Contemporary art takes over the Singapore skyline from 22 October 2015 with Martell Air Gallery, a mobile application created by cognac house Martell to celebrate its 300th anniversary in Singapore and the nation’s Golden Jubilee. Through the mobile app, Singapore’s first augmented reality contemporary art exhibition will be presented against the dramatic backdrop of the Singapore skyline. Curated by Martell’s 300th anniversary ambassador in Singapore Kelley Cheng, the Martell Air Gallery features the exhibition titled Zoe – The Art of the Alchemist, which showcases 15 new works by 15 local artists.

Shih Yun Yeo
Shih Yun Yeo

The artworks will be exhibited against iconic Singapore landmarks around the Marina Bay area and can only be experienced exclusively through Martell Air Gallery app. The app can be downloaded on mobile devices, allowing the public to freely access, view and interact with the artworks on exhibition at their own leisure. The Martell Air Gallery will also become the platform that serves as a permanent open-air gallery, offering an innovative and cutting-edge approach to experience and appreciate art in Singapore.

Michael Lee
Michael Lee

As part of Martell’s Tricentenary celebrations, Kelley Cheng was invited to Cognac and Versailles where she drew inspiration from Martell’s rich heritage. Through her trip, Cheng has recognised that the steps of making cognac closely parallels the Chinese concept of Wu Xing, a conceptual scheme that consists of five elements (Metal, Water, Fire, Wood, and Earth). This realisation has informed her direction of the exhibition, with five distinct sections that represent the five elements. While the elements symbolise the different steps of cognac-making, they are at the same time metaphors that parallel the growth of Singapore from third to first world. Each element also aptly describes the character and different phases of change and development in Singapore. To illustrate the parallels between these phases and the five elements, Cheng has worked with 15 luminaries from various creative fields for the exhibition – writer Amanda Lee Koe; artists Angie Seah, Brenda Tan, Debbie Ding, Justin Lee, Michael Lee, Yeo Shih Yun, Ben Puah; illustrators Anngee Neo and Mindflyer; multi-media artists Rowell Tan and Sarah Choo; filmmaker Kirsten Tan and architects Lennard Ong and Voon Wong.

“Audience can expect a variety of artworks ranging from still images to animated pieces that will be coded into the Augmented Reality platform. The Martell Air Gallery will give a whole new perspective on viewing art, as they can walk around Marina Bay and be able to equally appreciate art that might be flashed onto the sky, on a building or on the water’s surface. This will be historic in Singapore as it will be the first ever augmented reality contemporary art exhibition, the first ever fully-fledged art show done using this technology. It is an appropriate gift from Martell to Singapore, being nothing short of exceptional,” says Kelley Cheng, curator and Martell ambassador in Singapore.
Martell Air Gallery is available for free download on iTunes and Google Play Store from 22 October 2015. The app will display the locations of the 15 artworks, which will be exhibited around the Marina Bay area. Using geo-tagging technology, viewers will be prompted to point their mobile devices at specific locations where the artworks can be accessed through the app. The app will allow viewers to engage with both still and moving images which will be given a dramatic dimension as they will be virtually installed against Singapore landmarks. For example, there will be an artwork suspended in the air over the Marina Bay Sands Sky Park as well as an artwork on the surface of the waters of Marina Bay.
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Martell’s heritage dates back to the 18th Century, when Jean Martell, a native of Jersey
founded the company in 1715, making Martell the oldest of the great cognac houses. Since
1715 Martell has produced, exported and marketed cognacs whose quality is recognised
worldwide. The hallmark of the house of Martell can be summarised in three key terms;
elegance, complexity and balance. Martell Cognac was founded at the height of the French
Art de Vivre movement; a period of time in which gastronomy, tasting and craftsmanship were
all celebrated and enjoyed with style. As such, these became the three pillars of the Martell
House and are the three core areas which still remain intrinsic to Martell’s vision today.