New Museum, School Song Show Rise of Local Art: Singapore Buzz
By Adam Majendie
Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The Singapore Art Museum, a converted school, opens a new wing dedicated to contemporary art this week in a building across the street, also a former school. The opening exhibition will be about school.
The new section, called 8Q sam -- the name derived from the address, 8 Queen's Street -- promises all the things associated with avant-garde contemporary art: multidisciplinary, interactive, community-orientated performance, new media. Many of these have been the hallmark of a Singaporean group called the Artists Village, which set up in an old chicken farm 20 years ago and then spent much of its life being evicted from one building after another and living on the fringe of Singapore's art community.
Now, the Artists Village has a retrospective in the main galleries of the Singapore Art Museum and the nation's young stars have the inaugural show at 8Q. Even in Singapore, home-grown contemporary artists have hit the mainstream.
``I've always been particularly concerned about the growth of contemporary art in Singapore,'' said Jane Ittogi, the museum's newly appointed chairwoman, at a preview yesterday. She said that contemporary art is a ``reflection of what we are. We want to see what the fruit of our political and commercial labor is.''
It's not hard to see why members of the Artists Village didn't fit Singapore's clean image of the past. Vincent Leow's 1993 work ``Artist's Urine (Bottle)'' followed a performance in which he urinated into a cup and drank the contents. The 25 samples subsequently bottled for sale (one of which is on display), bear the phrase ``Product of Singapore'' on the label.