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Art in Singapore: Exhibitions, events and news in April 2014

Your handy guide to what’s going down in Singapore’s art scene this April…


Intergalactic Art
Lovers of cosmology and philosophy will especially enjoy the new exhibition Bruno’s Dream, featuring a collection of paintings by British-Australian contemporary artist, Giles Alexander.

Giles has used layers of oil paint, ink and resin on painted polyester canvas and aluminium to explore the existentialist ideas of 16th-century Italian philosopher and astronomer, Giordano Bruno, whose cosmological theories caused uproar during the Roman Inquisition.

Giles’s works set out to “explore the ongoing relationship between faith and reason, and Man’s ability, or perhaps need, to simultaneously accept both”. Scattering figures of mythical deities throughout his painted galaxies, Giles juxtaposes these images of “Man’s historic belief systems” with their contemporary counterpart – namely, technology, represented by telescopes and other high-tech instruments used to probe the universe.

The central piece of the collection, Our Father is a Red Giant, addresses both science and the significance of creation stories within religion, referencing Bruno’s theory that our bodies originated from star-generated “dust” – a combination of oxygen, carbon and beryllium. Other highlights from the exhibit include Feudalism and Nationalism, which offer glimpses into what seem to be church and parliament interiors through an almost eerie fish-eye lens.

See Bruno’s Dream until 13 April, presented by Art Equity at Australian High Commission, 25 Napier Road.



Print Master
In his new exhibition, Albrecht Dürer and the Old Testament of Java, Indonesian artist Eddy Susanto recreates the Bible-inspired woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer, the German artist who revolutionised the art of printmaking during the Renaissance. By replacing the outlines of Dürer’s original images – graphic manifestations of Old Testament texts written in Hebrew – with Javanese script painstakingly inscribed by hand in black ink pen, Eddy juxtaposes the growing influence of religions in both Europe and Indonesia at the turn of the 16th century – Christianity and Islam, respectively.

See it until 12 April at Michael Janssen Singapore, 9 Lock Road, #02-21.



Water Works
Drawing on ancient Japanese concepts of space, time and environment, Tokyo-based teamLab – a group of programmers, mathematicians, architects, graphic designers, artists and animators – aims to challenge modes of perception. In its exhibit Universe of Water Particles, digitally generated water, consisting of thousands of particles, is “poured” onto a virtual rock to produce a waterfall simulation that flows in accordance with physical laws.

See it until 26 April at Ikkan Art Gallery, 39 Keppel Road, #01-05 Tanjong Pagar Distripark.


The Oscars of the photography world 

Photojournalism Oscars
The international jury of the 57th annual World Press Photo Contest selected Signal by American photographer John Stanmeyer as the World Press Photo of the Year 2013.

Taken for National Geographic last February, the winning photograph depicts African migrants raising their phones toward the night sky of Djibouti City in hopes of capturing a signal from neighbouring Somalia – an attempt to send and receive messages from relatives abroad. Djibouti is a stop-off point for migrants from countries such as Somalia and Ethiopia seeking a better life in Europe or the Middle East.

John wasn’t the only photographer recognised. Close to 100,000 images were submitted, and 53 photographers were awarded prizes across 18 categories. Judged by 19 leading photojournalism professionals, the winning photos collectively form an eyewitness record of some of the most significant global events of 2013, including Syrian turmoil and the disastrous Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Often described as the Oscars of journalism, World Press Photo was founded in 1955 and is  organised by World Press Photo Foundation in Amsterdam.

Each year, all prize-winning photographs are compiled into one collection that travels the globe. The exhibition has visited Singapore three times, including most recently last month, when the 2012 photographs were showcased at Raffles Hotel. Here’s hoping the exhibition makes its way here again in 2015.

Visit the website to view all the winning photos.



New Book
Art Plural: Voices of Contemporary Art
Gatehouse Publishing, in collaboration with watchmaker Audemars Piguet, has released Art Plural: Voices of Contemporary Art, a new publication featuring a selection of over 25 emerging and internationally recognised contemporary artists, curated by Swiss gallerist Frédéric de Senarclens of Art Plural Gallery in Singapore. Recently unveiled at Art Stage Singapore, the book also includes commentary from art historian and author, Michael Peppiatt, and Singapore-based journalist, Jane A. Peterson. According to de Senarclens, the 240-page hardcover serves as “a reference for collectors and an entry point for art lovers”. Pick up a copy at selected bookstores or Amazon.