Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Still Building – Contemporary Art from Singapore in Bandung

‘Still Building’ is an exhibition at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung, showing contemporary art from Singapore, 27 May – 15 June 2012.

Still Building – Jason Wee (curator)
The exhibition takes its title from a much-acclaimed play by the Singapore playwright Haresh Sharma of the same name. In it, Sharma writes of Singapore as ‘a dangerously peaceful country’, a country that touts the ways its highly engineered development takes place through ordered urbanization and rapid capital accumulation. Yet the seeds of this peace have germinated other, more painful affects, its urbanization and ostentatious prosperity creating fatalism, resentment and melancholy in their wake.

Through the works of twenty artists, Still Building suggests that this island country remains a knotty conundrum. For all its slick sophistication, the city remains in many ways a place and a culture that is under construction. While the official state narrative of how the country is shaped remains a pervasive influence, these artists have shown how urbanity is lived differently, that the social life of the city takes flight on paths the country cannot plan for.

Some of these artists - Frayn Yong, Tay Wei Leng, Hong Sek Chern, among them - explore the way the city is built and is still building, how its public housing programmes shape the visual representation of the city. Others such as Patrick Storey and Hazel Lim examine the marginal spaces in the city that escape the reach of city planning. Our highly acclaimed cinematic artists, Charles Lim, Tan Pin Pin, and Royston Tan, take us along neglected infrastructures such as our canals and waterways, as well as places haunted by the ghosts of our past.

Others such as Godwin Koay, Heman Chong and Lucy Davis, look at Singapore within a network of other cities, and see how, far from an isolated red dot, it is enmeshed within a complex matrix of cross-border relationships. The exhibition Still Building will show how the story of urban life and urbanity in Singapore is one that is excitingly still under development, one that can still be told in a myriad different ways.

Image: Geraldine Kang, ‘Snow Burial’ (Giclée print, Crane Museo Silver Rag, 43x56cm, 2012)

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