5 must-see art shows at Gillman Barracks, ending soon
A taste of life at this busy contemporary arts cluster in less socially distanced times. (Video: Gillman Barracks)
Since its rebirth in September 2012, Gillman Barracks has developed into the most important centre for contemporary visual art in Singapore. It is also well on the way to realising its vision of becoming a leading location in Asia for the presentation and discussion of international and Southeast Asian art.
The A List has picked out five current exhibitions that really make a trip to Gillman worthwhile right now. Take in several shows at a time and make pit stops at any of the scores of cafés, bars and restaurants that also call these former military barracks home. But be quick as all five of our must-sees must end soon.
1. Ding Yi: Stars Crossed @ ShanghART Gallery until 13 Mar
Ding Yi: Stars Crossed is a rare opportunity to see large-scale paintings by one of China’s most admired artists. On display are two of Ding Yi’s best-known works, painted 16 years apart, that show the evolution of his style and the persistence of the cross symbols he has employed since the 1980s, with ‘x’ connoting either a ‘no’ or a denial of something, and ‘+’ suggestive of building and adding. Ding pursued a ‘rational abstraction’ divorced from everyday life until he became fascinated by Shanghai’s breakneck development, and he has said that many of his paintings respond to the street grids of Shanghai in the same way Mondrian’s famous grids were inspired by the streets and avenues of New York City. (Photo: Herbert Wright)
2. Another Spring by Htein Lin @ Richard Koh Fine Art until 19 Mar
The paintings in Another Spring by Htein Lin are dispatches from the front line of the resistance movement in Myanmar, displaying a graphic directness reminiscent of Keith Haring and a fiery, righteous indignation. The work is rendered on longyi; sheets of cloth about 200x80cm that form traditional Burmese garb. Htein Lin’s last foray into longyi art was a short-lived installation on a Yangon street in March 2021 at the height of protests against the military coup that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi. Myanmar belief holds that it is detrimental to a man’s glory to walk beneath women’s below-the-waist garments, and it was quickly destroyed by soldiers. Htein Lin also draws on his experiences in the pro-democracy uprising of 1988 and his time in a student-rebel camp near the Myanmar-China border. (Photo: Richard Koh Fine Art/Htein Lin)
3. Kim Tae Ho | Internal Rhythm @ The Columns Gallery until 26 Feb
Kim Tae-Ho is often pigeon-holed as a close relation of the influential Dansaekhwa artists who, in the 1970s, laid the foundation of East Asian modern art with a monochromatic style of abstraction in muted tones. Kim is different. Technically, his work is monochrome, but it vibrates with colour and incorporates traditional handmade hanji paper coated with textured paint built up through the meticulous adding and subtracting of layers. The paintings in Kim Tae Ho | Internal Rhythm bring to mind the meditative colour fields of Mark Rothko, revealing subtle tonal shifts and hidden depths as the eye lingers. The more you look the more you see. (Photo: The Columns Gallery/Kim Tae-Ho)
4. Somewhere Else: The Forest Reimagined @ Fost Gallery until 5 Mar
Multidisciplinary artist Donna Ong examines the way the tropical forest is regularly portrayed as an idyll – be it in the idealised exotica of 17th century lithographs or the glossy, airbrushed images we see today in travel brochures and on Instagram. These images, Ong contends, distort our perception of the nature, peoples and cultures of the tropics. Somewhere Else: The Forest Reimagined is her attempt to set the record straight. (Photo: Fost Gallery/Donna Ong)
5. L♠ND$¢♠PΞ$@ Yeo Workshop until 27 Feb
Ever since his breakout solo show at the Flaneur Gallery in 2015 and success at the 2016 Singapore Biennale, Fyerool Darma has been one of the most sought-after artists in Southeast Asia. For his third solo show, L♠ND$¢♠PΞ$, he has created a mash-up of found images and texts, textiles, embroidery and paints. The exhibition was co-conceived with Karin Oen, deputy director for curatorial programmes at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art. (Photo: Yeo Workshop/Fyerool Darma).