Monday, April 16, 2012

Panorama @ SAM

'Panorama, Recent Art from Contemporary Asia' is an exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum, 20 April - 25 December 2012. Among many others, participants from Indonesia are Agus Suwage, Albert Yonathan, Nasurin, Erik Pauhrizi, and Entang Wiharso.

But what is the adjective 'contemporary' doing in front of 'Asia'? Does it somehow come as a surprise that Asia is contemporary (and to whom?)? What is then the target audience of this exhibition? Is it speaking to the West (look, we are with you...)? Perhaps, I am reading too much into this title...

However, SAMs press release states (see here): “Works by Albert Yonathan and Om Mee Ai integrate deep-seated cultural traditions and ritualistic elements, and those by artists such as Agnes Arellano have directly tapped the forms and images of traditional fables and myths, reminding us of their power and role in constructing tradition and identity.” Does art made in Asia really needs to say something about Asia? Albert's work, for example, can be seen in a far more universal light (in the tradition of, say, Philip Glass).

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