Cuturi Gallery
Photo : Courtesy the artist and Cuturi Gallery
Titled “Shape of Land,” one of the strongest solo shows this Singapore Art Week features expansive, richly colorful, acrylic paintings by 32-year-old Singaporean artist Khairulddin Wahab, who won United Overseas Bank’s Painting of The Year award in 2018. Referencing archival materials such as colonial topographic maps, prints and paintings of Southeast Asian landscapes, the young artist flips the script and paints visual representations of colonial era farmers, snake charmers, and landscapes through an almost surrealist lens, with undertones of the deep-rooted ancient history specific to the Indigenous communities of the region.
On view through January 29, at Cuturi Gallery, 61 Aliwal Street, Singapore 199937.
Nguyễn Quốc Dũng at Hatch Art Project
Photo : Courtesy the artist and Hatch Art Project
Vietnamese artist Nguyễn Quốc Dũng’s first solo show in Singapore, “The Lives of Others” at Hatch Art Project, is not to be missed. The artist is known for exploring the plight of vulnerable communities such as migrant workers and transgender people, especially in light of Vietnam’s rapid economic rise. His evocative, dramatic oil paintings of marginalized bodies capture the dearth of personal space as well as other pressures of shifting societal norms specific to his country. Dũng’s portrayal of nude bodies also recalls a frailty of human physicality not often seen in in our daily visual diet of filters and air brushing.
On view through February 12, at Hatch Art Project, 7 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168644.
“For the House; Against the House: _____ is Dead” at Tanglin Shopping Centre
Photo : Courtesy OH! Open House
The brainchild of Singaporean curator Alan Oei, OH! Open House produces consistently fun and fascinating public art showcases in surprising locations across the island. This year’s exhibition, held at various empty shop spaces in a mall scheduled for redevelopment at Singapore’s major shopping district, is no exception. Former Singapore Art Museum curator John Tung and National Gallery Singapore’s senior curator Adele Tan were invited to put together an eclectic mix of works by renowned artists from across the region such as Filipino Geraldine Javier, Thai Mit Jai Inn, and Singaporean Marla Bendini, tackling contentious yet fitting themes of “The Museum is Dead” and “Desire is Dead,” all set against the backdrop of a dying mall.
On view through January 15, at Tanglin Shopping Centre, 19 Tanglin Road, #02-43B, Singapore 247909.
“Creative Intersections: In the Year of the Rabbit” at Funan
Photo : Courtesy Funan
Singaporean curator Khairuddin Hori’s latest public art project at a reinvigorated mall down the road from National Gallery Singapore, is worth checking out if you’re interested in the latest generation of young and exciting Singaporean artists creating works that sharply contrast from their predecessors. Inspired by the traditional Chinese Zodiac Year, the site-specific artworks play off existing Funan’s themes and retail offerings such as former lawyer turned artist Yen Phang’s Does the Rabbit Dream of the Artist?, featuring small soil sculptures of the artist’s own fingers and toes as well as tiny rabbits and plans, interspersed among the various plants within terrarium specialty shop The Green Capsule.
On view through February 5, at Funan, 107 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 179105.
“The Pierre Lorinet Collection: From Western Minimalism to Asian Political Abstraction” at Gillman Barracks
Photo : Photo Colin Wan/Courtesy Art Outreach Singapore
Amid the slew of blue-chip Asian artworks typically on offer during art fairs in the region, “From Western Minimalism to Asian Political Abstraction” is worth a visit for its unlikely location, understated curation, and blockbuster works. The pop-up show is organized by local nonprofit Art Outreach and curated by Edward Mitterrand, art advisor to Singapore-based French collector Pierre Lorinet. Held at a rather humble white-wall gallery space in Gillman Barracks, a former army barracks turned arts-and-lifestyle destination, the Instagram-friendly exhibition includes artworks from Lorinet’s collection by the likes of Chen Zhen, Lee Ufan, Nam June Paik, Donald Judd, and more.
On view through January 29, at 9 Lock Road, #02-21, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 208937.