Singapore Biennale 2016 Affiliate Projects

Singapore Biennale 2016 Affiliate Projects

Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts

Works by Nabilah Nordin (foreground) and Firenze Lai. Installation view of The World Precedes the Eye. Photo: Weizhong Deng.

November 15, 2016
Singapore Biennale 2016 Affiliate Projects

October 28, 2016–February 1, 2017

Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore
LASALLE College of the Arts
1 McNally Street
Singapore 187940
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday noon–7pm
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The World Precedes the Eye: Ang Song Ming, Cheng Ran, Matt Hinkley, Firenze Lai, Nabilah Nordin, Zeyno Pekünlü, Pratchaya Phinthong, Shimura Nobuhiro and Zou Zhao

The World Precedes the Eye presents the work of nine artists who are pursuing new thinking about matter in time, space and history. The artists form a wide arc through the Asia–Pacific region. Spanning sculpture, installation, painting, moving image and sound, the exhibition recognizes that while matter, as a resource, is finite, there are material worlds beyond the boundaries of our current understanding. The title of the exhibition reflects the swing towards new realism—the concept that matter matters—in contemporary art. The exhibition explores the idea that we share this world and are not its primary subject—the world is not constructed in our own image.

Artworks in the exhibition are the product of specific encounters and new learning about material. Firenze Lai, Zeyno Pekünlü and Shimura Nobuhiro present “primary” documents—paintings, found texts and a film respectively—that measure natural phenomena and social precepts. Installations by Pratchaya Phinthong and Ang Song Ming calibrate matter that is a limited physical resource, and difficult to extract. Nabilah Nordin’s new “thick” sculptures are made from salvaged scrap according to prescribed time-based and environmental conditions, while Matt Hinkley’s cast and constructed sculptures, which display unexpected physical dimensions, invert our perception. Spoken word by Zou Zhao exploring the human voice as sonic and cultural material occupies three sites in the gallery.

An epic eight-hour film by Cheng Ran titled In Course of the Miraculous (2015) will be screened in December and January in special cinema environments in Singapore.

The World Precedes the Eye utilizes an opened-out exhibition architecture that draws attention to the medium of curating and its mechanisms.

Curated by Melanie Pocock, Silke Schmickl and Bala Starr.


Boedi Widjaja: Black—Hut
Indonesia-born Singaporean artist Boedi Widjaja has designed a major architectural and sound work—a room within a room—that links diverse conceptual references through his own lived experience of migration, culture and aesthetics.

The installation takes the form of four walls that bisect the painted plasterboard walls and glass façade of the Earl Lu Gallery, creating a new focal point between its three columns. The centre of the installation is marked by a sound work, which features a score played by a metallophone from an Indonesian gamelan that has been digitally manipulated.

Three of the walls have been rendered with a pigmented concrete, salt and mica mix that will change subtly over time as it cures. A fourth wall, a steel frame positioned outside the gallery, is supported by cuboid bases in concrete. Here, concrete—a material used in urban architecture for its durability and efficiency—takes on an organic, almost “soft” quality.

Widjaja’s reference points for Black—Hut include the Chinese diaspora, his grandfather’s home in China, his own childhood home in Solo (Surakarta), the architecture of urban Singapore, a groundbreaking 1932 international architecture exhibition, the Black Forest hut in Germany where philosopher Martin Heidegger lived, and the “black box turned inside-out” architecture of the LASALLE College of the Arts McNally campus.


About the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) Singapore
The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) Singapore is the curatorial division of LASALLE College of the Arts, dedicated to supporting innovative and emerging creative practices. Through an annual programme of interdisciplinary artistic and curatorial practices across the visual arts, design, new media and performance, it provides a dynamic site for contemporary culture in Southeast Asia.


Singapore Biennale 2016 Affiliate Projects at Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts

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November 15, 2016

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