Even though a fan of the minimalism trend in decór, fashion and design, I have never actually taken a look into the development of minimalism and how it emerged. The Minimalism exhibition at National Gallery Singapore and ArtScience Museum provided the perfect opportunity to explore this movement.
A visit to the Minimalism exhibition swept me away into a world of minimalist artworks, performances and audio. It also explained how the Minimalism tendency first came about and explores how artists used the interaction of space, light and object to create impactful messages.
Minimalism at National Gallery Singapore & ArtScience Museum
From National Gallery Singapore to the ArtScience Museum, the Minimalism exhibition flows chronologically starting from art in the 1960s and features over a 150 curated works of art.
The exhibition features many seemingly simple works of art – the kind that would create the common misconception that minimalism or abstract art takes little effort or thoughts of “eh like that I also can draw”.
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One other piece with painstaking details that stood out is the Sunflower Seeds by Ai Weiwei. Each and every one of the millions of seeds used in this structure was handcrafted by ceramic artisans in Jingdezhen China and then put together to create sort of a solid mass that filled the entire floor.
Space, Light & Object
Some pieces challenge the idea of perception by manipulation of object, light and space.
This untitled piece by Robert Irwin from the 1920s uses light to create an optical experience the edges of the disc seem to dissolve and overlapping shadows cast by the illumination causes the work to recede into space. It seems impossible to tell where the disk starts and ends. This piece expresses his belief that “There is one infinite subject: the subject of art is aesthetic perception.”
Another interesting piece is the Oneness of Wood and Oneness of Concrete. Here, the artist hollows out cubes of the material and smashes them into pieces, then fills the hollowed space within the cube with the rubble. The distinct contrast of the uneven texture of the rubble against the smooth surfaces of the cube questions the usual immaculate appearance of Minimal forms.
The Neon Light Installations by Peter Kennedy explores how neon tubes delineate space, while also creating a sensory experience through the light they emit. With the humming sound of the neon transformers and the vibrant colours, one would feel like they are walking through a rainbow.
There are many more pieces at the Minimalism exhibition at National Gallery Singapore and ArtScience Museum that fans of the movement will find both intriguing and impressive.
One way to appreciate the exhibition is to join a guided tours and to keep an eye out for the workshops, performances and talks that accompany the exhibition.
If you are unable to make it for the tours, do not fret! I recommend downloading the National Gallery Singapore app and using the two audio tours on the exhibition that are available to explore the various artworks, just like I did!
When: 16 November 2018 to 14 April 2019
Where: National Gallery Singapore & ArtScience Museum