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On the Wall: Top art exhibitions in October, plus your guide to Singapore International Photography Festival

By: Amy Greenburg

Setting your sights on a good gallery hop? Read on for the best happenings in Singapore’s art scene this month, from photography to sculpture…


Changing Cityscapes
Using bold brushstrokes to create abstract depictions of local shophouses, streets and skyscrapers in Singapore, Malaysian artist Chankerk is known for exploring rapidly changing urban landscapes. In his new body of work, Forming the City, Chankerk shifts his gaze beyond the streets of Singapore to other locales across Asia – including Sri Lanka, Japan and Cambodia – capturing the architecture and character of each. He leaves human figures out of the compositions, allowing for the psyche of each city to be conveyed through its spaces, and serving as a reflection of local values, histories and sociopolitical influences. See it at Chan Hampe Galleries, 328 North Bridge Road, #01-21 Raffles Hotel Arcade.

 Corridor II_Val_L56 x H53 x D13cm

Sculptural Poetry
This month, REDSEA Gallery takes a walk on the existential side with Presence, an exhibition by Bangkok-based French sculptor, Val, whose works of “sculptural poetry” pay homage to various notions of being. Each of the artist’s 37 contemporary bronze works features one or more human figures amidst a larger structure, giving voice to her exploration of the human condition in the vastness of the universe; each is a powerful affirmation of the presence of life and the many expressions and moments that come with it. For example, Paternité (Fatherhood), offers a glimpse into a special, shared moment between father and child, while Une Vie (A Life), muses on a life lived full of dreams, hardships, questions and expectations. See it 9 October to 2 November at REDSEA Gallery, 9 Dempsey Road.


Punk Rock Revival
In honour of its 10th anniversary, French fashion brand, agnès b, is presenting a special exhibition featuring a selection of behind-the-scenes photographs from some of the major players in the 1970s punk scene, including The Clash, The Sex Pistols and Generation X, among others. Working closely with legendary music photographer Sheila Rock, the fashion label curated 28 photos from Rock’s Punk + book to make up the agnès b. Punk + Photo Exhibition; each photo plays a role in chronicling the key shift in British street fashion during the punk movement, and offers insight into the revolutionary fashion phenomena that went on to reinvent music culture and art. The photos are available for purchase, and a selection of books, vinyl records and accessories are also on sale at a pop-up store located within the exhibition space. See it from 1 to 26 October, 12 to 9pm daily, at The Substation Gallery, 45 Armenian Street.


Noon-nom by Pinaree Sanpitak
Noon-nom by Pinaree Sanpitak


Making Sense of Things
Spanning the fields of art, phenomenology, philosophy and cognitive psychology, the Asian contemporary art exhibition, Sensorium 360°, moves beyond vision to “see” the world through the other senses. Presenting works from artists in Southeast Asia and beyond, each featured work is dedicated to one specific sensory experience and, while the five senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell are the most commonly known, the exhibit explores others, such as the ability to detect movement, pain, balance and even time – physiological capacities that are vital in enabling us to navigate the world around us. Experience it until 19 October at SAM, 71 Bras Basah Road.


Coming up


Wallet-friendly Art
Back by popular demand, the Affordable Art Fair returns next month for the second time this year. The November edition will give art fans the opportunity to purchase contemporary works from over 100 international galleries, and across a wide range of media. The best part? All works will be priced between $100 and $10,000. 20 to 23 November at F1 Pit Building, 1 Republic Boulevard.


Photography Focus
The fourth biennial Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF) is on from 3 October to 30 November, featuring exhibitions, workshops and fringe activities at various art galleries and spaces throughout the city. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.  (Psst…. head here for our quick interview with SIPF co-founder and director, Gwen Lee.)


Coastline by Zhang Xiao
Coastline by Zhang Xiao


The 4th SIPF Open Call Showcase
This open call gave international, emerging and established photographers the chance to submit their most exciting work, without any themed restrictions. The showcase presents 400 of these works – shortlisted from thousands – by 48 photographers from 23 different countries. See it from 3 October to 30 November at the National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road.


Postman by Maleonn
Postman by Maleonn


Flux Realities: A Showcase of Chinese Contemporary Photography
Featuring over 60 images from seven Chinese photographers, this exhibition highlights each artist’s individualistic, creative approach and personal experience of China’s modernisation. They explore consumerism and globalisation while excavating the memories buried beneath skyscrapers and factories, and examine the torn fabrics of tradition while contemplating the meaning of memory. See it until 2 November at ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Avenue.


A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World by Zhao Renhui
A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World by Zhao Renhui


An Ocean of Possibilities
SIPF collaborated with Noorderlicht International Photofestival in the Netherlands for this themed open call, which explores notions of challenging the status quo and searching for a path less travelled. The partnership gives selected artists the opportunity to display their works at both international festivals. See it from 31 October to 28 December at ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Avenue.


Milan Image Art Fair
In conjunction with SIPF, Milan Image Arts (MIA) Singapore will hold Southeast Asia’s first Milan Image Fair – an international art fair dedicated to photography and video. Geared toward art lovers and collectors – with an emphasis on educating the new, young collector base – the fair will feature contemporary works from both up-and-coming and known artists, including Singapore-based Australian photographer, Sealey Brandt. Known for her black-and-white portraiture photography, Sealey will exhibit a collection of silver gelatin prints from her travels to Mongolia, as well as a collection of children’s portraits.

The fair will also offer seminars, workshops and round tables that cover topics ranging from the history of the photographic image to curatorship, and collecting and displaying photographic works. 22 to 25 October at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, 10 Bayfront Avenue.

Festival passes can be purchased from eventbrite.com or at the festival office. For a full line-up of events and activities, visit sipf.sg.