What to Do in Singapore

Top 5 art picks for August

By Patrick BenjaminEvents - 16 August 2012 11:00 AM

Top 5 art picks for August

Hungover from the post-Olympic marathon sessions in front of the couch as vacuous, white noise fills the room. Take a break from the narcotic tele fix and wander away to the galleries hosting some of the most interesting art shows this month. 


If you like art laced with bleak humor…

The Obits

Drinking coffee or taking a dump is what most of us do while scanning the obituary pages in our national newspapers. Framed within pre-determined boxes of various dimensions and tucked between the sports and business pages, these run-of-the-mill affairs are the epitome of cold, professional solemnity. While these boxes are often the equivalent of headstones in print, they hardly ever reveal anything remotely interesting about the recently deceased.

In the first ever, taboo ruffling exhibition here, Grieve Perspective, a locally based art collective comprising four London trained art professionals, dissects this very Singaporean phenomena on obituaries. Working in the realms of text, photography, video, installation and prints, the collective resuscitates the musty world of obituaries with black humor and wit. Despite their cheeky provocations, the works still retain a grave air of respect and dignity for the dearly departed. Besides catching the series of text based obits, the other highlights include “They Made Me Do It”, a digital print of a severed hand holding a pen and “Singapored”, a short, looped video sequence which imagines random parts of the island subject to various natural disasters.

Runs from Aug 24 to Sep 3, Chan Hampe Galleries @ Raffles Hotel, #01-20/21, 328 North Bridge Rd., 638-1962.  


If you like how art collides into the scientific world…

All Other Things Being Equal…I Could Have Stayed in Bed

Ever wondered how scientists persist in the daily toil of futile yet laborious experiments in the lab? Then, this engaging and border-blurring exhibition by scientist and artist Isabelle Desjeux is your choice pick for the month.

Based on her field visits to the labs of neuroscientists Bill Harris and Christine Holt in Cambridge, UK, this genre merging exhibition inclusive of an idealized scientific lab, is an eye opening feast for the senses and even allows you to temporarily delve into the psyche of lab hounds. Who knows you might even find out what really makes these folks in pristine white coats pottering about with the same experiments in their labs everyday tick?  It sure beats staying in bed.    

Runs from Aug 17 to Sep 8, Societe Generale Gallery, Alliance Française Singapore, 1 Sarkies Rd., Level 2, 6737 8422.


If you like contemporary regional art...

Peninsula and Islands

Having started as a modern art exhibition showcasing Singaporean and Malaysian artists in 2006, this year’s edition has cast its’ nets further by including works from Indonesian, Filipino, Australian and Chinese artists. The stellar survey exhibition feature paintings, illustrations, installation, collages and mixed media works by 14 established and emerging artists take center stage.

They bombard us with a gamut of works that tackle various themes and concerns such as postmodern ideas of originality, natural elements, traditional storytelling and urbanization. Don’t forget to pay close attention to veteran Pinoy artist Norberto Roldan’s moving assemblage of found objects in Fatal Strategies 2 and young Malaysian artist Najib Ahmad Bamadhaj’s street art infused, large-scale painting The Predator.

Runs from Aug 16 to Sep 2, Taksu Singapore, 43 Jalan Merah Saga, #01-72 Workloft @ Chip Bee, 6476-4788.


If you like to be in the know about the next wave of young local artists…

Urban Body

So, the nation just celebrated her 47th birthday and you observed the parade with more attention because of the rumors about a certain, important person’s demise. How about shifting that curiosity into the sphere of local art? Running at chic, hipster friendly art-café The Orange Thimble in Tiong Bahru, this contemporary art exhibition showcases the multi-genre works of nine young local and Singapore based artists.

Ruminating on the notions of how the artist relates to the cityscape as well as vice versa, these photographs, installations and street art capture and critique the flux of our Lion City as muse. Amongst the highlights is 33-year-old Billy Soh’s series of photographs documenting Marina South and Capitol Building’s carpark for “Fragment of Memory” poignantly capture an oft -heard lament in the city; “How we lose iconic community spaces in the face of rampant commercialism?” It’s not all middle-aged national gloom as the documentation of Melinda Lauw’s “Botero Easter Projects” injects humor into her guerilla styled public interventions as she places a placard and free Easter eggs under the posterior of the acclaimed Colombian’s public sculpture “Bird’.    

Runs through Sep 2, The Orange Thimble, #01-68 Blk 56, Eng Hoon St., 9772-8966.


If you like the enigmatic nature of photography…

Siddhartha Tawadey: Sans Souci

As part of Art Plural’s inaugural emerging artist programme, gallery owners Frederic and Carole de Senarclens have curated a marvelous collection of twelve, haiku like indiscreet photographs by 37-year-old Indian artist Siddhartha Tawadey.  These vivid images document the mysterious nature of an abandoned mansion on an undisclosed location. Each compelling, large-scale portrait evocatively captures the ruins and allows the viewer to confront perceptions about memory, history and beauty. Even if you aren’t into soul stirring reclusive poets, the sheer technical virtuosity displayed in this series of photographs will bowl you over.

Runs through Sep 7, Art Plural Gallery, 38 Armenian St., 6636-8360.


If you see a swarthy, bald dude in his early thirties clad in a dirty pair of skinnies pottering about in an art show, chances are high that you have spotted Patrick Benjamin. Say hello to him. He wouldn't mind dispensing a tale or two(including the odd 4D number tip) if you ply him with a drink or three. Besides a forte for storytelling, he is busy exploring ways to teleport.