Singapore artist Yeo Chee Kiong's installation wins 'richest' Asian art prize – Bloomberg

INSTALLATION ART PRIZE

Yeo Chee Kiong won the S$45,000 ($30,793) inaugural APB Foundation Signature Art Prize (images on website) for his installation “A Day Without a Tree,” originally shown last year at Singapore’s National Museum.

Yeo’s mixed-media work greeted visitors to the building, built in 1887, with what looked like a large puddle of white paint dripping from the walls as the columns of the four-story- high atrium melted. Yeo won the grand prize, the richest in Southeast Asia, sponsored by the Singapore Art Museum and Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd., maker of Tiger beer.

Yeo, born in 1970, said he decided to create a work based on the classical architecture because the museum was celebrating its 120th anniversary at the time of his installation.

“I tried to present something that you are not sure of,” he said in an interview at the Singapore Art Museum.

He declined to explain the work or its title.

“My position is not to tell you what it is. You have to figure that out for yourself,” he said.

Yeo was chosen from a shortlist of 12 artists from the region, including Malaysian Ahmad Fuad B. Osman, China’s Zheng Bo and India’s G.R. Iranna, who all won S$10,000 jurors’ choice awards. Mongolia’s Davaa Dorjderem won S$10,000 for the people’s choice, selected by online voters.

The award is part of a 15-year partnership between APB and the Singapore Art Museum signed a year ago. The APB Foundation has committed S$2.25 million in funding for the prize, which will be awarded every three years.

The 10 shortlisted works are on view at the Singapore Art Museum until Nov. 16.

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