Kathleen Ditzig

  • View of “And in the Chapel and in the Temples,” 2019.
    diary February 01, 2019

    Sea Change

    THIS YEAR’S EDITION of Singapore Art Week (SAW) saw the country earn the celebrity trappings of an established art metropolis, with the first exhibition of Lucy Liu’s art alongside that of local artist Shubigi Rao at the National Museum of Singapore. There was also the sudden demise of Art Stage Singapore—a fair that was once the key event of Singapore’s annual visual-arts calendar and the catalyst for the development of SAW as a platform for events.

    The country’s art scene banded together in the aftermath. Galleries offered up exhibition spaces, and individuals opened their homes or gave legal

  • Frederik De Wilde, Horizontal Depth - This is Not the Place We Go to Die. It's Where We are Born, 2018, stainless steel, carbon nanotubes, polymer, LEDs and electronics, 75" (diameter).
    picks January 22, 2019

    “Minimalism: Space. Light. Object.”

    This massive exhibition, held in both the National Art Gallery and the ArtScience Museum, is about the canon of Minimalism—who is in it and, by extension, who is indebted to it. By beginning with black paintings by Ad Reinhardt, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Frank Stella, and Tadaaki Kuwayama, the curators immediately emphasize Minimalism’s turn away from the expressive toward a restrained aesthetic and a privileging of the phenomenological. Unfolding through a chain of ideas that stretch from room to room, the exhibition connects these Minimalist monochromes to the work of Asian artists such as

  • Kim Lim, Ring, 1970, engraving, 15 x 16".
    picks February 23, 2018

    Kim Lim

    Culled from private collections and the artist’s estate, the works in British Singaporean sculptor Kim Lim’s current exhibition add up to a comprehensive survey of her efforts in printmaking. Presented alongside her sculptures, Lim’s prints appear sculptural and demonstrate a corresponding concern with materiality.

    A timeline in the show parallels developments in her practice with events across art and international history, including Singapore’s cultural policy. For instance, 1967 is highlighted as the year one of her pieces was displayed at the British pavilion in Expo 67 in Montreal and also

  • Rirkrit Tiravanijia, untitled 2018 (the infinite dimensions of smallness), 2018. Photo: National Gallery Singapore
    diary February 01, 2018

    A Star Is Born

    SINGAPORE ART WEEK, or SAW, began in 2013 as an attempt to create hype around a young art fair. State organs—the National Arts Council, the Economic Development Board, and the Singapore Tourism Board—rallied local arts organizations by providing funding and marketing to ensure the visibility of even the smallest exhibitions. (The intention was to build that frantic, adrenaline-induced excitement worthy of an arts metropolis.) Now in its fifth year, alongside a shrinking Art Stage Singapore (“the flagship art fair of Southeast Asia,” according to its website), the supporting act has eclipsed the

  • Shireen Seno, Shotgun Tuding, 2013, 16-mm film, 13 minutes.
    picks July 13, 2016

    “Double Vision”

    There is a silence around hegemony—a lack of diverse voices, born not of subaltern complicity, but of structural acceptance and, sometimes, forgetfulness. It is thus no surprise, in the global theater of art and film festivals, where hegemonic spectacle subsumes other projects into its main narrative, that an exhibition such as this one is so rare.

    Curated by Singapore-based Siddharta Perez, the show features video work and experimental film by David Griggs, Gym Lumbera, Miko Revereza, Roxlee, Shireen Seno, Angel Velasco Shaw, Stephanie Syjuco, and Kidlat Tahimik—artists working in the Philippines

  • View of “SEA STATE,” 2016.
    picks May 23, 2016

    Charles Lim Yi Yong

    The culmination of Charles Lim’s research since 2005 and the most comprehensive in a series of exhibitions, “SEA STATE” is an exhaustive lens through which a practice that seeks to understand national borders not through land but through the sea is revealed. Presented in a gallery with brilliant white floors and light-box ceilings, the art occupies an extremely white “white cube.” But such an archetypal exhibition space seems almost ironic given the inclusion of objects that in any other context could be material evidence, such as maps, a video interview multiscreen video works, and an appropriated

  • Tan Teng-Kee, Fire Sculpture, 1979, metal, wooden poles, newspaper, dimensions variable. From the work The Picnic.
    picks May 09, 2016

    “A Fact Has No Appearance: Art Beyond the Object”

    Each of the three artists here is a maverick in his respective art scene: Redza Piyadasa, in 1972, created The Great Malaysia Landscape, the first image to deconstruct landscape painting in Malaysia; Johnny Manahan was the first artist in the Philippines to work with video; and Tan Teng-Kee’s 1979 The Picnic has been described as the first “happening” in Singapore. Their practices question the nature of the art object and thus relate to the larger Conceptual art discourse in the 1960s and ’70s.

    Artworks in “A Fact Has No Appearance,” like the title’s linguist paradox, are eclipsed by ideas bigger

  • View of “A Luxury We Cannot Afford,” 2015.
    picks November 16, 2015

    “A Luxury We Cannot Afford”

    The group exhibition “A Luxury We Cannot Afford” provides a rare survey of art inspired by Singapore. The title is a quote from a 1968 speech by former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, speaking about the role of arts in the then-fledging nation.

    While framed as an essay on Singapore’s ideology of a capitalist democracy, the exhibition does more than just reflect on the island’s economically driven politics. Honing in on the political project of culture, the exhibition includes YouTube videos such as National Night, 2012, a Mentos commercial that parodies Singapore’s campaign to encourage