continues its series of art oases in Singapore. In this instalment, we feature “Landscape Memories”, a group exhibition of four exciting young local artists, now showing at Louis Vuitton Island Maison.

The exhibition is a particularly pertinent for Singapore – a City State planned to the hilt, peppered with constant construction and swept up in accelerating architectural change. “Landscape Memories” avoids traditional ideas of representational landscape, in favour of exploring our subjective relationship with our environment.

The painters of the group, Jane Lee and Ng Joon Kiat, put on a good showing with works that may be simply described as an affirmation of painting as a genre. Both artists display an incredible sensitivity to their medium, creating pieces that are as aesthetically arresting from afar as they are visually engaging up close.

Ng Joon Kiat, “Green Series: Nature, Borders, Space”, 2013
Acrylic on cloth, 150 x 100 x 5 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Osage Gallery

Ng’s visual motifs and colour palette reference land masses, wormlike roads that lead to nowhere, lost buildings and landmarks, like some luminous aerial shot of imagined geography.

Jane Lee, “Déjà vu”, 2013
Mixed media on epoxy canvas, 600 cm x 105 cm x 8cm (various sizes and pieces)
Courtesy of the artist

Ng’s surefootedness in execution, evident in the strident layering of acrylic, is matched by the sheer physicality of Jane Lee’s work – a delicious mass of a glossy, almost viscous paint medium – whose individual sections of paint weave together to form a fantastical tectonic amalgamation.

Genevieve Chua, “She was here before No.3 “, 2012
Screenprint with graphite and volcanic rock on BFK Rives, 80 x 122cm
Courtesy of the artist and Singapore Tyler Print Institute

Kudos go to Khim Ong for finding an equanimous curatorial balance between Lee’s and Ng’s colour-saturated abstraction and the evocative monochromatic pieces by Genevieve Chua and Donna Ong. Chua’s imagery is always filled with lore (sometimes even hinting at Romanticism) inviting viewers into a world that is at once recognisable and yet subtly off-kilter. Her work plays off perfectly against Ong’s uncanny ability to imbue everyday objects with an otherworldly quality, be it through their physical transformation or surprising arrangements.

Donna Ong, “Landscape Portraits (In a Beautiful Place Nearby)”, 2009
Installation with video, dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist

Espace Louis Vuitton Singapore at Marina Bay Sands – a cove under sea level within an artificial ‘island’ constructed on the edge of an island city – is a fitting setting for the exhibition’s meditation on landscape. Entering the lower levels of Louis Vuitton provides a welcome counterpoint to the activity of Singapore’s Central Business District, a chance for viewers to slow down and think about their own inner experience with the world around them, be it in nature or our built environment.

Espace Louis Vuitton Singapore
Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton has always been consistent in its willingness to work closely with the art world, seen recently their incorporation of Daniel Buren’s geometric abstraction in their latest Spring/Summer runway showing. “Landscape Memories” is their first major collaboration with Singaporean artists who are at the top of their game. If it’s any indication of the future programming at the space, then it bodes well for art-lovers looking for a visual respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

“Landscape Memories” will run through till September 2013 at:
Espace Louis Vuitton Singapore
2 Bayfront Avenue, #B2-36, Singapore
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 10:00 – 23:00, and Friday to Saturday 10:00 – 00:00
Admission is free.