Pearl Lam Galleries is a recent newcomer in the galleries-filled Gillman Barracks. To mark the gallery’s beginning in Singapore and opening, they presented ‘Where Does It All Begin? – Contemporary Abstract Art in Asia and the West’, curated by Philip Dodd.
Being the third gallery, Singapore has been strategically chosen to strengthen the core mission of the Galleries: to engage in cultural exchange and provide a platform for rising and established talents from the West and East to meet, interact and engage. The strategic location for Pearl Lam Galleries is also in line with and supportive of the city’s ambitious aspiration to be the cultural hub of the region. Due to its geographical location, the Gallery will also have a special focus on Southeast Asian Art.
The space, housed within a heritage building at the Gillman Barracks Art Centre in Singapore, provides an ideal location for the Gallery. Galleries founder Pearl Lam like the idea of the gallery being in a heritage space and bringing in the new and cutting edge. This is similar to the other two gallery locations they have in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
‘The location and building symbolizes what we believe in – being rooted in the past and respecting local cultures while looking to the future.’ – Galleries’ founder Pearl Lam
Opening Show in Singapore:
Where Does It All Begin? – Contemporary Abstract Art in Asia and the West
Curated by Philip Dodd
The opening exhibition ‘Where Does It All Begin? – Contemporary Abstract Art in Asia and the West’ provides a unique opportunity to see major artists from the USA and China, Europe and Indonesia, side by side, all exploring and revealing the power of abstract art today. The exhibition explodes the myth that contemporary art from Asia is dependent on Western art, while revealing and celebrating the complex and ongoing dialogue between Western and Asian abstract art. The exhibition mounted at a tie when abstract art is becoming central again to the global art world after a period where conceptualism seemed to reign supreme.
Bridging the gap between East and West as well as across generations, ‘Where Does It All Begin? – Contemporary Abstract Art in Asia and the West’ include works by a group artists including Pat Steir, a major American abstract artist influenced by Chinese art and Taoism; two important Chinese artists Zhu Jinshi and Su Xiaobai, who both lived and studied in Germany and whose work is distinguished by their unique experiences, influences and emphasis on material; young British artist Peter Peri, whose works explore the tension between lines and volume, figuration and abstraction, and art historical influences; and one of Indonesia’s most prominent female artists, Christine Ay Tjoe, whose work is delicate to the point of fragility and reveals an internal world full of inner thoughts, melancholy, struggle, pain, and happiness.
Pearl Lam Galleries presents the current repertoire of the budding Indonesian artist Syaiful Aulia Garibaldi, fondly known as Tepu to his friends. Tepu’s art visualizes the tiny and often overlooked workings of nature on a large scale, reminding us of the importance of minute life forms that decompose waste and regenerate new life. In his first solo exhibition outside of Indonesia, Tepu puts on view a varied selection of artworks across a diversity of mediums, including stylized paintings of microorganisms, spore prints, and installation art pieces involving mushrooms, moss and orchids. His unique reading of life and nature is evident through the quirky use of organic materials in his art practice.
In the midst of the bustling art market, with local and international audiences clamouring for the loud and obvious, Tepu stands out quiet but confident, original and yet aware of the great Indonesian masters before him. Starting off as a student of agriculture in university, Tepu switched to experimental fine arts and applies his scientific background to create a conceptual foundation for his art. As he peers into his microscope, he records images of cellular growth and uses them as alphabets to create a new language he named Terhah, meaning ‘idea’, a project so thorough it came complete with a dictionary. He then progressively expanded and populated his constructed, imaginative world with small organisms which feature in his prints, sketches, paintings and finally, installation art. The upcoming exhibition at Pearl Lam Galleries serves as an arena for Tepu to further introduce and make tangible the fascinating world of Terhah in three-dimensional form.
Pearl Lam Galleries
9 Lock Road
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Photographs of artworks: Courtesy of Pearl Lam Galleries