Chance to learn where Singaporean art is heading plus two firsts for emerging artist competition Presidents Young Talents at Singapore Art Museum

SINGAPORE MUSEUM ART COMPETITION

Singapore had a predicament. The city-state needed to find the young artistic voices to represent Singapore at international level art fairs and events. The problem has been solved and future Singaporean art stars are being identified with the inception of the Presidents Young Talents (PYT) exhibition, a contemporary art exhibition series featuring the 4 most promising young Singaporean artists who compete for votes from a discerning public. The President’s Young Talents exhibition first debuted in 2001, organized by the Singapore Art Museum and Istana, butPresidents Young Talents this is the first year with the online voting function that includes an interactive public.

It works like this

Four young artists are chosen by a curatorial committee, and a special work is created by each artist and exhibited at the Singapore Art Museum in the PYT exhibition.

The public can also view artworks and artist biographies online, and is encouraged to vote for their favorite artist via the PYT website from Aug 15th through Oct 31st, 2009.  One of the 4 artists will be declared the winner, and receive a cash prize and art residency abroad, sponsored by Credit Suisse. The winner of the PYT 2009 will be announced on November 6th, 2009 at the PYT Gala dinner.

The artists nominated for the show, curated by Ms. Tan Siu Li, are: Donna Ong, Felicia Low, Twardzik Ching Chor Leng, and the artist collective Vertical Submarine. This is the first year in which an artist collective has been selected to participate, and Vertical Submarine’s inclusion reflects an acceptance of the current changes in contemporary art practices.

For a quick summary Art Daily gives an overview of each work below. However for a more lively description, we encourage you to click through to the particularly well-planned website (link above) where you can see short videos in which each artist discusses the concepts behind their non-traditional intriguing projects.

All the artists will create a new work for PYT 2009, and this exhibition offers a unique opportunity to take stock of where contemporary art in Singapore could be heading.

Donna Ong’s installation will examine the representation of perspective in Eastern as well as Western artistic traditions through a series of layered landscapes.

Twardzik Ching Chor Leng continues her practice of land-based art by inviting the public to reconsider the significance of the Singapore River in history, as well as in our lives today.

Felicia Low, who actively engages with (often marginalised or disadvantaged) communities in her work, will conduct live sessions in the gallery, leading groups of people in an exploration of family and social relationships.

Last but not least, tongue-in-cheek collective Vertical Submarine will present a work-within-a-work, inviting the public into their immersive installation which continues their earlier investigations into the relationship between text, image and representation.

Land art by Twardzik Ching Chor Leng

Editor’s note: We were particularly interested in Twardzik Ching Chor Leng’s plan to siphon an “‘umbilical cord” pipeline of river water through the streets of Singapore to connect the river and art museum. Land art is rare in Asia which makes the artist’s attempt to promote this genre in the confined space of city-state Singapore all the more inspiring.

Space constraints stimulate Singaporean artists?

It is interesting to note that each of the contestants deals with the topic of space in one form or another: from land art to the creation of domestic interiors to the study of perspective as a representation of space.

What the museum staff say

Regarding the exhbition, Mr. Tan Boon Hui, Director Designate of Singapore Art Museum, says:

“President’s Young Talents is SAM’s key platform to introduce Singaporeans to the work of a new generation of contemporary artists. The ‘can-do’ spirit that marks much of the best contemporary art coming out from Singapore now is clearly visible in these new works from Donna Ong, Twardzik Ching Chor Leng, Felicia Low and Vertical Submarine.

While their work has departed markedly from the traditional conventions of what art should look like, it is nonetheless as thoughtful, enjoyable and beautiful as the paintings and sculptures we are more familiar with.

Through such channels as the new PYT microsite, with its information rich content, SAM is working also to make contemporary art accessible to as large a community as possible. As one of the few platforms that regularly provides support to nurture the creation of original local art, SAM hopes to continue growing PYT along with the local contemporary arts scene.’

The President’s Young Talents is on display at the Singapore Museum from August 15th till December 27th, 2009, at the museum’s 8Q SAM art space and you can vote until the end October 2009. Be warned though that the voting mechanism requires input of addresses and phone numbers. We hope that this will be stream-lined in the future to encourage voter participation.

-contributed by Erin Wooters

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