Classic Contemporary

Classic Contemporary: Contemporary Southeast Asian Art from the Singapore Art Museum Collection
Singapore Art Museum
29 January – 2 May 2010

Agus Sawage
With the dawn of a new decade, the Singapore Art Museum is ready to create a new identity for itself. Under the helm of Director, Mr. Tan Boon Hui and armed with a whole new attitude, the museum’s new line-up of programmes for 2010 aims to breathe new life into the space, focus attention on building relationships with living artists and develop SAM into the contemporary arts hub in the region.

For its first exhibition of the year, SAM is excited to present Classic Contemporary: Contemporary Southeast Asian Art from the Singapore Art Museum Collection, which shines the spotlight on the most iconic contemporary artworks in its collection.
This notable exhibition aptly rolls out the red carpet for a stellar cast of painting, sculpture, video, photography and performance art from across Southeast Asia and will be the first of many contemporary art focused exhibitions for the year. Quirky, interactive (and some even say ‘sassy’), it aims to introduce new audiences to the idea of contemporary art and playfully question what makes a work of art “classic” or
“contemporary”, or “classic contemporary”. Cheekiness aside, many of the artworks do probe and prod issues of a serious nature – often asking critical and challenging questions about society, nation and the history of art itself.

Director of SAM, Mr. Tan Boon Hui, says, “Contemporary art is still a foreign concept to many Singaporeans – some may think of it as glamorous, while others may view it as pretentious or even, unwelcoming! We want to break down these barriers and encourage meaningful conversations about contemporary art. With Classic
Contemporary we hope to inspire Singaporeans to discover contemporary art for themselves. We are looking to the future, towards developing an appreciation of contemporary art amongst Singaporeans and recognising the potential of living artists in Singapore and the region. Classic Contemporary is the perfect way for us to kick-start doing this.”

Classic Contemporary offers an opportunity to revisit major works by some of Asia’s most outstanding contemporary artists such as Suzann Victor, Matthew Ngui, Simryn Gill, Redza Piyadasa, Jim Supangkat, Nindityo Adipurnomo, Agnes Arellano, and Agus Suwage, among others. This exhibition also presents an opportunity for SAM to feature some important works that have never before been displayed in their entirety, like Montian Booma’s The Pleasure of Being, Crying, Dying and Eating, or in the proper configurations, like Tang Da Wu’s Tiger’s Whip.

To make the exhibition all the more engaging, a full programme of curatorial lectures, artist presentations, moving image screenings, performances and a new quarterly art party is lined up to provide a highly entertaining and immersive experience of the work and ideas of the artists!

Classic Contemporary will run from 29 January to 2 May 2010 at Singapore Art Museum at 8Q. Be sure to tell everyone about it!

Singapore Art Museum (SAM)