Setting trends for Singapore Art Week 2022

Singapore Art Week 2022 is a success by most accounts. Scattered across the island and into the virtual world, over 130 events compete to capture the attention of art lovers in just 10 days.

The event, organized by the National Council of Arts and the Singapore Tourism Board, ends this weekend on January 23. We can’t say we’ve covered it all at press time – only 72 events listed, plus a few not listed. But here are the main trends for SAW 2022.

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1. Musicians make great visual artists

Legendary rock band The Observatory has teamed up with curator Tang Fu Kuen and other artists to create a stunning show on “music, mushrooms, and composition”. Using the design of mycology (the study of fungi), they were able to create peculiar musical instruments that respond to the biorhythm of mushrooms. This offer runs until April 17th at SAM @ Tangjong Pagar Distripark (TPD).

Elsewhere, NADA electronic music group pioneer Rizman Putra has set up a botanical wonderland at Art Outreach at Gillman Barracks, while musician Kiat presents some impressively emphasizing abstract work at TPD’s Antinodes gallery, describing “the process of making abstract art (on It being) is not much different from composing music.”

2. Art outside the galleries is difficult

In theory, putting art in funky places like malls, markets, cinemas, and bookstores sounds like a great idea. In practice, it has proven to be a challenge, not least because of the grinding crowds that fill the spaces by day.

Some experiments are working: Basher Graphics Library has an impressive collection of urban art within its shelves. Others don’t do well: At Lau Pa Sat, hungry lunchtime crowds inadvertently destroyed some artwork even before the show officially opened. In The Projector, converging crowds, movie posters, lit banners, and streaming music make it hard to focus on art properly.

(Related topics: Art in the time of COVID-19)

3. NFT Professional Muscles In

Less than a year after the historic purchase of Beeple’s digital artwork, some art spaces are already beginning to jump on the trend. Hatch Art Project sells NFTs of digital plants that start growing as soon as you buy them. The Culture Story features NFTs by digital artist Jonathan Leong aka ZXEROKOOL.

At the SEA Focus Art Gallery, TZ APAC has a full booth to help traditional art collectors understand the basics of buying and selling NFT art. It has attracted enough interest from visitors for some traditional artists to complain about its “strong in” NFTs.

3. Millennials love emo art

Nobody makes emotional art that’s sensitive and angry better than millennials. Exhibiting bad imitations at TPD, Moses Tan set up a body parts table for a forensic examination. The cause of death is a “broken heart” from a failed relationship. At the same show, Daniel Chung unfolded Toyogo boxes and filled them with tattered toys as reluctant mementos of a very close childhood. At Richard Koh Fine Art at Gillman Barracks, Joshua Kane Gomes has responded to closure by creating Hayao Miyazaki-style sculptures stuck into chicken wire structures.

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4. Greetings OGs

SAW 2022 sees some shows tipping their hats to the pioneers and pioneers of Singapore’s art scene. At Maya Gallery, young Malay artists collaborated with leading artists to learn from each other and create new artwork, some of whom paid tribute to the writings of the late Abdul Ghani Hamid.

At Art Agenda, curator Ian T has an impressive collection of rare artworks by leading artists created during their early years of practice, to show their progress. At Changi Fairy Point Chalet 7, The Artist Village put on an important show that delves into its eventful 34-year history. All of these performances give us a much deeper look into the history of art in Singapore, from its early struggles to its current triumphs.

This article was originally published in the Business Times.

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