Close to Culture, Close to Creativity, Spot on Asia.

Articles tagged “art

SPOT ART 2013: The Growing Pains of Young ASEAN Artists

Posted on November 19, 2013

SPOT ART 2013 Singapore is an exhibition that celebrates the best of Southeast Asian art talent, all under the age of 30. Supported by the Ministry of Communication & Information (MCI) and the National Arts Council (NAC), the exhibition illuminates the values of collaboration, partnership, and a genuine attempt to build the foundations of a sustainable visual arts industry in Singapore. Through this collaborative effort, the exhibition and its surrounding dialogue fleshes out the difficulties facing young artists in Singapore, fresh out of school and lacking in mentorship for industry experience. But what the exhibition also offers is a platform for artists in the region to collaborate.

Drawing back to the exhibition itself, the layout is an amalgamation of paintings, illustration, print, installation, and video art. The selection committee is comprised of esteemed curators and experts on contemporary art in Southeast Asia, selecting over 200 works of more than 70 artists (out of 1500 submissions.) The exhibition prides itself on its quality, diversity; and particularly celebrates the fact that it is nestled in one homely spot. As the event organizers themselves mention, the Southeast Asian arts scene tends to be quite fragmented, so the motivation to distill this artistic incubation in one single location is a definitive gesture.

0 Comments

+Read more

Reflections on Scandinavia II

Posted on September 26, 2013

It is here that I reference my experience in Scandinavia, where I spent a summer moving through Sweden and Finland meeting curators, academics, policymakers, businessmen, artists, and mostly importantly, the Scandinavians. The Scandinavian model is internationally revered in its successful implementation of the social welfare system; a system that brings about virtuous cycles of trust in its communities apart from the nuts and bolts of the system that involves high taxes on citizen’s annual incomes to fund systems such as national education, healthcare systems, and strong maternity packages, to name a few. The nations share an entangled history of overlapping geographies and languages, travelling along tangents but ultimately carving out their own respective independence. It is precisely this acute combination of shared histories, geographies and cultural influences that allow for comparison and critique. Despite the many similarities, Sweden and Finland stand far apart in the state of their art markets at present day.

Paimio Sanatorium by Alvar Aalto

Paimio Sanatorium by Alvar Aalto

0 Comments

+Read more

Art exhibits on display in a common room | Photo by Haziq Muhammad, Visual Inconsideration

Singapore: The Coming of Age of a Flourishing Art Scene

Posted on June 22, 2013

When the Displacements @ 13 Wilkie Terrace, an art exhibition, ends on Sunday, 23 June, the Chia family’s 77-year-old mansion would have hosted a musical band, silk screen and poster printing workshops and several dance performances: all done for the love of collaboration.

Yen Phang, a formal lawyer and a member of the Chia family, initiated the project with 16 other artists and invited them to interpret the theme ‘Displacement’. The estate will soon make way for urban redevelopment and was temporarily turned into a communal space open for the public to experience the charm of the mansion’s interior, enjoy conversations with the artists and leave with a pleasant feeling of nostalgia.

Moss art outside the Mansion | Photo by Haziq Muhammad, Visual Inconsideration

Moss art outside the Mansion | Photo by Haziq Muhammad, Visual Inconsideration

0 Comments

+Read more

Hunger + Survival = Mother of Creativity

Posted on March 19, 2013

Clara

Clara Balaguer, Philippines

Founder, Office of Culture and Design

“To us, art, literature and design are not elitist luxuries. They are useful necessities.”

Clara Lobregat Balaguer is an oddball.

As she meets me for this interview, it’s not so difficult to notice that she does stand out in a crowd than it is to pinpoint why. Yes, she is rather tall compared to the average Filipina; her woven sombrero towering over everyone else makes it easy for me to spot her. She greets me with a smile, full and fiery red. I am relieved; she says she’s been stressed. She has been buried deep in work, which at the moment is in post-production for a film about an active volcano in the Philippines and the displaced indigenous people living around it.

Photo: Office of Culture & Design

Photo: Office of Culture & Design

This is just one of her hands-on projects for her company, the Office of Culture and Design (OCD), which serves as a platform for artists, writers, and designers in the developing world. That description barely sums up the OCD as a leveraging multi-platform. Based on the mixed composition of its projects, its stakeholders and the diverse range of collaborators, the Office of Culture and Design is a constantly fluid, constantly evolving entity engaged in as many diverse forms of mixed media as the opportunities it aims to create and open. And that’s the striking feature of this creative enterprise: whether it’s a book, or an art workshop, or a film documentary, there is—and always will be—a bottom line. Each creative project identifies and directly engages with its stakeholder—real people.

And without an actual label for the OCD (a social enterprise? a creative social enabler? a design thinking firm?), it is pretty much an oddball in the business world. A mixed-breed and ongoing experiment in various aspects, albeit effective—just like its founder.

1 Comment

+Read more

Art Fair Symptomatics

Art Fair Symptomatics

Posted on February 23, 2013

With success reports all round, from Singapore’s own Straits Times paper to the Wall Street Journal; the recently concluded Art Stage Singapore held in the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre seemed to have come a mile from last year’s event. The annual art fair brings together international galleries with a focus on Asian art, a move that is only natural in response to the shift in economic clout towards the East. As it is, Asia already represents 45% of the contemporary art auction revenues worldwide. And contrary to the default perspective towards the art market, cities like Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, and Seoul have greater sales than the old guns: Milan, Paris, and Berlin. I could go on quoting statistics, but really, the point is clear and supported: the Asian markets are opening up to art, and they are doing it fast.

2 Comments

+Read more