Something New Must Turn Up: Six Singaporean Artists After 1965 Exhibition at National Gallery Singapore

  • 05:33 AM, 4 May, 2021
Mohammad Din Mohammad: The Mistaken Ancestor

(May 4, 2021 Singapore) National Gallery Singapore is proud to present Something New Must Turn Up: Six Singaporean Artists After 1965, the first-ever joint exhibition comprising six solo presentations that explore the diverse artistic practices of six post-independence Singaporean artists: Chng Seok Tin (莊心珍), Goh Beng Kwan (吴珉权), Jaafar Latiff, Lin Hsin Hsin (林欣欣), Mohammad Din Mohammad (محمد دین محمد ) and Eng Tow (杜瑛). Launching on 7 May, the show offers an in-depth and comparative examination of how these artistic innovators broke new ground and contributed significantly to the development of Singapore’s modern and contemporary art in the post-independence era. Each of them actively expanded the boundaries of art in post-independence Singapore by striving to be continuously new. They all undertook  explorations in diverse media, ranging from collage, printmaking and installation to batik, textiles and digital art.

Goh Beng Kwan  Nervous City

Featuring over 300 artworks and more than 100 archival materials and objects spanning across decades and disciplines from collage, printmaking and installations, to batik, cloth and digital art, the show provides a rich visual experience that demonstrates the breadth and depth of the artistic practices of post-independence Singaporean artists. The expansive solo presentations will also provide audiences with a deeper understanding of how this group of artists actively expanded the boundaries of art in post-independence Singapore through innovative artistic practices and techniques that pushed the envelope on Singapore's modern art and contributed to the development of Singapore’s contemporary art.

Jaafar Latiff  In the Time of Textile

Through the exhibition, audiences will not only be able to draw connections between the artworks and developments in Singapore’s history and cultural identity in the post-independence era, but also to their own life through themes that remain resonant today, such as art and wellness, an individual’s relationship to nature and the loss of the country’s heritage due to rapid urbanisation and economic growth.

Eng Tow - the sixth sense

9 August 1965 was a defining moment in Singapore’s history. It marked the city-state’s political separation from Malaysia to become an independent sovereign state. This event abruptly ruptured the shared Malayan cultural identity forged through the 1950s, and left a psychological fissure that deeply impacted artists in Singapore. The title of this exhibition encapsulates the anxieties and possibilities of charting a new direction for art in Singapore. It is derived from an extract by artist Ho Ho Ying, who was one of the leading intellectuals of the Modern Art Society Singapore proclaiming: “Strictly speaking, Realism has passed its golden age; Impressionism has done its duty; Fauvism and Cubism are declining. Something new must turn up to succeed the unfinished task left by our predecessors”.

Chng Seok Tin Drawn Through a Press

This exhibition also reconsiders the history of modern art in Singapore in light of the vital role played by these artists, and others of this generation that emerged after independence. They actively bridged modern and contemporary art by exploring unconventional uses of materials and subject matter. Many of the urgent issues which these artists began to engage with then remain highly relevant today, such as urbanisation, spirituality, ecological concerns and the emergence of computer technologies. They also questioned the role of tradition and the spiritual in art. Individually and collectively, these six artists rode the wave of change on Singapore’s tumultuous road to independence and subsequent nation-building. Their diverse practices reflect the city-state’s syncretic cultural identities and contributed significantly to the indispensable role of artists and art in our lives today.

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