The best upcoming art exhibitions in Singapore

Time Out Singapore editors & Dewi Nurjuwita, Timeout Singapore, January 4, 2022

As we welcome a new year, our cultural calendar is brimming with more exciting things to do. Art lovers in Singapore are in for a treat this January, especially with the return of Singapore Art Week. From big-scale affairs (we're talking renowned international artists) to the much anticipated Light To Night Festival and solo shows by local artists, there's so much to experience. Keep up with our round-up of the best art exhibitions and showcases happening around town. 



1. Nam June Paik: The Future Is Now

An international superstar in the art world, Nam June Paik (1932-2006) was a key figure in the avant-garde movements of the 20th century. The visionary artist and "father of video art" is known for bringing television to fine art, treating it as a tactile and multisensory medium and object. 

The exhibition will feature an expansive range of Paik's work through over 180 installations, projections, modified televisions, video sculptures, robots and other inventive contraptions, as well as archival materials relating to Paik's training in music and participation in movements such as Fluxus. Reflect upon your relationship with technology and its intersection with other disciplines such as nature, music, and religion.


Ahead of the much-anticipated exhibition, catch a virtual series of programmes from September 17 to 19. Afterlude - Prelude: Responses to Nam June Paik explore the legacy of Paik’s texts in performances, readings and artistic interventions. Witness the symbolic passing of the baton and learn more about the influence of Nam June Paik on local and international artists today through the live stream from SFMoMA and National Gallery Singapore.



2. Singapore Art Week

Art's back with a vengeance this year – with exhibitions popping up in the unlikeliest of places, a massive hall of fame in Kampong Gelam and major artist retrospectives. Here's something else art lovers can look forward to. The tenth edition of Singapore Art Week (SAW), Singapore's visual arts calendar pinnacle, is returning from January 14 to 23. The Singapore and global art community is coming together once again for SAW 2022, with over 130 programmes across physical and digital platforms. 


This edition will feature over 35 Singapore-based projects from its open call, and offerings from close to 600 artists and creatives, curators and partners from Singapore and countries such as Bangkok, China, Australia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The theme "Arts Takes Over" is taken even further this year with programmes that spotlight the rich artistic practices of Singapore's modern and contemporary artists and raise awareness of the infinite possibilities across art mediums, such as the creative use of technology. Some go beyond the white cube to offer new experiences in unexpected spaces and present new perspectives from the inside out. 



3. CroonerS

Cuturi Gallery kicks off its first exhibition of 2022 with Crooners, a solo exhibition by Singaporean artist Faris Heizer. The young artist, who is part of the gallery's residency, spotlights the familiar figure of salaried professional in his intimate moments that often go unnoticed or overlooked in the public eye. 



4. AliWALL 2022: The DreamerArt

This upcoming Singapore Art Week, look forward to the inaugural AliWALL Festival, a weekend of participatory art experiences at the Aliwal Arts Centre (AAC). Influenced by the theme for 2022, "The Dreamer", the Festival seeks to redefine walls, both physical and metaphorical, as canvases to unite artists and audiences to imagine what urban living is.


AliWALL Festival 2022: The Dreamer, curated by independent programmers MAMA MAGNET, brings together the contrasting worlds of fantasy and reality across both indoor and outdoor venues for a whole weekend from January 21 to 23. 


Get your culture hats on and look forward to an inspiring line-up of local artists who will be showcasing their artworks and skills through the different Festival programmes, located and displayed at the indoor and outdoor spaces around the Aliwal Arts Centre. 



5. The Swimming Pool Library Exhibition

Dive into a boy's rite of passage and society's definitions of masculinity at The Swimming Pool Library Exhibition from January 6 to 20. The exhibition will take the form of in-venue and live-cast performances at 72-13, digital conversations on topics relating to other gender and sexual lives, and a Video-On-Demand of the performance – making a fitting closing chapter to this project by multimedia artist Brian Gothong Tan.


In the multi-sensorial exhibition, which is part of Tan's artistic atelier with T:>Works, audiences are invited to a journey with the artist in the making of his works. Marvel at his paper sketches, 3D printed sculptures, 3D film photography, and DIY books that will jigsaw the pieces of Tan’s creative imagery of a boy’s rite of passage, while rethinking conventional definitions of masculinity, queer bodies and representation.



6. The Watchers by Mujahid Jalil

Mujahid Jalil presents his first solo exhibition of paintings and sculptures exploring an Orwellian society and its tendencies at Your Mother Gallery. With surreal forms and scenes, Mujahid creates allegories of routine, hierarchy and surveillance reflecting an age where everyone is constantly watched, and being watchers themselves.


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