What to expect at Singapore Art Week 2023
There are over 130 programmes at exhibitions at SAW 2023.
The 11th edition of Singapore Art Week (SAW) will take place from Jan 6 to 15. Featuring over 700 artists and curators, there are over 130 programmes and exhibitions this year.
The annual event, headed by the National Arts Council, also includes the launch of ART SG – dubbed Southeast Asia’s largest art fair – as well as host the homecoming presentation of Pulp III: A Short Biography of the Banished Book – a lyrical manuscript that charts the breadth of human cultural endeavour through shared stories of humanity and communities of print that represented Singapore at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.
Happening concurrently alongside the Singapore Biennale and Light to Night, the exhibitions and programmes in SAW 2023 will be held in five neighbourhoods across Singapore in museums, galleries, parks, community centres and in Peace Centre, one of Singapore’s oldest shopping malls.
This year’s SAW discusses everything from conversations and relationships to the concept of a museum.
Here are five exhibitions to look forward to:
1. Process: Roving Ideas
Process: Roving Ideas is an online project with a simple premise: Follow the instructions to get an experience envisioned by the artist in your daily life. Two prompts will be posted daily in a simple format which gives audiences instructions to go to a location, at a specific time, and perform a certain activity.
For example, one of the prompts that have been posted is “Go to the 34th floor of 455A Teck Ghee Park View at night and look at the view.”
Currently featuring 34 artists, the project was inspired by Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit, and aims to encourage the public to gain better awareness and appreciation of their surroundings. By following these prompts, the artists hope that the audience will be able to experience art in daily life.
Additionally, the project’s title is an anagram of SingapoRediscovers, reflecting their shared goal of getting audiences to “discover Singapore with fresh eyes”.
A collaboration between two independent spaces, Starch and Supper House, after/party revolves around respite, joy, play and relaxation.
The exhibitions are inspired by nightly affairs around the world. The two exhibitions, Nighthawks and There are Flowers in the Morning Mist, are mainstays at the two houses during SAW.
One of the pieces which can be found at Supper House is Midnight Lady, by scentmaker Chris Chong and visual artist Sarah Ninjawhee. The piece is about the meeting of people in a party, and draws reference from certain cactus flowers which only bloom once a year.
The experiential piece combines sight and smell for an experience that discusses the nature of relationships, and is inspired by how people gather at afterparties. The piece is separated into three acts using a staircase, with each act having a different scent element.
Supper House is located at 222 Tagore Lane, #04-03, 787603, while Starch is located at 81 Tagore Lane, #02-11, 787502.
3. Bad Clocks: Alley Through a Pinhole
Bad Clocks: Alley Through a Pinhole is part of the Bad Clocks concept, which art trio DASSAD have been exploring, as part of their ways to reconsider how time is understood and defined. The installation is a collaboration between DASSAD and three other artists – Euginia Tan, Neo Jialing and Victoria Hertel.
The installation features a camera obscura, where a pinhole in the wall of a darkened room causes the environment to be projected back into its interior. Bad Clocks: Alley Through a Pinhole provides audiences with acrylic plates to carry with them into the room, which they can hold up to view the projected images.
This iteration of Bad Clocks explores the perception of time within the camera obscura, tracing back to the beginnings of photography. Other pieces in the area include a group of ticking solar toys and a musical installation.
The camera obscura is located within the Objectifs Lower Gallery at 155 Middle Road, 188977.
4. Let's Play Ball - Art That Fits in Your Palm!
Let’s Play Ball – Art That Fits in Your Palm! is an interactive visual arts programme designed by studio Knuckles & Notch. It features 10 Gachapon capsule vending machines containing limited edition objects and collectibles created by 10 different artists.
Among the collectibles available are ceramic incense holders and timepieces as well as crocheted pieces and stuffed toys. There are a few variations of each item, and each item has a message that the artist hopes to convey.
Visitors can purchase a token to use the machines at the front counter of Knuckles & Notch, with prices ranging from $50 to $70 for one play.
Knuckles & Notch is located at 261 Waterloo St, #02-25, 180261.
5. For the House; Against the House: ______ is Dead
Returning for the third time in SAW, this year’s edition of For the House; Against the House: ______ is Dead consists of two different parts – The Museum is Dead, curated by John Tung, and Desire is Dead, curated by Adele Tan.
The Museum is Dead discusses the concept of museums and what deserves to go into a museum. It features newly commissioned works from artists as well as pieces borrowed from local collectors.
One eye-catching piece is a stack of handmade papers encased in a glass box, made by Thai artist Wantanee Siripattananuntakul. The pulp used to make the pages came from her family’s history book – significant as she has royal ancestry, related to the Zhu clan which once ruled the Ming Dynasty.
The piece challenges the ideas of what deserves to be in a museum and who decides the value of each piece.
Desire is Dead is rated NC16 for some nudity and disturbing content. Also featuring commissioned works and borrowed pieces, it seeks out the desire that surrounds us every day despite the perception of Singapore as unsexy and sterile.
Featuring artworks depicting erotic scenes and chairs specially designed to look like buttocks, it similarly discusses whether “desire is dead” in Singapore.
For the House; Against the House: ______ is Dead can be found on the first and second floors of Tanglin Shopping Centre, 19 Tanglin Rd, 247909.
Information about the other exhibitions can be found on SAW’s website.