INSTANT REPLAY: ARNDT Singapore’s Highlights from Southeast Asia
13 January - 4 March 2017
Opening | Friday | 13 January, 7 - 9 pm | ARNDT Fine Art at Gillman Barracks (Block 47, #01-25)
“Instant Replay: ARNDT Singapore’s Highlights from Southeast Asia” is a showcase of works from the Berlin-based gallery since the inception of its Southeast Asian headquarters in 2013. The group exhibition presents contemporary art in all mediums and formats from a wide-ranging roster of artists including Khadim Ali, Jigger Cruz, Marina Cruz, FX Harsono, Richard Hassell, Agung Kurniawan, Eko Nugroho, Sopheap Pich, Yudi Sulistyo, Rodel Tapaya, and Entang Wiharso.
While contemporary art practice and writing of Southeast Asia tends to mobilise ideas around cultural tradition in relation to pre-modern histories, post-colonial narratives, identity politics, and nation building, the generational differences between artists also present contrasting approaches in connecting with the development of their respective societies. Consequently, their artistic output is informed by various forms of lived experience, which has evolved over the years along with the recent history of the region. The artistic practices of Indonesian artists such as FX Harsono and Entang Wiharso mark the development of Indonesia’s dynamic contemporary art scene; Harsono was one of the proponents of the Indonesian New Art Movement (German Seni Rupa Baru) founded in 1975, while Entang Wiharso emerged at a time when the nation propelled itself towards democracy in the late 1990s. As a studio artists and art activists, Agung Kurniawan and Eko Nugroho take up clear positions which lead them to street level or even intervention of bureaucratic structures. Yudi Sulistyo’s reimagined militaristic vehicles conjure up childhood memories of toys and war-themed films, yet they also suggest the shortcomings of modern technological developments and their destructive powers. Working primarily with rattan and bamboo, the Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich insists upon a materiality that refuses definition or stability, quietly invoking metamorphosis as waves of civil protest across Thailand and Cambodia unsettle the everyday. His works resonate with the environment and the stories of past journeys, however he increasingly draws inspiration from their individual process of coming into being. From the Philippines, young artists such as Marina Cruz, Rodel Tapaya, Geraldine Javier and Jigger Cruz present works that respond to the social and political upheaval of their nation’s recent history: natural disasters, coup d’etat and calls to presidential impeachments, corruption, bribery, urban overpopulation and poverty. They have directed their ideas into the reality that is Manila, the nation’s capital from where most of the country’s bizarre undulations spring. Just as Southeast Asia’s identity is constantly open to reinterpretation, so is its visual culture, and this is nowhere more apparent than in Richard Hassell’s geometric tessellations, referencing traditional textile designs and tribal art from the region. Although most of these artists’ works are inspired by their own localities, they continue to seek their place within the rest of the world.
ARNDT has developed a strong profile in Asia by exhibiting emerging and mid-career artists since 2011. Having organised solo shows and group exhibitions with major artists from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Cambodia, the gallery has firmly established itself in the field of contemporary art within the region. The artists included in “Instant Replay” are carefully selected to represent the increasing diversity in mediums and styles, with a specific focus on the themes of geographical displacement, traditional versus contemporary, as well as socio-political commentary. Combining localised traditions of modern art with a more conceptual approach to art-making, these works are a manifestation of the collective cultural memory of Southeast Asia today.
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