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On The Wall: Top art exhibitions in Singapore (and beyond) in September

By: Amy Greenburg

What’s happening in Singapore’s art scene this month? Well, we’ll tell you. Plus, we’ll even give you a run down of the best international art shows worth taking a trip for, because we’re nice like that.


Need for Speed
In honour of this month’s Singapore Grand Prix, Icon Gallery presents Speed, an exhibition of Formula One-inspired art, signed memorabilia – including race-worn clothing and limited-edition prints – and “upcycled” products such as coffee tables, clocks and lamps made from parts of used F1 cars. The showcase will also feature pieces from established F1 artists Nikki Douthwaite and Paul Oz, both known for their portraiture; Nikki’s “confetti” collage portraits are made up of thousands of punched paper dots painstakingly glued on to board, while Paul is recognised for his large-scale “explosive” portraits, in which thick layers of acrylic and oil produce 3D effects. See it from 18 September to 11 October at Icon Gallery, 476 River Valley Road.



State of Otherness
In her solo exhibition Here Nor There, Berlin-based Australian artist Karla Marchesi explores the interaction between nature and the urban environment, depicted in monochromatic and muted coloured paintings where untamed plant life overtakes urban spaces. The exhibition title makes reference to philosopher Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopias, or “other spaces”, that are neither here nor there – urbanised yet wild, and constant yet ever-changing. Inspired by these ideas of otherness and the timelessness of place, Here Nor There is both a self-portrait reflecting Karla’s experience as an expat, and a metaphor for Berlin’s cycle of growth, flux, transformation and renewal. See it from 2 September to 31 October at the Australian High Commission, 25 Napier Road.



The Shape of Things
This month, Art Plural Gallery presents Peter Halley: Solo Exhibition, featuring ten works from the renowned American artist’s career. Known for vibrantly hued geometrical paintings – often described as “square prisons” – Peter challenges the concept of space, viewing his key motif, the square, as a metaphor for confinement. Using Roll-a-Tex canvas and colourful Day-Glo paint, he reinterprets the structure of prison cells and computer chips through constructive and highly organised juxtapositions, attaching his work to contemporary issues. See it from 3 September to 3 October at 38 Armenian Street.



Art at Om
More than just a place to practise your postures, Kate Porter Yoga is a wellness centre for the body and mind – complete with a book exchange and a small art gallery. This month, the intimate studio on the East Coast is holding its third annual KPY Arts Festival, featuring 50 paintings, photographs and ceramic sculptures from around 20 local and expat artists. The show will be open to the public from 11am to 1pm and 6.30 to 9.30pm on weekdays, and from 11am to 2pm and 4pm to 6pm on weekends. 12 September to 12 October at Kate Porter Yoga, 5000G Marine Parade Road, #01-27 Laguna Park.



Art Fairs Around the World
Whether you’re in Singapore, traveling around the region or travelling to more far-off lands, there’s plenty of art to view or buy. Here’s a taste of this month’s art fairs around the globe.

SH Contemporary, Shanghai, China
Back for its eighth year, the BolognaFiere SH Contemporary provides a platform for collectors and art lovers to come together to celebrate Chinese contemporary works. Located at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre (1099 Guo Zhan Road), the fair features paintings, sculptures, installations, drawings, photographic works, films and digital art from a selection of modern and contemporary art galleries. 12 to 14 September.

ExpoChicago, United States
This annual international exposition of contemporary and modern art features over 140 leading galleries from around the world at the city’s historic Navy Pier (600 East Grand Avenue); Expo Art Week joins together over 45 of the city’s cultural institutions for museum exhibitions, gallery openings, installations, public art projects and special dining experiences in conjunction with ExpoChicago. 15 to 21 September.

Art Moscow, Russia
This is the top international art fair in Russia focusing on contemporary art galleries from all over the world. Back for its 18th edition, this year’s fair runs from 12 to 21 September at Central House of Artists, 10 Krymsky Val.

Korean International Art Fair (KIAF), Seoul, South Korea
Five Singapore-based art galleries – Art-2 Gallery, Art Seasons, Chan Hampe Galleries, Element Art Space and STPI – will take part in this year’s KIAF, where they’ll present their latest collections to Korean and international collectors. 25 to 29 September at COEX.

Artist Spotlight
Australian abstract artist, Belinda Fox, will represent Singapore’s Chan Hampe Galleries at this month’s Korean International Art Fair, where she’ll showcase her most recent collection of expressive collages, watercolour and ink drawings, titled Excavate. We asked her to explain the meaning behind the series.

“I chose the title ‘Excavate’ to highlight both the physical process and the concept behind this body of work. While the act of excavation brings attention to old things, it’s not just about discovery, but also the rediscovery of things lost or forgotten. By rediscovering, we are reminded how our past is directly linked to our future, and we give ourselves the opportunity to explore new paths and make different choices. 

Articulating the connection between past, present and future, this full cycle in nature is something that permeates my work in a broader sense. It’s particularly relevant to this collection, as these works of various flora and fauna contain past prints that have been transformed into collage on paper, then cast into bronze and steel sculptures.

Many of the works represent endangered or threatened birds in Singapore. By recreating them from bits of my own previous artworks, including unused prints and personal motifs, I feel as though I am willing these creatures back into being, as though every piece of paper is a little prayer to keep this bird in the world. In a way, I am digging up the past to create new possibilities. My intent is that, by shedding light on the plight of these creatures, I’m inviting attention to the larger concern of our tenuous relationship with the environment on a wider scale.”

Some of Belinda’s works will be on display at Chan Hampe Galleries upon their return from Seoul; visit chanhampegalleries.com for updates.