Culture / Art Republik

Exhibition at Parkview Museum Singapore: ‘The Artist’s Voice’

Parkview Museum Singapore spotlights the role of the artist’s voice in the contemporary

Dec 11, 2017 | By Ilyda Chua

The first in a series of thematic exhibitions, Parkview Museum Singapore presents ‘The Artist’s Voice’, an exhibition aimed at exploring modern-day issues through contemporary art. Curated by Hungarian art historian Lorand Hegyi, the exhibition features works by 34 artists spanning different countries and generations.

In an age of crisis, disillusionment and instability, the exhibition focuses on the role of the artist to draw connections and provide multiple platforms of interpretation to a generation faced with information overload. Featuring artists from all walks of life — from Yugoslav artist Marina Abramovic to China’s Liu Xiaodong — the exhibition spotlights themes such as existentialism, ethics and anthropology, visualising these realities through various mediums in art.

“Our exhibition showcases the process of rethinking existing narratives, and that forms the title of this exhibition — ‘The Artist’s Voice’,” says Hegyi, who is also the museum’s artistic director. “It is simply about what the artist says. They do not merely paint a beautiful picture or make a sculpture; they say something with that. There is a strong message, there is something personal, something very much engaged on a personal participation of the real life.”

Paolo Grassino, ‘Zero Series’. Image courtesy Parkview Museum Singapore.

This idea comes across especially strongly in Abramovic’s piece, ‘Balkan Baroque’. The work is a equal parts enrapturing and horrifying, depicting Abramovic sitting on top of a massive pile of bloody cow bones, washing them one by one while singing haunting folk songs from her childhood. Addressing the topic of individual loss amongst mass tragedy — a theme that becomes increasingly relevant today — the piece draws references to Abramovic’s origins in the war-torn country that was once Yugoslavia.  

Building on the idea of the contemporary “speaking artist” — a term coined by collaborative art duo Gilbert & George, who will be presenting their mixed-media work, ‘Airs’  — the exhibition engages the duty of the artist to create narratives and express visions to make realities clearer,  more conscious, and more evident. Consequently, the exhibition also focuses on the unique role of contemporary art itself — not to serve as mere decorative illustration, but rather to be a means of information and opinion, using visual language to reinforce and highlight the emotional, passionate and human characteristics that are the essence of contemporary art.

Gilbert & George, ‘Khilafah’. Image courtesy White Cube Gallery.

“A work of art is not just a painting or a picture. There is a language, a meaning within the image,” said the late George Wong, who was the executive chairman of Parkview Group and the son of founder Hwang Chou-Shiuan. “Each painting has a story to tell.”

The Parkview Museum Singapore is a private museum established by the Parkview Group. Open to the public free of charge, the museum hosts exhibitions with a focus on contemporary art with the aim of enriching the local arts scene and providing greater education on contemporary art. Earlier this year, it launched its inaugural exhibition, ‘On Sharks and Humanity’ which addressed the controversial practice of shark finning, and ‘Lines of Affinity: Calligraphic Visions in the works of Master Hsing Yun’, which highlighted the accomplishments of Taiwanese venerable Hsing Yun.

Complex, suggestive and disturbing, ’The Artist’s Voice’ will run at the Parkview Museum Singapore until 18 March 2018.


ilyda chua

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