A new exhibition at National Gallery of Singapore chronicles its acquisition of artworks and the post-war evolution of Southeast Asian art.
Open for two-and-a-half years, the National Gallery Singapore's two permanent galleries are home to the world's largest institutional collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian modern art -- 8,630 pieces to be exact. Before that, custodianship belonged to National Museum Art Gallery (founded in 1976) and then to the Singapore Art Museum (founded in 1996).
"(Re)Collect", which runs until Aug 19, showcases more than 120 pieces of the artworks -- including major pieces by four master Thai artists -- to chronicle the gallery's journey and evolution from post-war Singapore until today. It is also a chronicle of the progression of Southeast Asian art through the decades.
[This exhibition includes] Rirkrit Tiravanija's Untitled 2014-2015 (curry for the soul of the forgotten), a three-channel 47-minute video of villagers cooking a pot of curry while the curry pot mysteriously moves across each screen by itself. In front of the projection is a bronze cast of the exact curry pot the villagers used to cook.
Rirkrith's artwork raises a lot of questions as we never see the locals eating the curry together. This, and the bronze pot creates a distance that tends to happen when objects are displaced into a non-neutral space, much like an art gallery.