The 10th edition of Singapore Art Week (SAW) kicks off with a bang on 14 January 2022!
With more than 130 different physical and digital art programmes to choose from, over one intense week (14 – 23 January), how will you decide on which events to attend? Stick with us as we bring you through our annual rundown of what’s hot this year.
In SAW 2022, the theme of “Art Takes Over” goes even further with programmes that spotlight the rich artistic practices of Singapore’s modern and contemporary artists. The events will raise awareness on the infinite possibilities across art mediums, through the creative use of technology. Many events will go well beyond the white cube to offer new experiences and perspectives in unexpected spaces.
Here are our top 6 picks of events that you should not miss:
1) S.E.A. Focus – At Tanjong Pagar Distripark and online
We’re incredibly thrilled that S.E.A. Focus is returning for another edition of what looks to be SAW’s anchor event – one that is entirely homegrown and built from scratch to serve the local and regional artistic community. Led by STPI Creative Workshop & Gallery (STPI), the show has grown from strength to strength, deepening its engagement with Singapore and the Southeast Asian region with every subsequent edition. This year’s show will be a hybrid mix of digital and physical events, and mounted in collaboration with the world’s leading fair for modern and contemporary art, Art Basel. Centred around the poetic theme of ‘chance…constellations,’ S.E.A. Focus will offer an exploration of the shared histories, geographies and converging cultures that connect our regional artistic community, through a seamless exhibition of Southeast Asian contemporary art from 23 galleries and over 50 artists.
Highlights include SEAspotlight, a specially-curated series of panel discussions themed around exciting artistic pivots to the future, for example the latest developments in NFT-based artworks, and how these can be acquired and secured for the future. For art enthusiasts unable to make the physical trip to Singapore, jump on the S.E.A. Focus digital platform on Artsy to make your purchases securely and conveniently. Or check out SEAcity, a region-wide offering of exhibitions and events hosted by partnering institutions, galleries and artist-run spaces to coincide with S.E.A. Focus and Singapore Art Week.
Further details on S.E.A Focus can be found here
Dates and opening hours :
15 – 22 January 2022 (Time: 1pm – 8pm)
23 January 2022 (Time: 1pm – 5pm)
Admission : S$10 per ticket
2) HORIZONS – Online
While the Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly narrowed our worlds to the frames circumscribed by social distancing rules and lockdown regulations, it’s also widened our perspectives through the proliferation of digital platforms. There isn’t a better example of this than HORIZONS, a one-day extravaganza of art content from 22 -23 January. It promises to bring viewers on a digital journey through distant locales, all from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The geographical locations covered include Singapore, Guatemala, Istanbul, Dhaka, Seoul and London, and the 24-hour session caters to all manner of time differences. Expect to tune in to thought-leaders, artists, curators and patrons. The slate of artistic programming is varied, and includes culinary exchanges, artist-led walking tours of far-away cities, and even a meditation event.
Tay Tong, Director of Sector Development (Visual Arts) at Singapore’s National Arts Council, remarked at the SAW press launch last year that “the world is opening up, literally, and figuratively in spirit, and we see SAW as a catalyst for the discovery of art from Singapore and the region.” HORIZONS is a great example of a platform offering fresh and enhanced art experiences through the use of cutting-edge digital technology.
Find out how you can tune in here
Dates: 22- 23 January
Admission is free
3) SAW in 10 Days – Various locations and online
One refrain that’s commonly heard over the course of SAW each year is how there are simply far too many events for a visitor to cover in the space of a week. This year, Post-Museum rises to the challenge of bringing visitors both physically and virtually to over 100 art events in the space of 10 days. The organisers have arranged for a chartered minibus and will offer a range of tours to these physical events. Each tour will be unique, covering different events across SAW and the full schedule is available upon registration.
The bus itself will also be a site for community-building and the sharing of audience experiences through enquiry and dialogue. Framed as an art adventure, “special detours” on selected days will be led by guest curators Kamiliah Bahdar, Susie Wong and Tang Fu Kuen.
In another fun twist, you’ll also be given the opportunity to collect unique stamps from each SAW 2022 event that you attend. Limited edition merchandise will be available to visitors with the highest number of stamps collected in the space of 10 days. Folks who can’t make the physical trip need not fret — SAW In 10 Days will be accessible for virtual viewing on digital platforms throughout the entire festival.
In summary, it’s a chance to see all the art, make some friends, and walk away with cool merch – what’s not to love?
Find out how to hop on the bus here
Dates and opening hours :
14 – 23 January 2022 (Time: 10am- 2pm and 3pm – 7pm)
Admission: Free access, with a refundable deposit to reserve your slot
4) Nam June Paik :The Future is Now – National Gallery Singapore
This National Gallery Singapore blockbuster blew into town last December and has quickly worked its way into social media feeds all over the island. There are so many fascinating aspects to late Korean American artist Nam June Paik’s practice, but none more so than the fact of his uncanny prescience about the pervasiveness of technology today. His creative use of TV screens manages to be both kitschy-cool and sinister, all at the same time.
