A listing so that I can remember the year.
I was in Paris for the Snow City international premiere and became well-acquainted with the Georges Pompidou Centre . It opened in 1977, 35 years ago, and it is still so contemporary. To have the guts of a building all hanging out, smack in the middle of belle epoque Beaubourg…This building has to be experienced first hand. And of course Paris, the most beautiful city in the world.
I went with the Singapore Heritage Society to visit Colonial Perak, Malaysia. While admiring the town planning of Taiping city centre on a blazing hot day, we stumbled upon the best Chendol in the world.
It was also wonderful to be acquainted with Ng Sek San’s architecture in Ipoh in Sekeping Kong Heng, a house within a house. I loved the tension between the rough unfinished quality and the deliberate designed feel of the space. It is as if every part of the building process was re-examined, then re-invented, even the electrical wiring methods. I would hate to be his contractor.
Saw Ian Woo’s drawings for the first time at the Singapore Art Museum’s Panorama – Recent Art from Contemporary Asia show. He presented a series of paintings which combined thick brush strokes with fine, yet deliberate pencil markings. The contrast works very well.
Green Zheng’s Chinese School Lessons Show at Chan Hampe Gallery. He essentialised the May 13 Generation into a few slogans and words (Malaya, bersatu, Where do you live, what is your name) and painted them over the Chung Cheng High School uniform. If you, like me have been immersed in that era for work, to see his interpretation of their experience as an art work found in faux-colonial Raffles Hotel gallery was sweet irony. You can view the works in the catalog here.
Charles Lim’s Evil Disappears Show at FuturePerfect. David Teh curated a strand of Charles’ work focusing on the fluidity of borders. I have been following Charles work and have enjoyed his explorations. Do get your hands on the catalog containing David’s essay.
Attended the 25th anniversary of Operation Spectrum, a day in 1987 where 22 activists were detained for being Marxist Conspirators. Yes, Marxist Conspirators. The organisers were very surprised that several hundred people turned up to commemorate the event. There was an exhibition on the ISA that showed a mock up of a detention cell.
Freedom Film Festival (Singapore edition). I facilitated the Q&A for two films from this Malaysian film festival with the young Malaysian directors in attendance. They were so articulate and passionate that our normally sedate Singapore audience found themselves actually asking many questions. We over-ran and everyone had to be chased out of The Substation auditorium.
Hayward Gallery – the Art of Change: New Directions from China. I had only half a day to myself while in London and torn between the Tate Modern’s newly opened Tanks and this, I went for this. So much of Chinese art is cartoonised or Ai Wei Wei-ised with the aura or dissidence, that nothing else seems to get through. This exhibition seeks to address the dark hole. What I found impressive was the documentation of the exhibtion. The website, only accessible in situ, cross referenced the artists’ work with the events (political as well as cultural) of the day as well as their relationship with each other. Particularly memorable was Xu Zhen’s suspended lady and Sun Yuan & Peng Yu’s dogs chained to running machines.