21 March–6 July 2014
71 Bras Basah Road
TheSingapore Art Museum (SAM) is proud to present its first exhibition of the year, UNEARTHED, which seeks to investigate artists’ views on the natural world and invites viewers to contemplate their relationships with the natural environment. This examination of earthly experiences, through contemporary art, exemplifies SAM’s new direction of encompassing projects that present art intersecting with various disciplines and modalities. This is also SAM’s inaugural exhibition as a corporatised entity under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth’s Visual Arts Cluster.
Unveiling works across various mediums, UNEARTHED explores the concept of nature as an object and subject, one that can be studied, controlled and constructed. This extends into a metaphor for the nation and national identity, with contrasting notions from a ‘Garden City,’ to nature as unknown and untamed.
UNEARTHED sees works drawn from SAM’s permanent collection as well as private and artists’ collections. Seven local artists have also been commissioned to produce new works that resonate with the featured topic. These 28 artworks offer insights on how artists in Singapore view and respond to the natural world, coming from an urban, built-up environment. UNEARTHED centres on Singapore artists such as Ang Song Nian, Donna Ong, Genevieve Chua, Debbie Ding, Ho Tzu Nyen, Lucy Davis, Ezzam Rahman, and Han Sai Por, Jennifer Ng and Frayn Yong.
“UNEARTHED ushers in SAM’s new direction in presenting interdisciplinary projects. Here, art intersects and conjuncts with research and concerns in the earth sciences. Offering insights into how Singaporean artists view and respond to the natural world, given their very urban environment, the exhibition leads us to contemplate Singapore—once Garden City and Technopolis—and its paradoxical relationship with nature. The exhibition shines a light on how delicately poised the human enterprise is between nature and culture. Here we encounter contemporary art that explores topical world issues such as geohazards and their impact on us. We are very excited to work closely with the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS)—a research institute on volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes and climate change, and our valued partner for UNEARTHED,” said Dr. Susie Lingham, Director of SAM.
This conversation is extended with the six artworks at 8Q, which were created as part of a series of artist residencies at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, a research centre dedicated to the study of earth sciences and natural phenomena. Professor Kerry Sieh, Director of EOS said, “The Earth Observatory of Singapore is proud to collaborate with the Singapore Art Museum in UNEARTHED. The EOS is not only a world-class institute that conducts research in natural hazards with a focus on Southeast Asia, but is also the only earth science research centre in the world with an art residency programme. By opening up new interdisciplinary connections, these creative works by the six artists point to the diverse ways in which human society interacts with the natural environment, and how much we are all affected by both natural and man-made environmental disasters. We hope that through this showcase, audiences will learn to appreciate not just the art, but also the science that has inspired these works.”
The complementary exhibition demonstrates SAM’s initiative to interact and connect with a variety of organisations and institutions, supporting artists in the creation of contemporary art with narratives that respond to current issues and topics of interest. In doing so, SAM aims to engage with the community and curate exhibitions that facilitate dialogues with the public.
UNEARTHED will run from 21 March to 6 July at the SAM and SAM at 8Q. In conjunction with the exhibition, parallel programmes include curator-led tours, educators’ tours and inter-disciplinary talks titled UNEARTHED: Conversations, as well as a series of collaborative educational programmes between SAM and EOS.