Dwellings at Gillman with NUS Department of Architecture
22 January - 22 February 2016
Looking at the site of Gillman Barracks to house creatives, is it able to accommodate a sense of community and foster artistic endeavours and artists to collaborate and create even more work?
Those are but a few of the questions that were asked to twelve Year Two students from the NUS Department of Architecture. During their five-month long individual research, these students studied what artists and researchers alike need, as well as the exceptional properties of the site itself. The aim of these designs is not only to satisfy the needs of the residents who utilise the space but also to cultivate the relationships between them. This research culminated in designs by the students on what the best possible version of Gillman Barracks could be if they had free reign over the space.
Assigned specific parts of the site, the students were able to come up with designs that are able to accommodate the needs of the residents of Gillman Barracks as well as incorporate the uniqueness and spirit of the site, like its flora, elevations, and history. The works were then displayed on four different sites within Gillman Barracks itself. True to form, the resulting designs incorporated the unique elements of the site, with elevation playing an integral role in many of the designs as well as an airiness in the plans that allowed for collaborative spaces amongst the residents.
Supporting Art Sponsor: UOL Group Limited
22 January 2016
For Singapore Arts Club's public arts project in 2016, several artists were asked to create works and presentations on the theme "Making Myths". Each artist was then given the freedom to interpret the theme as they see fit.
Jack Tan decided to take the phrase almost literally. Basing his work on the idea of the Japanese Yōkai (妖怪), he created 8 mythical creatures that were inspired by the lives of children living in Singapore. Tan references Roland Barthes’ book, also titled "Mythologies", to create the underlying structure of his work. In his collection of essay, Barthes picked apart at what makes a myth in the modern age, and how, through semiotics, we’ve built up myths out of seemingly mundane things like red wine and plastic. Tan similarly creates myths out of ordinary Singapore, but in a more literal sense. He created creatures like a monster that makes you crave roti pratas and a vampire that hunts students who are cramming for their tests.
To debut these contemporary myths, Tan, with the help of students from the Singapore Chinese Girls’ School, constructed lanterns designed in collaboration with Melvin Tan and Darius Ou. Struck by the many festivals happening in Singapore, Tan saw lantern festivals as another way of modern myth-making. In addition to making the lanterns, the girls, choreographed by Susan Sentler, performed a series of dances inspired by the monsters. These dances are reminiscent of traditional dances that are used to tell the stories and myths of the past, like the Lion Dance or Kecak, in that both help perpetuate the mythology of the fantastical.
By utilising traditional methods of storytelling, Tan was able to dissect the culture of Singapore, a culture that is both steeped in the past and reaching towards the future.
Sean Lee's Live Photo Session
22 January 2016
As part of Singapore Arts Club's public arts project in 2016, Sean Lee conducted a public performance art during Art After Dark on 22 January 2016. The public arts project took on the theme of “Making Myths”, letting the participating artists create their own myths and stories through their work.
Known for his intimate photography, like his "Young Love" and "Two People" series, Lee recreated that feeling of intimacy by inviting strangers to lie down on a bed and interact with each other. The action of lying on the bed is already an intimate act on its own, where one lets all their guards down to rest, often only performed in the privacy of one’s own bedroom. The immortalisation of that moment through photography is even more intimate and rare, as it requires the photographed to trust the photographer and allow them into their private space. By asking these strangers to lie down on the bed, Lee is asking them to not only be vulnerable but also to invite others to see that vulnerability.
It’s almost indiscernible who amongst these people are strangers, friends or lovers. With little else in the photo other than the subjects and the crumpled sheet of the bed, the viewer is then able to create their own narrative of who these people are. And beyond that, what their relationships are, not only with each other but also to the photographer, and as an extension, to the viewer.
HUFF (House Under Four Flags)
17 January 2015 – January 2016
The HUFF (House Under Four Flags) Studio was conceived and built by artist Marcin Dudek and supported by Wood & Wood, in order to establish a purpose-built artist residency space in Gillman Barracks during Singapore Art Week 2015 and as a part of “DRIVE”. Dudek referenced the shapes and forms of the architecture at Gillman Barracks to construct a 10x 10m wooden sculptural installation that doubles as his studio during his time in Singapore. The instinct to build arises out of the artist’s “Anti-Readymade” aesthetic, which is not simply a reflection of his passion for craftsmanship, but rather, an everyday agenda. The title of the project “House Under Four Flags” references the four founding languages of Singapore, and the ‘flag’ is used as a symbol of laying claim to a space or a piece of land. Space as a commodity is a recurring theme in Dudek’s work, one that is particularly relevant in the Singaporean context.
In addition to creating the space, the artist sought to engage the public in a series of workshops. Marcin Dudek later opened the space to all artists, as a pavilion for ongoing investigation.
19 September 2014 – 26 January 2015
DRIVE was a four-month long curated exhibition of outdoor art installations and incorporated a public competition amongst the artists all throughout Gillman Barracks. The theme referred not only to the start of the 2014 Grand Prix Season Singapore but also to the various meanings of “Drive” –a journey or the operation of a vehicle, and also energy and psychological motivation.
Artworks included a 10 x 10m wall painting by Maryanto, a photographic print by Dawn Ng, “The Grass is Too Green on The Inside”, an installation by Koh Nguang How of one of his research subjects, and a classic old bus stop sculpture refashioned with glossy paint and a marble base by Wong Lip Chin. A curatorial panel comprised of esteemed members of the art community selected the second round of public artworks that were actualized and voted on by the public.
Other events included a prize-giving ceremony for the best public artwork, a movie screening and live performance during January’s Singapore Art Week 2015, and a monthly educational arts appreciation programme.