As the cargo lift door opens, more than 1000 porcelain figures greeted us at the tune of Beethoven's 5th Symphony. MY CHOIR by China artist, Luo Xu, stood magnificent across the entrance at the Collector Stage exhibition at the Tanjong Pagar Distripark.
Tanjong Pagar Distripark
Wow, was the first word that came out of everyone’s mouth the moment we set our eyes and ears at the gallery. We were immediately drawn towards MY CHOIR. Like spirits drawn towards the light, we walked towards MY CHOIR, almost seeing each of their ceramic “mouths” moved to the tune of the music. It’s as if each piece of art was alive and singing their heart out.
After being spellbound for ten minutes or so, I woke from my spell and moved my eyes around the gallery and spotted Agus Suwage’s LUXURY CRIME. Under a dimmed spotlight, the golden skeleton looked forlorn and lonesome in its bucket of uncooked rice. As if it was beckoning us towards to keep it company. Sensing its loneliness, I broke away from my friends and walked toward to say hello.
“LUXURY CRIME is a satirical image of Indonesia’s condition. The gold skeleton bathing in rice alludes to a proverb: Die in on rice barn.” – Agus Suwage
As I moved around the gallery, I was somehow annoyed by a loud pounding sound coming from a corner. Thinking it could be some construction that was ongoing from an inconsiderate neighbor renovating this time of the night. But when I opened the door into a room, a large old fashioned monstrous machine greeted me with loud pounding sound. Nicknamed the SOUVENIR MAKER by LN Tallur, it swallows meters and meters of metal wires, spitting them out into dangerous looking barb wires nestled into a tangled looking coil. Just opposite, a table lined with rows of test tubes filled with a single piece of barb wire, sat neatly as if waiting patiently for people to buy them.
Tanjong Pagar Distripark is one of the three venues of the Collector Stage, an exhibition of never been seen artworks by private collectors on loan during the Art Stage Singapore 2011. The two other venues are the [email protected] and the Singapore Art Museum (SAM).
I swear I could just park myself in the gallery and inhale all the art for days. But after walking around infusing all my senses from all the exhibits, I reluctantly moved on to [email protected], where more exhibits await me.
A large metallic cube-like structure dominated the room filled with portraits and paintings. As I moved towards it, a skyline image appeared and disappeared. Rashid Rana’s DESPERATELY SEEKING PORTRAITS plays with images and angled mirrors to create a multifold affect. It was totally mesmerizing.
Portraits around it paled in comparison to the dominating sculpture apart for one which caught my attention. EXPECTING NEW BORN ROMUSA by Ronald Manullang, a larger than life size portrait of a Japanese emperor, casually draped in a floral silk gown, nude in woman’s body with large swollen breasts and huge pregnant belly. A black and white oil painting, so detailed you will almost mistaken it for a photograph.
Coincidentally I bump into the artist, Ronald Manullang whom I’ve met a few days earlier at The Art Stage Singapore 2011 at the Marina Bay Sands. A sweet and humble man who spoke little English but still as eloquent as his paintings. I was immediately charmed by this kind and humble gentleman.
After the magnificent display, I was pretty disappointed by the exhibit at the [email protected] Maybe I should have started my tour here instead as the exhibits exuded a sense of calm and humanity, as opposed to the apocalyptic visions and notions of deaths projected by the exhibits in the Tanjong Pagar Distripark.
It was my second day, visiting Part 2 of the Collector Stage at the Tanjong Pagar Distripark, just the day before I was at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) for the opening of Collector Stage Part 1. I was not particularly wowed by the exhibits at SAM, maybe because of the over crowding of the guests at the opening which dampened the joy of savoring the exhibits in peace. And most people at the opening at SAM seems to be there to schmooze and drink free champagne. However a few pieces of work knock my socks off.
Singapore Art Museum (SAM)
A building within a building. It felt as if I was looking at a giant doll house inside the Glass Hall at SAM. Yoshitomo Nara + graf’s YOGYA BINTANG HOUSE MINI, stood out like a sore thumb in the middle of the gleaming glass hall. An old fashioned attap house, sprinkled inside out with cute drawings by Yoshitomo Nara. A little girl who was attending the opening event, peered curiously into the window.
As I moved away from the crowd, trying to find some space to breath, I entered another room filled with beautiful gothic red accessories. At first sight, the red objects looked like fashion pieces off the runway of a haute couture fashion show. At closer look, you see the bejeweled forms to be comprised of human bones. Titled SILENCE (BLOOD WEDDING) by Anita Dube.
A reddish glow beckons me into a small room, as I entered the blood red room, both sides lined with red bottles containing blood like liquid. BLAME by Shilpa Gupta almost blinded me as I stood bathed in the reddish glow.
“Blaming you makes me feel so good: so I blame you for what you cannot control” words inscribed on each bottle by Shilpa Gupta
As my vision slowly tuned itself back, we followed the crowd into the next gallery. At the corner of the wall, stood a rather peculiar looking old weathered table (or was it a chair?). Ai Wei Wei’s TABLE WITH THREE LEGS stood at the corner, leaning against the wall on two of its three legs while one stood steadfast on it’s own.
While moving on to the next level at SAM. I spotted Jane Lee’s RAW CANVAS, hanging sadly at a makeshift wall, too close to the large wooden staircase. I felt that not enough space was given to this magnificent artwork in order to enjoy its grandeur from a distance. Too near, and it looked like a piece of large rag hanging from the wall. I wish the curators have given it more space.
The Collector Stage ended the Art Stage Singapore 2011 on a high note. With so many magnificent artworks, you can image the effort and money spent by these collectors amassing them through the years. One thought my friend and I kept wondering was, how do the collectors keep such huge artworks? Till now I am still heady from the Art Stage Singapore 2011 and Collector Stage as it took me almost one week to get over the whole experience.
You can still catch the Collector Stage at the three venues – Singapore Art Museum (SAM), [email protected] and Tanjong Pagar DistriPark – till the 17th Feburary 2011.
Shuttle buses are available from SAM to the two off-site venues, ARTSPACE @ Helutrans and Tanjong Pagar Distriparks. Check the staffs at SAM for details.
Fees: Museum fees payable at SAM. Free at ARTSPACE @ Helutrans and Tanjong Pagar Distriparks
Click here for more info of the Collector Stage.