Whether the screens are blended with foliage (reminding us that technology is not without its own messiness and jungle-like peril), embedded in giant robots, or juxtaposed against quietly powerful Buddhist iconography, there is plenty here to give us pause for thought on the effects of technology on our lives.
Our personal pick, however, has to be the section of the exhibition dedicated to Paik’s friendship with ‘topless cellist’ Charlotte Moorman. Paik and Moorman were good friends who worked together to challenge the notion decades ago, that classical music should be devoid of sexuality. Paik built objects and props for Moorman’s provocative performances (sometimes in the nude), and the results were madcap performance art works, beautifully photographed and displayed in blown-up images all around the Gallery.
Get your tickets for the exhibition here
Dates and opening hours :
10 December 2021 – 27 March 2022 (Time: 10am– 7pm)
Admission: Singaporeans/PR S$15, Non-Singaporeans S$25, All Access Pass (Non-Singaporeans) S$30
5) SAW Dialogues – At Gillman Barracks and Online
For those of you who prefer to consume your art content by way of hearing directly from artistic tastemakers, you’ll find the SAW Dialogues to be right up your alley. The National Arts Council, together with partners such as the National Gallery Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, S.E.A. Focus, Art and Market and h0thouse, amongst others, has put together a series of physical and digital panel discussions and talks to prompt deeper reflection on pressing art world issues.
There are a large number of talks to pick from, including the usual trendy discourse on art and the digital realm. In the talk Connecting the Dots: Art and Blockchain happening on 15 January for example, panelist Clara Peh hopes to be able to discuss how NFTs and other blockchain technologies such as DAOs and Decentralized Finance (DeFi) may continue to interact with the broader art world.
Look out also for interdisciplinary project space h0thouse’s 3-day virtual symposium In Suspension which will address the very real boundaries between art and life during pandemic times. It features a keynote address by Dr. Marc Gloede, who recently curated the expansive and critically-acclaimed 2021 exhibition On Time at STPI. The h0thouse symposium also features an artist panel discussion with the intriguing title How has parenting shifted the way that you think about the practices of the future? Panelist Dr. Wang Ruobing offers the insightful suggestion that children too can be “boundary-breaking warriors in the process of art-making.” This is a little-explored aspect of artistic practice which we’re excited to learn more about.
While the SAW Dialogues will be screened digitally, key panels will also be held physically at Gillman Barracks, in a special mini cinematheque.
Further details on the SAW Dialogues can be found here
Dates: 15-23 January 2022
Admission to physical events at Gillman Barracks is free, but register your attendance here.
Selected talks will be streamed live at SAW Digital.
6) REFUSE – Singapore Art Museum at Tanjong Pagar Distripark
One of the hottest pieces of art news to break recently was that of the relocation of the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) to Tanjong Pagar Distripark, while its main building undergoes renovation works. Home to S.E.A. Focus during Singapore Art Week and to an increasing number of independent galleries, this historic port space is rapidly turning into the trendiest art district in town.
Framed by the heavy machinery of container terminals and complete with edgy cargo lifts and harsh concrete floors, Tanjong Pagar Distripark offers art lovers the holy grail of exhibition locales – high ceilings, oodles of space and serious hipster vibes. These creative possibilities are incredibly well-expressed through SAM’s latest contemporary art show REFUSE — an immersive world created entirely out of waste and detritus. It’s a multi-disciplinary art presentation by Singapore-based experimental band The Observatory about music, mushrooms and decomposition.
The exhibition combines mycology design by Bewilder, scenography installation by artist Sai aka Chen Sai Hua Kuan, archive arrangement by Ujikaji Records, moving image work by filmmaker Yeo Siew Hua and guest curation by Tang Fu Kuen. REFUSE draws on The Observatory’s past and present influences, bringing together their interests in fungi and mycelial networks to explore the related ideas of death and creation from both biological and musical perspectives.
In the show, SAM explains, “bio-rhythms from mushrooms in the space are translated into sound via a series of servo motors and motion sensors. These trigger specially designed mushroom-instruments in real-time, producing an otherworldly inter-media environment within the gallery.”
Find out more about REFUSE here
Dates and Opening Hours : 14 January – 17 April 2022 (10am -7pm)
Admission is free.
And there you have it — our 2022 selection of the events that you shouldn’t miss at SAW, regardless of where you are in the world!
There are also mysterious interventions into an artist’s palatial suburban home, a deep dive into Singapore’s much-loved hawker culture and investigations into the intersections between craft and contemporary art. Established Malay artist association Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya (APAD) also celebrates its 60th anniversary with a special exhibition addressing issues of age-segregation in society.
Trust us when we say that there’s something for everyone in this line-up of events, so take your time, trawl through the online listings and let “art take over!”
This article is produced in paid partnership with Singapore Tourism Board and Singapore Art Week. Thank you for supporting the institutions that support Plural.